published Friday, May 16th, 2014

Electric Cowboy, Bud's Sports punished for overserving

A pair of Brainerd bars will be forced to temporarily shut down after overserving drunk customers, the Chattanooga Beer and Wrecker Board decided Thursday.

The Electric Cowboy, a club in Eastgate Town Center, must close its doors for five days starting May 29 after two men were found passed out in a pickup truck in the parking lot on Feb. 2. And Bud's Sport's Bar on Brainerd Road will close for three days because a man was arrested on April 17 for driving under the influence after buying 14 shots of vodka at Bud's.

The Electric Cowboy has been in business for nine years, while Bud's Sports Bar has been open for 36 years.

"These are things that shouldn't happen after a lot of years of experience," said board member Andre Harriman.

Chattanooga police found the two men at the Electric Cowboy slumped against each other in a pickup truck, said Sgt. David Allen, who heads Chattanooga's DUI unit. They'd run up a $120 bar tab that included 10 shots of tequila and seven beers, and when a police officer knocked on the window of the truck, the driver tried to drive away.

Electric Cowboy area supervisor Jeff Bostic said the club's employees lost track of the men when they left the bar without paying their tab, and added the police did not actually see the condition of the men when they were served. He said this is the Electric Cowboy's first violation in almost 10 years.

"I apologize for having to come up here," he said to the board. "In the nine-and-a-half years we've been in the community, I've never had to come before you guys. We do take measures to make sure our patrons are handled safe and go home safe."

And after more than an hour of discussion, witness statements and debate, Bud's Sports Bar was given a three-day suspension, which will also start May 29. Bud's Sports Bar was cited after a customer purchased at least 14 shots of vodka and other drinks for women at the bar over an eight-hour period.

He was arrested while driving after he left the bar and told police he'd been drinking at Bud's. Several Bud's employees contested the facts reported by the police and argued that the man could have continued drinking at another place before he was arrested.

But the bar failed to deliver much evidence to support employees' claims, and didn't bring surveillance footage from the bar that would have proved or disproved the police report. Allen said he found a reciept from Bud's in the man's pocket and believes the man told the truth.

"He has no reason to lie about drinking at Bud's," Allen said.

Contact reporter Shelly Bradbury at 423-757-6525 or sbradbury@timesfreepress.com with tips or story ideas.

about Shelly Bradbury...

Shelly Bradbury covers police and crime in Chattanooga and Hamilton County for the Times Free Press. She's been with the paper since 2012, working first as an intern and then as a business reporter. She is from Houghton, New York, and graduated from Huntington University in Huntington, Indiana, with a bachelor’s degree in journalism and minor in management. Before moving to Tennessee, Shelly previously interned with The Goshen News, The Sandusky Register and The Mint ...

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