Pub expected to reopen with alcohol permit

By HASKEL BURNS,

A Lamar County pub that closed in January pending an alcohol permit from the Mississippi Department of Revenue’s Alcoholic Beverage Control is expected to re-open soon with the ability to sell alcoholic beverages.

Darian Pierce, developer of Conway’s Family Pub and The Colony at Turtle Creek Crossing on West 4th Street, said pub officials will take the next five weeks or so to finish renovations that would qualify the facility for a “resort area” status from the ABC that will allow alcohol sales on the grounds. Because the pub is located just outside Hattiesburg city limits, alcohol sales there have previously been denied, as Lamar County’s “dry” designation prohibits the sale, possession or consumption of alcohol.

“(The ABC) granted us a ruling that upon the modifications to the building that we’re doing, we will be able to get an (alcohol) license,” Pierce said. “We’re closing in the back porch and putting a stairway into the third floor of the building.”

Those changes to the facility are expected to get the site in compliance with provisions of Mississippi Code 67-1-5, which states areas can apply for resort status if the area and its related property consists of at least 8,000 heated and cooled square feet, is used to host events for a fee, and is used for the purpose of culinary arts and/or outdoor recreation and leadership courses.

“We’ve got 8,158 square feet of heated and cooled space, but (the ABC) used a different definition, and so we’re having to make some modifications to the building,” Pierce said. “But I think we’re all on the same page.

“It took us some time to get the ruling from them, but basically they gave us the authority to do the modifications and the license will be granted.”

Pub officials applied for the status back in December, but closed the business while awaiting a decision from the ABC. Pierce said the owners of the facility made the decision to close because the exclusion of alcohol sales was putting a financial strain on the business.

Early last year, officials from Pub Life LLC, the owners of the property, filed a petition that would allow Conway’s Family Pub to be taken into the city limits, and Hattiesburg City Council members voted in May not to object to the petition. Shortly thereafter, however, the Lamar County Board of Supervisors objected to the process, filing a response that stated the inclusion of the property into the city was not reasonable or a public convenience.

“We’re excited about (re-opening),” Pierce said. “The deal was supposed to have gone through an annexation process in December of 2017, but politics got it stuck.

“So we’re glad to see that we’ve got traction, and we’re ready to open up and have some fun.”

Pierce said he and the owners have had overwhelming support from customers who want to see Conway’s open its doors again.

“They really do love the family atmosphere, and all the authentic Irish recipes,” he said. “So we’ve got a good support base that are waiting on us to open up and are ready to come back and see us.”

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