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Kid Rock’s Rock & Roll bar loses beer permit over Covid-19

The Nashville bar and steakhouse owned by Robert James Ritchie Sr., also known as Kid Rock, was one of four venues to have its licence to sell beer suspended after breaking the city’s lockdown rules.

(Photo: Eva Rinaldi/Wikimedia Commons)

Kid Rock’s Big Ass Honky Tonk and Rock & Roll Steakhouse will have its beer permit suspended for five days after staff served patrons drinks at the bar.

On-trade venues in Nashville, Tennessee, are currently forbidden to offer table service to people under the city’s emergency coronavirus lockdown laws.

The Metropolitan Beer Permit Board issued a five-day suspension to four Nashville bars for serving customers on-site and seated.

Moxy Nashville Downtown, Kid Rock’s Big Honky Tonk and Steakhouse, Broadway Brewhouse and Nudie’s Honky Tonk were all seen breaking the Health Department’s emergency measures last week. At the time, Nashville was in phase two of its plan to ease lockdown, which meant bars were banned from serving seated patrons. They will now be allowed to open at half capacity from this week.

An image posted on Instagram revealed that Kid Rock’s bar was packed out last week, with extremely few patrons wearing masks. However, the temporary beer suspension was the result of a later inspection.


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In the time since this picture was shared (not by me, somebody else took it and shared it initially), Steve Smith, his lawyer and his brother John Taylor have compared them opening to the #blacklivesmatter protests and called being fined a double standard, called Covid a hoax and declared Fox News the only arbiter of truth, and most recently they equated their fight against our local government (a government crippled by our state legislation and governor who are all Trump cronies) to LIVING IN EAST GERMANY BEHIND THE BERLIN WALL. That’s all I got, man. Anyway, #blacklivesmatter, #blackmusicmatters, call your reps and ask them to support funding for musicians and the arts so they don’t have to play packed houses and risk their lives, and support @nivassoc so we can get the venues where actually independent original music happens back open again. #covid19 #dogwhistle

A post shared by Jerry Roe (@jerryroe) on

“They were in violation of two points of the order that states bar areas must remain closed to the public,” inspector Melvin Brown told the Tennessean. “No interaction with the public is allowed, and alcohol can only be served at tables and booths.”

The suspensions only affect beer sales. All four venues can still sell spirits to patrons, and they also have 14 days to appeal the suspension before it comes into effect.

Kid Rock’s Big Honky Tonk & Steakhouse co-owner, Nashville businessman Steve Smith, said the order made no sense in the first place, called the Nashville Tennessee city’s government “communist”, and compared the lockdown measures to the Berlin Wall.

“The Nashville government is, like, communist. They’ve got us behind a Berlin Wall,” he told The Tennessean on 16 June. “We met with Mayor Cooper and the doctors weeks ago and explained how having bar service is safer than table service. They’re doing everything they can to put us out of business. The state of Tennessee is already in Phase 4 and they’re talking about holding us in Phase 2. It’s against our constitutional rights.”

At the time of writing, there were 34,446 confirmed cases of coronavirus in Tennessee, up 656 in the past 24 hours, and 524 recorded deaths.

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