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After Shooting, South Owners Ask to be 'Part of the Solution'

During a late-night public comment session at the Birmingham City Commission meeting, owners of the downtown hot spot defend the bar/restaurant, even as the city kicks off an investigation of its liquor license.

While at gathers signatures after gunshots were fired outside the restaurant last week, the bar's owners are making a request: Let us be a part of the solution.

“As business owners and longtime residents of Birmingham, we are dedicated to being a major part of the solution,” Bethany Spadafore, wife of South co-owner Joseph Spadafore, said in a recent statement.

“So instead of blaming other businesses for an issue that is not just isolated to one business or one location in the city, we are working towards a solution.”

The statement was released in response to an April 2 incident outside South, during which a in the midst of a fight after the bar closed.

The Spadafores, as well as South co-owners Steve and Emily Puertas, were at the public comment session during Monday night's meeting of the Birmingham City Commission.

During that meeting, a small group of residents stayed at City Hall long past 11 p.m. to voice their concerns as well as make impassioned comments against .

City begins investigation of incidents at South

on Tuesday evening. City Manager Bob Bruner said police and the City Attorney's Office will be looking at the number of incidents at South, as well as the number of times police have made contact with either the restaurant or its patrons.

Should the investigation reveal a pattern of conduct, a hearing could be held and the city may request that the Michigan Liquor Control Commission (MLCC) revoke South Bar's liquor license.

To some residents who attended the meeting Monday night, revoking South Bar's liquor license seemed like it might not be a bad idea.

Resident claims: 'This is not Birmingham'

Retired Seaholm history teacher and longtime Birmingham resident Mary Ryan Taras said the incident at South is yet another example of the shocking behavior seen more frequently now in Birmingham.

"This dramatic decline in civility in this community ... is leading us to a more unsafe community," she said.

Establishments like South do make Birmingham a destination, Taras conceded, but she asked: Is that what Birmingham wants to be, a destination instead of a community?

"I've known Birmingham for a long time and this is not Birmingham," she said.

South owners suggest safety task force

However, attorney Kelly Allen, who represents the Spadores and Puertas, said the city should look at all the facts during its investigation and consider the issue as a whole.

"There is no way (South) could have prevented this," she said. "This is not just South. This is a societal problem. This is an individual problem. ... It's wrong trying to blame one business."

Bethany Spadafore said Monday night that South wants to help put an end to the violent behavior and suggested a community task force on public safety.

"Safety is something we take very seriously and as a community, we need to figure this out," she said.

Alan Stamm April 11, 2012 at 11:54 AM
Reality check: State law prohibits any bar or restaurant from giving away alcoholic beverages. "Licensees may not offer single-priced, unlimited service drink specials, free drinks to patrons or two-for-one drink specials." -- Michigan Liquor Control Commission
Stephanie P. SOUTH supporter! April 11, 2012 at 12:29 PM
Wow.... Free Beer is a band! http://www.freebeernet.com/ I guess they have Fifty Amp Fuses and Magic Buses too! Funny people. Come check out the bands! Great music and great crowds!
Stephanie P. SOUTH supporter! April 11, 2012 at 12:29 PM
Brittany have you ever been to South?
cityguy2 April 11, 2012 at 02:18 PM
Free Beer is the name of a popular local band.
Colleen Moore April 11, 2012 at 02:39 PM
The people who own South cannot be part of the solution and are not to be trusted. Their bar is unwanted by the people of our community and it should be shut down. Enough is enough.
Alan Stamm April 11, 2012 at 02:40 PM
You're right, sort of . . . in an amusing way. 'Free Beer' is a Metro Detroit band (freebeernet.com) that plays tomorrow at South for an Adcraft Club of Detroit party and again on April 28 at an open event. "They decided to call themselves Free Beer because it was brilliant and original and it would be irresistible on a marquee," Detroit News columnist Neal Rubin wrote a few years back. And it *does* work, no question!
Tom April 11, 2012 at 02:55 PM
Free Beer is a really good band guys......I mean come on.
Alan Stamm April 11, 2012 at 07:53 PM
You must be right, Brittany -- booking 2 appearances this month by a band that has been named Free Beer since 1994 is clearly a deliberate provocation. What other explanation could there be? What I don't get, however, is why Star Lanes in Royal Oak has Free Beer (band, not beverage) this Friday and why they'll enliven the Farmers' Market there May 5 (uh-oh, Cinco de Mayo -- Free Beer could be fuel for trouble or deep mud or something).
Victor April 12, 2012 at 07:47 AM
I read those same comments that Spadafore wrote, he basically said on record that he cant afford to operate that's why he would promote his bar to anyone that will spend a buck, smh
don mannis April 16, 2012 at 12:54 PM
I have been sitting back and watching this entire topic for a few weeks now, I can't help but notice the similarities in the overall attitude of these posts, also the exact same punctuation, use of CAPS and "quotes" Alan Stamm, I think you are wasting your time resoponding to these posts as I believe "Blog Post", "Brittany", Lois" and several others are actually the same person, see some of us mart folks, can do this too :) In the end it will be "FOLLOW THE MONEY" some very unproffesional- "PROFESSIONALS" are actually stirring this because thay have "MOTIVES" Unfortunately the internet is a wonderfull thing and even when you think your anonymous, every thing you put here is recorded, deep in the ip headers of every message, text and everything you do on here is your true identity! We need to shut down the farmers market also if thier giving away "free beer" You would think people would check facts before they post such a stupid thing I would be embarrassed to have made such an error.....lol pathetic
Virginia L. Robinson April 16, 2012 at 07:51 PM
You are beyond Ignorant... FREE BEER is the name of a BAND!!!!
David Olsen April 21, 2012 at 12:50 PM
Is that it Britanny? Are birmingham people so much better than Redford people? You sound really ignorant and pretentious. After you step down from your high horse, Visit the parks in Birmingham, visit the movie theaters on a weekend, or simply walk the streets of a weekend, and you will find majority of the people coming to Birmingham do not live in Birmingham, or anywhere near Birmingham. It is not the Birmingham of your childhood with your polo shirts and argyle pants. South shutting down will not change this, i promise you. Time to buy a clue and accept it.
Stephanie P. SOUTH supporter! April 22, 2012 at 01:23 AM
Funny how all the comments stopped here... Don, you are a smart man. Thank you.
Paul C April 23, 2012 at 01:06 PM
Re : have you ever been to South ? I've never been to parts of Mexico that the Government sends out travel advisories against - And going involves a certain amount of risk, be it justified or not . Is South being targeted, singled out ? Are they attracting an undesirable crowd , drawn BECAUSE of what has been occurring in or near their establishment ? Can the Owners be held responsible for actions outside the scope of their responsibility ? Do they have enough Security ? I would like to see reasonable questions asked and answered, Before the unreasonable act is taken .

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