Twelve25 supporters speak out at city council meeting
A local bar embroiled in a battle against the city over its occupancy limits has plenty of supporters who are ready and willing to voice their thoughts on the matter.
That was well apparent at Tuesday’s Tuscaloosa City Council meeting, as more than a dozen people stood up and spoke out about the Twelve25 situation.
The bar, located on the Strip just off the University of Alabama campus, has filed a lawsuit against the city after the city passed a new ordinance and said the location could no longer operate as a gastropub. As a gastropub, Twelve25 spent the day and early evening operating as a restaurant with a 200-plus patron capacity before removing tables and chairs at 10 p.m. and becoming a bar with a 500-plus person capacity.
The new ordinance comes after a Jan. 15 shooting on the Strip in which a 23-year-old mother was shot to death. The two men charged in her killing had spent time that evening at Twelve25.
When the city passed the new ordinance, Twelve25 filed a lawsuit against the city, saying the ordinance is targeting the location because it caters to Black and minority patrons.
The new ordinance affects Twelve25 and one other business in Tuscaloosa: Moe’s Original BBQ on University Boulevard.
“Right now, I really don’t think the situation that they are dealing with is fair, especially in comparison to other bars and things along the Strip and in the Tuscaloosa area in general,” said University of Alabama graduate Austyn Ladson.
Twelve25 is one of the few bars near the UA campus that caters to Black students, and many said they’re glad they finally have a place so close where they feel welcome.
“Twelve25 has been a safe space for Black students as well as other students of color to join together and just feel safe and enjoy our time at the university, which is something that the majority of us haven’t felt from the other bars,” said supporter Arin Massey.
Other supporters said they believe the ordinance isn’t fair because the only business it’s targeting caters to the Black community.
“I go to Twelve25 all the time,” said supporter Rochelle Quarles. “I love it and I feel safe there. It’s a great establishment to have on campus for everybody, not just the minority community.”
Tuscaloosa Mayor Walt Maddox and city council members said they cannot comment on the matter because of the current lawsuit.