2015
01.28

Chattanooga Street Tavern Inside

Since opening in November 2012, Chattanooga Street Tavern has been the center of drama and controversy.

Owner Mike Lovelady’s political ambitions, his son’s fights with employees and various sexual escapades, uninspiring food, poor location, limited parking, conflicts with the city, and regularly bad health inspection scores – capped by last February’s party with legally-prohibited hard liquor – have given the establishment a troubled reputation.

Chattanooga Street Tavern Ownership Change

A week ago Lovelady announced he had transferred control of Chattanooga Street Tavern to a new owner, or owners, effective January 1st. He did not, however, identify the owner(s), leading to much speculation of who might be willing to take on such a troubled business and whether or not they can turn it into an eatery LaFayette might be proud of.

Unfortunately the Tavern’s new leadership may have the city wishing Lovelady would return.

Tabby Holcomb

The Tavern’s new owner, or co-owner, has been identified as Tabby Holcomb.

Holcomb is a nurse employed at Pruitt Healthcare nursing home (formerly LaFayette Healthcare), but LU readers will probably know her best as the bartender from last year’s Valentine’s Day Arts Guild fundraiser where hard liquor was sold, in violation of city law – an event that launched World War III in LaFayette.

In subsequent months, Holcomb was the Tavern’s biggest advocate, biggest defender of the business’ illegal actions, and openly tried to provoke the city. That’s when she was just a regular; as owner her position towards ignoring the law isn’t likely to improve.

Save the Tavern F The Council

Being a professional nurse and bartender-for-hire doesn’t make Holcomb an expert on running a business required by law to make at least 70% of its profits from food sales, and her presence is bound to make the establishment’s menu worse than it already is. (First red flag: Tabby’s initial move as owner was firing two of the few employees who actually knew how to run a restaurant.)

Holcomb, however, doesn’t seem to be the “new” Tavern’s biggest potential problem.

New Tavern Owners Tabby Holcomb and Darren Webb

Sources say another partner or participant in the business is Darren Webb, shown above with Tabby in a photo shared on Facebook earlier this week.

Webb is an experienced bar manager.

He’s also an experienced criminal, having been charged or suspected at various times of theft, bribery, building bombs, dealing steroids, operating an illegal gambling operation, insurance fraud, and arson.

Which of those skills will he and Tabby fall back on when the Tavern fails to make a profit from selling food? Gambling? Drugs? Paying (or bribing) cops to turn a blind eye? Sending the whole thing up in a cloud of smoke when all else fails?

    City of LaFayette Code of Ordinances, 4-120: “No person shall be granted a pouring permit unless it appears to the satisfaction of the city clerk or a designee that such person has not been convicted or pled guilty or entered a plea of nolo contendere to any crime involving moral turpitude, illegal gambling, illegal possession or sale of controlled substances or the illegal sale or possession of alcoholic beverages … within a period of five (5) years preceding the date of the application and is not on probation or parole.”

That rule for obtaining a pouring license applies both to restaurant owners and managers. While it’s not clear if Webb is an actual owner in Chattanooga Street Tavern or just an employee, any role for him within the company should be sufficient grounds for the city to refuse the “new” Tavern a pouring license.

If by some error or fluke the Tavern does obtain its business and alcohol licenses and stays open, the business’ future could make its checkered past look like a Sunday School picnic in comparison.

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10 comments so far

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  1. Slander, name calling and smear campaign are all that come to mind. If you don’t want the bussiness there donut the right way not by slinging mud

  2. Lu is just an opinionated, miserable, and judgemental asshole….. Why dont you actually write up a story ( ONCE ) that doesn’t slander or just completwely offend the community as a whole.. Always stirring the pot… keeping shit stirred will only make you smell like shit…. True Story

  3. ^^^^^ ***completely*** ^^^^^

  4. Congratulations Tabby, Give it your best SHOT. !!!

  5. Get with the program Lafayette.. You can’t stay a sleepy little shithole town forever..barring anything new or making some changes- god forbid-is going to eventually force everyone to vacate..and if the individuals who do wanna get out have a few and LIVE have nowhere to go what do they turn to then? Drugs,mischief, other illegal activities?? Hmm..

  6. Congratulations Tabby!!!!!! You will bring the Tavern back to what it coulda been!!!

  7. Webb’s defenders on Facebook have alternated between saying he has no stake in the Tavern to saying he has a stake in the Tavern but his past criminal behavior doesn’t matter.

    In Chattanooga, Webb is involved and has in the past been involved with a number of bars, including Bottoms-Up Strip Club which closed in the 80’s. Currently he owns the building that houses Brew & Cue (formerly Hi-Rollers, formerly Luckys Pool Room) on 27 right past the TN/GA line. The business inside the building is actually owned by Mark A. Chitwood who also owns Southern Comfort Steakhouse & Nightclub elsewhere in Chattanooga.

    Chitwood had problems opening Southern Comfort in 2011 because of building codes and because he had Webb on his payroll there as a “consultant” even though he had recently been paroled from his various other crimes.

    Looks like Chitwood owns the Brew & Cue businesses and Webb does the management plus owns the building. He can technically now get a liquor license in Tennessee because he’s managed to go eight years without a conviction, although city beer and liquor boards may have discretion to deny him based on his past. Not sure about the details of alcohol rules for Chattanooga or East Ridge specifically.

    LaFayette rules are stricter, where it’s basically left up to the city clerk to decide about each person who applies based on their background check. Which is why Webb would never get a permit here. But he can still take a role in the business in some form, which is what it seems he’s done. To what degree, and what it means for the Tavern and for LaFayette, we have yet to find out.

    — LU

  8. Well if you ask me , I think thay are all a bunch of fu individuals . There business practices suck , Thats ok cause we got one for ya , watch and see you can not work someone say 60 hrs and only pay them for 40 that is bull shit .So I want to watch them fall , And for the ugly twit that has been there shes nothing but a layer and white trash . I well never step foot in that nasty place .

  9. Kristy, go smoke some more crack.

  10. CONGRATS TABBY!!!!! I KNOW FOR A FACT UR A AWSOME AMAZING NURSE WHO HAS HER EMPLOYEES BACKS AND STANDS BEHIND THEM AND FIGHTS FOR THEM NO MATTER WHAT!! UR GONNA RUN THIS BAR AND SHOW LU WHERE TO STICK THEIR SHIT! I LOVE U WOMAN!