License revocation urged for troubled Roane County tavern
By: Bob Fowler
KINGSTON — A notorious tavern that reportedly cleaned up its act now finds its beer license on the line again following an undercover operation where a bartender sold a brew to an underage patron.
Roane County Sheriff Jack Stockton has recommended to the county Beer Board that the license for the Grill & Pub, located just outside Harriman on U.S. Highway 27, be revoked.
Employee Jennifer Lynn Sawin is accused of selling a beer to a 19-year-old undercover operative, on Jan. 24, according to a citation.
A special agent with the state’s Alcoholic Beverage Commission accompanied the teen to the bar, the citation indicates.
Sawin, 40, of Rockwood, is scheduled to appear in Roane County General Sessions Court on Feb. 11.
If the case is resolved then with a guilty verdict, a special Feb. 12 session of the Roane County Beer Board is set to consider a beer license revocation, Chairman George W. “Copper” Bacon said.
Stockton, during the board’s latest meeting, recommended revoking the bar’s license for a year.
He said the Grill & Pub was one of several Roane County establishments recently checked by the ABC.
The tavern, formerly called the Big Orange Grill & Pub, had a reputation for rowdiness that included an incident in which a 46-year-old man died in July 2011 in the parking lot after being slugged by another patron in a dust-up over a fender-bender, according to authorities.
A Roane County woman, Cheryl Payne, disappeared in 2003 after she was last seen arguing with her boyfriend at the bar.
The sheriff two years ago called the bar a “total public nuisance,” but he said Tuesday he was unaware of recent disturbances there.
In September 2011, stringent guidelines for future operations were imposed on the tavern owner, including the installation of security cameras, hiring of private security guards on weekends and improved exterior lighting.
Those rules were put in place in response to a petition filed by Roane County Attorney Tom McFarland to revoke the beer license following the one-punch parking lot death.
Neither Sawin nor tavern owner Grover Norton was available for comment Tuesday.
Source: Knoxville News Sentinel