Tuscaloosa’s Civil Axe Throwing to Close, Major Downtown Tuscaloosa Bar Taking Over Space
One of the biggest and busiest bars in downtown Tuscaloosa is about to expand by absorbing a struggling neighbor.
On Tuesday night, the Tuscaloosa City Council approved a measure to allow Rhythm & Brews to take over space currently occupied by Civil Axe Throwing, who are preparing to permanently close their location in Temerson Square.
Civil Axe Throwing gives patrons the unique catharsis of hurling sharp axes down a kind of firing line and sinking them into wooden targets down range.
They're doing business in more than a dozen markets primarily across the southeast, but their days in Tuscaloosa are numbered -- they will close permanently this Sunday, May 28th.
"The axe-throwing facility is struggling and all their facilities are struggling, I think that sort of fad has gone away," Roger Taylor, a co-owner of Temerson Square, told the council in a briefing earlier Tuesday afternoon.
Next door, the bar has drawn patrons to downtown Tuscaloosa for live music, cold drinks and rides on their infamous mechanical bull for more than 25 years, but Taylor said their maximum capacity is 240 patrons and on crowded nights, their small bathrooms are not cutting it.
Taylor said taking over the Civil Axe Throwing space, knocking out some walls and using most of the new space exclusively for restrooms will finally solve that problem. The city said the bar will also add a few pool tables to the new area.
The measure seemed like it might draw opposition from the council over a clause that would have expanded the bar's capacity to 265 -- Tuscaloosa Mayor Walt Maddox said an extremely understaffed police department is firmly against adding more people to already crowded nightlife spots.
"We already have an area that right now we have flagged, we're putting a lot of resources here, along with the Strip," Maddox said. "And one of the things you always communicate to me is you want more TPD resources in your districts."
With 30 officer positions vacant in the department, resources are already spread thin. Maddox said allowing Rhythm and Brews to get 25 more people in their bar could create more problems on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights and draw police away from other areas of the city.
Ultimately, though, Taylor said neither he nor the bar's owners Jeremy and Bradley Wyatt ever asked for extra capacity and keeping the number at 240 was not a dealbreaker for them -- they just want permits to knock out the walls and get the new bathrooms installed.
The council unanimously approved the bar's expansion later Tuesday night, and Taylor said they will use the construction time to also install a new sprinkler system throughout the venue.
For updates on the expansion as it progresses, stay connected to the Tuscaloosa Thread.