Birmingham City Council

Birmingham Council Shuts Down Mahogany Bar Despite Some Community Support

Birmingham City Council.  (Source: City’s council feed via Facebook)

The Mahogany Social Bar and Lounge will remain permanently closed after a vote by the Birmingham City Council on Tuesday.

Owner Montego Temple had moved the club to its 1709 Third St. W location after its previous location across the street burned down. Though Temple told councilors he believed he had secured a transfer of his liquor license and dance permit to the new location, he was arrested in December for operating without a proper license.

But complaints from the Birmingham Police Department that the club was a threat to public safety ultimately stymied his efforts to legally reopen Mahogany. Police pointed to 10 calls for service to the club in the past six months — ranging from gunshots to car break-ins — as well as an inspection by Detective Victor Langford that showed multiple safety issues and culminated with a fistfight in the club.

Temple argued that many of the calls for service had occurred while his business, which is open only Fridays and Saturdays, was closed. He also said he had hired the state-certified Howard Securities firm, upped the club’s age limit “to eliminate headaches,” and planned to install more security cameras.

Rising-West Princeton neighborhood President Costella Adams Terrell was also present at the meeting to read a letter in support of Temple and his business, calling him “an asset to our neighborhood” and adding that he’d participated in neighborhood cleanups and urged other business owners to do the same.

But most members of the council remained skeptical of Temple, including Public Safety Committee President LaTonya Tate. “I don’t think the police would make up false reports or come in here on the record and say that all of these incidents have taken place at your location,” Tate said. “The incidents recorded speak for themselves.”

Seven of the council’s nine members voted not to transfer Temple’s liquor license and dance permit, effectively closing his business. Only District 5 Councilor Darrell O’Quinn and District 8 Councilor Carol Clarke voted in Temple’s favor.