Kid Rock’s Big Ass Honky Tonk and Rock & Roll Steakhouse in Nashville, Tennessee was been stripped of their alcohol license for five days. The city’s Metropolitan Beer Permit Board issue the suspension following the venue’s second violation of COVID-19 restrictions.
“They were in violation of two points of the order that states bar areas must remain closed to the public,” said inspector Melvin Brown told the Tennessean. “No interaction with the public is allowed, and alcohol can only be served at tables and booths.”
Although this infraction was specifically involved serving guests at the bar, the suspension came as no surprise. Honky Tonk co-owner Steve Smith has been an outspoken in his disdain for pandemic safety—amongst other inflammatory statements.
Just consider this viral IG from the Honky Tonk last week.
(The scene in that picture only resulted in the first fine. The closure came later.)
Smith characteristically bombastic in his defense. Apparently, he tried to educate the city doctors on public health, but they stubbornly refused to look beyond their medical school training.
“The Nashville government is, like, communist. They’ve got us behind a Berlin Wall,” Smith told The Tennessean. “We met with Mayor Cooper and the doctors weeks ago and explained how having bar service is safer than table service. They’re doing everything they can to put us out of business. The state of Tennessee is already in Phase 4 [of reopening] and they’re talking about holding us in Phase 2. It’s against our constitutional rights.”
At the start of the quarantine, Smith also threatened to defy the order to close. He stated that the quarantine was “unconstitutional” and that a patron at his bar “lived through the polio epidemic and didn’t recall such extreme measures being handed down in history.”
After some negative PR, Smith’s bars including Kid Rock’s Big Ass Honky Tonk and Rock & Roll Steakhouse ultimately did comply with the lockdown.
However, Smith thrust himself back in the news after the first citation. His attorney Bryan Lewis issued a statement on his behalf decrying a double-standard for BLM protestors.
“It’s unfair for 5,000 people to march in front of our place yesterday in direct violation of the Phase Two order and then for Mayor Cooper and Dr. Caldwell to come in last night and give us citations,” said Lewis.
Smith is no stranger to politics. After local politicians criticized Smith’s business partner James “Kid Rock” Ritchie Sr. for making sexist comments on Fox News, Smith funded campaign ads against them.
Kid Rock, himself, is a vocal supporter of President Trump.