Good Times Bar & Grill - Music Unplugged by Sound Police

Good Times one of first community youth programs supporters
Sometimes it takes an action that defies logic for your instincts to stand up for the little guy, or gal in some cases, and reinvest time and effort into a business you had once written off. Everyone deserves a second chance and no less a business owner that has been a provider of stage time for a variety of entertainers over the years from magicians, to karaoke, to Elvis Impressionists to Blue Grass Circles to you name it, as well as a supporter of the community.

I'm talking about Good Times Cafe, Bar & Grill, as recently I testified at their tribunal hearing in order to clarify a condition violation they've been charged with and its interpretation that is continually costing Good Times' owners time and money to fight - that being a provision of her liquor license that she not be allowed to play any "amplified" music. At all! Not a radio, juke box, band, D.J. for a party, Christening , birthday, nothing! And one would suppose the ban includes a tv with music videos playing - as of course the music tracks in movies or commercials would technically be " amplified" - and considering what they are trying to do to the lady now by pulling her license and fining her( she's since been temporarily reinstated) simply for having one speaker playing music at a low level but through an "amplification" allowing them to charge her for this "offense" - don't put it past them. To me this has all been overkill.

Good Times donated closing party in 2007 for team
Owner Nawal  had previously gone 6 years as a business (taking over from brother Sam) hosting different events from parties, to dances, to theme nights - sometimes with live entertainment sometimes not - until an eagle-eyed disgruntled resident looked up her conditions and discovered the loophole. The same couple had previously tried to get the police involved claiming excessive noise but repeatedly the local police would come and hear nothing disturbing when they arrived and eventually actually asked them to stop calling as testified to by the couple themselves! Ends there right!? Wrong! Next the determined couple worked on the loophole through the licensing route and it has gripped Good Times ever since.

" Good times, bad times, I know I've had my share....." Led Zeppelin

Hurricane Mike has performed at Good Times
She paid $ at first "offense"- being taken off guard as she was as they threatened to take her license immediately if she didn't - and otherwise she couldn't survive with her high location rent and inflexible landlord. She's come to see that the liquor licensing board can have deep pockets (of your tax money fyi), are lawyer-ed to the max, and are tough to fight. They even applied to have me excluded from giving testimony even though I attended the original hearing some 7 years ago. The hearing has had me come back at 3 different times as the lawyers strategically hoped I'd either drop out or not show up. Not to mention have her tribunal representative - Dorian Baxter a.k.a. Elvis Priestly - removed. Oh yea, stay tuned folks this thing is getting interesting.

Winning Road hockey 2006 Good Times Cafe Mulock Hawks
I did show up however, and was able to attest to the fact that the condition mentioned regarding no amplification on that license was meant to be about the outside of the establishment - just like the other two conditions mentioned. At the time an elderly licensing board rep gentleman (since retired) took notes by hand as he struggled to keep up as I recall, and repeatedly he'd ask for clarification as he got caught up. Clearly he had lost track of the fact that the conditions discussion had moved to the outside of the establishment as we had just asked about a patio - which was also mentioned as a condition on the licensing document. At any rate, I certainly don't forget the kiddyoke or entertainment provided for community kids for the road hockey event / team. I also recall the free magician at their anniversary party along with belly dancers and live acoustical band and the all day food discount specials.

" In over 19 years in and around the hospitality industry I've never heard of any business whether a restaurant, bar, or otherwise that is told they can't have anything whatsoever for sound. Even Ma and Pop dry cleaners can have a radio.  No, the provision noted at the time was being discussed for the outside of the establishment and I remember it clearly."
Tom Pearson

My testimony additionally conceded that Nawal did have growing pains as an owner originally but then I turned towards the complainant in "court"and said,

" There was a time when I might be sitting down right beside you. She had had some growing pains as an owner new to the business and had made some mistakes, but that was some years ago and she has shown a willingness to change and to work with the community"

Local Dan is not short..he has a disability.. karoake offers fun he can get to
She no longer has All Ages shows for example which she was not ever really set up for properly in my opinion. But she learned some harsh, costly lessons from it all and has really struggled to gain back some former customers since as a result. I also added in testimony that they need draw a distinction if they must between different types of 'noise' as a  punk show will certainly be 'louder"than a karaoke for example and an acoustical jam is not a metal jam. Events I've put on outdoors in town permit me an allowed decibel level - and that is what need be done if they really want to be fair about allowing a business to carry on with some music / sound inside. No body - alcohol, gaming, or otherwise should have the power to restrict a business from having some music inside their establishment for the pleasure of both patrons and staff as well as to enhance business through its ambiance.

Despite the doom and gloom of the sound issue, if you go check out Good Times now the feeling is upbeat especially with the latest license reprieve and the food has never been better. I had Nawal's own special sandwich that is like a grilled panini stuffed with fresh lettuce, seasoned chicken and other fresh ingredients and exclaimed, "Nawal this is unbelievable, this is what you need to get out there - your great food! And I meant it. I've noticed a vast improvement in the food quality from her humble beginnings as well as her (and daughter's) hospitality / service in general from years back as obviously some of the time spent in the trenches has paid off with some good product and Good Times!

Drop in and check them out (again)  for lunch or a casual dinner or meeting or come out for Open Stage Friday's (no amplification) and help support local entertainment and this business owner to fight for your right to have music and a stage for the arts!
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