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Owner says bar courting mellow patrons

July 26, 2007|By DAN DEARTH

HAGERSTOWN - The owner of a restaurant and bar in downtown Hagerstown told liquor officials Wednesday that he has taken several steps to discourage rowdy customers from entering the establishment.

Mike Deming, owner of 43 South on Potomac Street said during a hearing before the Washington County Board of License Commissioners that he recently beefed up security and introduced metal detecting devices to ensure a safer environment.

In addition, he said different music is played in the bar to attract a more mellow crowd.

Some of the problems that liquor officials mentioned included customers playing drinking games in the bar, and underage crowds loitering outside because they couldn't get in to hear bands.

"The people we suspected who weren't the best customers have stopped coming in," Deming said.

By keeping the undesirable customers from entering, 43 South's business has suffered, he said.

"But that's OK ... We're doing the best we can," Deming said.

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He said 43 South offers food specials to help drive the focus away from alcohol.

Each Tuesday, for example, the restaurant features pasta dishes, and a late-night menu includes pizza, crab-stuffed pretzels and jumbo corn dogs.

Hagerstown Police Sgt. Kevin S. Simmers said Deming's head of security has been working with police to help make 43 South a safer place.

"It seems to be going in the right direction," Simmers said.

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