City Denies Area Bar's Liquor License Application: Reality TV To Blame

Franque Thompson COUNCIL BLUFFS, IA (KPTM)- The popular reality television show, "Bar Rescue" on SPIKE TV came to Council Bluffs to help "O Face" bar gain more business. The idea of a better bar was something bar owner, Matthew Overmyer, looked forward too. "We thought we were going to get a remodel. I mean who wouldn't want new tables, new chairs, new glass wear, you know, free liquor to be put into your bar that you can later sell for a profit," said Overmyer. However, Overmyer said he and his staff had to do some acting on the reality show in order to make it on air. For example, two employees staged a fight. Overmyer said he was told the fight and added drama would help the show's ratings. For participating in the show, Bar Rescue will, in return, fix the entire bar and also provide free alcohol. However, O Face never saw that deal. On top of being left empty handed, the episode has set up a new issue between the bar and the Council Bluffs City Council. Members voted three to two against renewing the bars liquor license. O Face is the only business out of seven applications for a liquor license approval that was denied. "The main reason why I voted no is to at least send a message to the bar owner that that is unacceptable and that he has caused embarrassment to our community," said council member Lynne Branigan. Officials said the bar has no violations. Throughout its entire four years of business, O Face only has one citation. Overmyer said the council's vote was unfair. "I seriously did not expect that. I was shocked, to say the least. There's really not a word to describe how surprised I was." Branigan said no one in the community had really spoken of O Face or heard anything problems coming from the area, but said she became concerned as soon as the episode aired. "It's shameful, it's embarrassing, it didn't need to happen and hopefully that's a lesson for anyone who wants to be on reality TV, it may not be reality, but you're out there in the public and that's what the public is seeing," said Branigan. "We signed up to be on a reality TV show thinking it was going to be a good thing. We had no intention of this harming the city or harming anybody's reputation," said Overmyer. Overmyer said he is disappointed in the council's vote and plans to file an appeal with the state liquor commission. He hopes the state can see past the fake reality of reality TV. "We understood what they were trying to do and we just thought it was going to go a different direction with that. And in no way shape or form did we think we're going to try to make the city of council bluffs look the way that they did," he said.