My Turn, Your Turn: Response to Battle of the Bars

By Gary McNair - bio|email

WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) - You might title this déjà vu all over again - about a year ago I did a commentary on this topic and today I am going to share the same viewpoint.

Members of the military have a hard time getting into bars in downtown Wilmington.  It got national attention last year and created a black eye for the city of Wilmington.

Our news team wanted to find out if anything has changed.  They sent Marines into area bars to see if they could get in, and they did - at least in two locations.  However, at a third location they were rejected at the door.  The bouncer said they didn't have a club membership, but moments later when we sent in a civilian with no membership, that same bouncer let him in.

That, my friends, is wrong.  It is also discrimination.  I think any bar that does not apply the rules in a fair and consistent manner should lose its liquor license.

That's my opinion - but I'm entitled to it because the military helped secure those kinds of freedoms for all of us.  It seems some people may need to be reminded.

That's my turn.  Now it's your turn.  To comment on this subject, or anything else, email me at

Viewers' Response:
These comments have been emailed by viewers and have not been modified or edited.

I just watched the commentary online regarding members of the Armed Services in downtown bars.

I was sickened to see the Charlie Brownz club deny entry and discriminate against the very people who defend the club owners freedom.

Without our freedom, these clubs would not be in existence and I think that ANY bar in downtown who refuses service to a member of the Armed Services should be boycotted by all true Americans. I am a civilian and have always been one. I have never had a club membership to any club downtown and have never been refused entry. One Saturday several years ago at a club downtown, I was behind two very well kept, well dressed Marines. The Door man looked at their IDs and told them because they were below an E4 they could not come in.

That is discrimination in its purest form and these club owners should be ashamed of themselves. You would think in the time of a recession they would gladly accept any spending by any patron.

These men and women put their lives down on the line for YOU and for YOUR freedom.

Stop discriminating against U.S. Service Men and Women. You make me sick. I honestly hope they file a discrimination lawsuit against all of you who will not allow these fine men and women into your establishments. .And that is my opinion.


I just wanted to say thank you...for bringing attention to the unfair practices in downtown Wilmington in regards to the Marines. My husband has been serving our country for over 15 years now. We have been married for 14 and have three children who are very proud their father is a Marine.  He is a Company Commander of about 200+ Marines, we live in Hampstead and I work in Wilmington.  We have had this discussion many times and it pains him to tell his Marines that they should avoid such a beautiful city like Wilmington. When you think about it, these young Marines are no different than the hundreds of UNCW students that get rowdy in bars, the difference is they are easy to spot, with their tight hair cuts and they usually travel in "packs' because lets face it, for some of these boys all they have are eachother.

My husband and the Battalion he is with just left for Afganistan, these young Marines that are fighting for our freedom, and sadly some are dying for, should be allowed to let off some steam before and after they go. They have earned that right. I challenge any one of those self rightous bar owners to spend ONE day in "boots and utes"(uniforms). They should be honored that our boys want to throw a few back in their bars.

Thank you again for bringing it to everyones attention.


I know it sounds like discrimination, but what do you do when the miliatry is constantly coming in, in large drunken groups tearing everything up.  I personally have been at Charlie Brown's  among other bars when the military were so obnoxious, grabbing girls and causing fights.  There either needs to be more police or a military policeman to nip this in the bud.  This is the same exact case with business owners in Myrtle Beach closing down during bike weeks.  It may be discrimination, or maybe they just want to be able to stay open and not go broke fixxing all the damage.  You really need to look at both sides.


That's a fitting title actually. Let's all of us be honest on this. No one wants to seem un-patriotic or anything, but the fact of the matter is this. Our military is involved in 2 wars right now and alot of these guys have been in extended combat, so when a group of Marines (or Paratroopers from Ft. Bragg) go bar hopping, they are not concerned about their actions when they get boozed up and usually by the end of a night, will fight just about anyone over anything. They don't have to worry about being arrested, because the courts are being overly sympathetic towards them these days unless a felony has been committed. The military will just slap them on the wrist for brawling because they can't get enough new recruits as it is. The ones that suffer are the bar owners and the non-military public that get in their way. I know this because I have been there as a paratrooper just returning home and getting together with my combat brothers and heading out on the town to blow off steam. I'm not sure what the answer is to this situation, but that is the problem that no one seems to want to openly admit for fear of being branded as un-patriotic.


I certainly agree with you comments on this continuing issue.  We are luck to have these men who fight for our safety, and freedom.  This a terrible in justice to those men that have been confronted this issue and those who are vetran's and those who have lost their lifes for our country.  This is a embarrassment for all of us.


It really disturbs me that the guilty bars just dont get it. Without those heros in the military there would be no bars. I'll bet those that deny entrance have never served a day in uniform. God bless our military.


I have worked in many of the bars here in wilmington since moving here in 2001. My father is an navy veteran and i am for the military tho i am againist them drinking downtown because i have seen many of fights involving marines and army personal and have seen many military personal think bc they are fighting for our freedom they can drink for free and skip out on bar tabs costing the bars money. So no i am not for military personal drinking in my bars they got jacksonville and fayetteville to go party.


First let me say, I can't believe you feel the owner of these bars should have there liquor license taken away. Unless you have owned a bar you can't say that.

I owned a bar back in the 80's. People weren't much different then they are today. It's not an easy job, although, it may seem like it. My worst customers were groups of cops, firemen and military people. They were rude, started fights, obnoxious foul mouthed individuals who treated females with absolutely no respect. I had a group of rookie cops that reserved my bar for a private party. I lived upstairs from my place of business. I looked out the window at midnight and saw about 6 guys outside with open beers. They know it's against the law to go outside with an open container. I asked them if they could take it back inside. What did I get? I got treated as if I was the scum of the earth......... the next thing I know I'm bleeding from my head. One of them threw a can of beer at me. I was 4 months pregnant and didn't sell canned beer.

Another time I was waitressing at a bar at a large well known airport. We would get plane loads of military personnel through there. Constantly they would ask for 5 cent beers. When I told them how much a beer was they complained and wanted me to steal for them. When I didn't have there brand of beer they would call me a Commie. A woman that I worked with was Czech. very nice woman who worked her butt off for these two military men. These men were in there 40's. The waitress went on a break and the two military men asked where the foreign girl went. It might not seem like much to you right now but they were very rude. As for a tip? They gave her 35 cents. They had this woman running for them..... straws, pack of peanuts........ stupid stuff. They sat far away from the bar as they could as well. Each time she would ask if they wanted anything else and they kept sending her for little things. This is just wrong. All waitresses would complain when the military were coming because that meant you weren't going to make any money and be treated like dirt.

I understand these people that are in the military have a tough job. I support what they do and am proud of them. When it comes to these individuals in a civilian place things become very different. They should learn to treat people with respect like they do with there commanders. They should learn to have a good time without wrecking a place of business when they are drunk. They get out of control and there is always an excuse. We don't tolerate it from those not in the military so it shouldn't be tolerated for those who are.

So, I have my reasons why I understand why military people are turned away. I would be afraid of losing business too. Not only that but the bar owner is responsible for an awful lot. It's not hard to lose a liquor license so you do what you have to do to protect your business.

I appreciate all soldiers and thank them for what they do. Sometimes we just have to protect our selves from them when they are out drinking.


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