Backyard Sports Grill Patrons speak out against City Council comments

by TRISTAN MADDEN

In an ongoing controversy regarding the Backyard Sports Grill, patrons of the bar rejected accusations from the College Park City Council that the proprietors of the restaurant have created a “pornographic” or unsafe environment in their establishment.

Several council members cast the restaurant in a negative light during an Oct. 6 council work session that discussed the Backyard Sports Grill’s role in a Jul. 31 altercation.

“[the Backyard Sports Grill] described an operation that all kinds of people would be comfortable going to and having an enjoyable and a safe experience, and that’s not what we’re seeing,” said council member Stephanie Stullich.

Council member P.J. Brennan accused the bar owners of using promotion material featuring images of women that facilitated a “pornographic environment.”

But several patrons of the Backyard Sports Grill disagreed with the council’s assessment of the restaurant.

Patron Megan Diggs said both the employees and the owners were extremely kind. As for the environment of the restaurant, Diggs said the owners, who have kids of their own, were so family-oriented she felt uncomfortable cursing around them.

Morgan, a student at the University of Maryland and another patron, said the Backyard Sports Grill was her favorite bar in College Park and one of the few that were “people of color friendly.” Morgan said the bar was a generally safe place. She said fights have broken out in the restaurant but noted she has seen fights break out in many other College Park establishments, including the Cornerstone Grill and Loft down the street from the restaurant.

Nancy M., who was eating at the bar for the first time with her family, said she enjoyed the experience and felt the bar was safe and welcoming. She said Brennan’s accusation that the owners had created a “pornographic environment” was untrue and “offensive.”

Featured photo: Yelp

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