- Associated Press - Tuesday, August 12, 2014

COUNCIL BLUFFS, Iowa (AP) - A western Iowa bar once featured on a reality television show can keep its liquor license despite bad behavior shown on the program, a judge ruled.

Administrative Law Judge Margaret LaMarche overturned a May decision by the Council Bluffs City Council to deny the O Face Bar’s liquor license after it was featured on a Spike TV show called “Bar Rescue,” The Daily Nonpareil reported (http://bit.ly/1kyCcR3 ).

A March episode of the show, which is about reinventing struggling bars, showed multiple fights and the use of profanity. It also showed one employee smoking in a back office.

Matt Overmyer, who owns the bar with his wife, appealed the city’s decision to the Iowa Alcoholic Beverages Division. He claimed the show’s producers encouraged his staff to engage in staged fights and disorderly conduct for the cameras. He also said business has declined at the bar because of the show.

A message seeking comment was left with a Spike TV representative.

Overmyer said the business has had only one liquor law violation in more than three years.

LaMarche agreed with Overmyer, saying there wasn’t enough evidence to justify denying the bar’s liquor license renewal.

Assistant city attorney Don Bauermeister said the city respects the judge’s decision. He said Overmyer admitted allowing the bar to be featured on the show was a bad decision and was “terribly embarrassed by it.”

“I don’t think we’ll have any more problems with the O Face Bar going forward. I look to them to be very much on their Ps and Qs and don’t think they want to be on the radar again,” Bauermeister said. “I think it was a learning experience for them.”

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Information from: The Daily Nonpareil, http://www.nonpareilonline.com