Magnolia Tavern is Clanton’s newest watering hole

Published 8:48 am Saturday, May 20, 2017

There is a new spot in town to have a few drinks, share a few laughs and dance the night away.

Magnolia Tavern is located right next to the Days Inn at 2000 Big M Blvd. in Clanton and opened for business on April 29.

D’Wayne Wright is the general manager of the trio that includes Days Inn, Magnolia Grill and Magnolia Tavern.

Wright was born and raised in Clanton and has returned home after retiring as a Galveston County Sheriff’s deputy in Texas.

The tavern is the last piece of the puzzle for Wright, who has put a lot of time and effort into improving the look and reputation of the complex since taking over in early October 2016.

“We’ve still got a long way to go, but it’s the last step into getting it on the right path,” Wright said.

At this point in the process, the restaurant is operating with a limited menu, but Wright has the goal to expand with specialty nights that feature an all-you-can-eat buffet.

“Our main goal for the tavern and the grill is to serve the hotel, and not the other way around” Wright said.

The Days Inn currently has 50 rooms back open and Wright hopes to continue to grow that number to 75 by the end of the summer.

As a cop for 25 years, Wright understands the dangers associated with drinking and driving and goes to unique measures to make sure his customers realize as well.

A large sign hangs on the wall behind the bar and states that the average cost in Alabama for a person’s first DUI is between $7,000-$10,000.

The hotel has a “bar rate” that people can take advantage of if they have opened a tab at the bar. The rate is expected to fluctuate, but remain around $49.95 a night.

“It gives a place for people to go instead of getting behind the wheel,” Wright said.

The tavern has a prohibition theme with the entrance to the building decorated to look like a back ally way. The bartenders are dressed in white and black uniforms that depict what they would have looked like in the 1920s.

“We wanted it to be kind of a speakeasy feel,” Wright said. “We’ve got 10 or 15 drinks on our menu and every single bartender has been trained properly to make those drinks taste the same no matter who makes it.”

Wright has several big ideas for the establishment, including the possibility of a red, white and blue night for police officers, fire fighters and paramedics as well as a humane society night, where the entry fee would be a bag of dog or cat food.

“I want it to be a place where people can come have a drink and relax,” Wright said.