Downtown Mobile will soon have a new cocktail lounge.

The Kanary Bar will be the first owned by two African-American women in the entertainment district.

The owners Kawauna Gill and Tamara Coleman say they've endured a lot during the city’s approval process, but they’re now ready to move forward.

Both ladies call it a lifelong dream that’s finally about to come true. 

"We feel good that we are able to inspire other black women that will come behind us," Coleman said. "And to know that you can do anything that you put your mind to."

First Gill and Coleman had to get approval from the Mobile Planning Commission.

There were some concerns about the bar’s capacity and operating hours.

Coleman and Gill say they had a plan to stay open until at least 2:00 a.m. on the weekends, but that was changed to 12:00 a.m. 

Their building also holds the capacity to fill 300 people, but there maximum capacity was set to 179. 

Ultimately they came to a compromise.

The pair also struggled with some neighbors in a nearby residential area, as the council considered the business’s liquor license.

City Attorney Ricardo Woods talked about some controversial questions the women say those neighbors asked. 

"So when we're being asked to go to MLK, or being asked if they're from Prichard, or being asked if there were drugs involved, when none of the other entities that exist in this area in an entertainment district, were asked that at the planning commission phase, nor were they asked those questions here when they were applying for the liquor license that’s a problem," Woods stated. 

The council did unanimously approve the liquor license at the October 6 meeting.

Coleman says the stipulations have changed their overall vision. 

"The time restrictions and all this other chaos pretty much put a big damper in our business plan because of the hours that we have to close," Coleman said. "But those hours were pretty much forced on us."

After their difficult journey, Gill and Coleman are back on track, and their dream business will soon be a reality.

"It's kind of surreal, it is. It’s like we knew it would happen one day," Gill said. "We just knew that we trusted God. Sometimes I pinch myself but we deserve it."

The owners say they are happy they get to bring a new option to the downtown area next month. 


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