Watering Hole bars reconfigure ownership amid longtime Lincoln owner’s legal troubles
A longtime owner of Lincoln’s Watering Hole bars has been barred from stepping inside them as his wife restructures the taverns’ ownership amid his pending felony assault charge.
Nebraska Liquor Control commissioners Wednesday approved the transfer of liquor licenses for the three Watering Hole locations and Cliff’s Lounge on the condition Bryan McFarland not have a hand or step foot in the bars.
“He is to stay out,” Commissioner Bruce Bailey of Lincoln said.
Lincoln police have accused McFarland of starting a fight with a man at Bodega’s Alley bar Nov. 5, 2017, punching him from behind and leaving him with a gash on the back of his head.
McFarland has pleaded not guilty to the second-degree assault charge, and a bench trial is scheduled for December. If convicted of a felony, McFarland would be unable to holding a liquor license in Nebraska.
He wasn’t at Wednesday’s hearing before the commission, but his wife, Anita McFarland, said the four bars owned by Mo Chara LLC now belong to a trust in her teenage son’s name.
As the trustee, she will oversee them while living in Arizona, and her husband, who is moving to Colorado, has signed affidavits stating he won’t participate in the business, she told the commission.
Longtime managers will oversee and run the four bars, she said.
In June, a judge fined McFarland $300 for allowing after-hours drinking at one of his taverns after he pleaded to the charge and had three other misdemeanors dropped in a deal with city prosecutors.