General Beauregard’s in Athens denies serving racist-themed cocktail

Exterior view of Genral Beauregard's bar in Athens, downloaded from the bar's Facebook page.

Exterior view of General Beauregard’s bar in Athens, downloaded from the bar’s Facebook page.

Is it an ugly Internet prank, or did someone actually think it was a good idea to offer a watermelon-flavored margarita named after a racial slur?

The owner of General Beauregard’s, a Confederate-themed Athens bar, denied on Tuesday that he or his employees ever offered a drink called a “N*****ita” on the menu. The denial came hours after photographs purporting to show the item on a printed menu began circulating on social media Monday night.

“We do not condone this at all,” Daniel Simmons said when reached by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution on Tuesday. “We’re investigating it to get to the bottom of it.”

Simmons pointed out that the bar doesn’t have printed drink menus.

Pictures of the purported menu circulating on social media appear to show the recipe for a “N*****ita” — tequila, watermelon and a splash of sour. In the pictures the list appears laminated, leading some to suggest that it was not a drink menu for customers but a recipe book for bartenders. The source of the image could not be immediately determined.

Asked whether the picture was of a recipe book in use behind the bar, Simmons said, “Not to my knowledge. I know nothing about this. We are investigating at this time.”

Social media posts claimed that an unidentified employee of an Athens printer, Bel-Jean Copy/Print, saw the menu at the print shop, took a photo of it and posted it to a social media account. The post was later removed.

Contacted Tuesday evening, the store’s manager, who would only identify himself as McKenzie, said he was not familiar with such a job. “We didn’t print those,” he said.

In a written statement earlier in the day, Simmons said his employees occasionally write limited drink specials on chalk boards “displayed openly by the front door and behind the bar.”

The photo circulating on Twitter shows a picture of the front of the bar on top of a piece of paper with a printed description of the drink circled in red. The full racial slur does not appear; instead, on the drink list, the cocktail is presented as “N*****ita.”

“We had absolutely no knowledge of, and would never condone, this image that is claimed to be our drink menu,” Simmons said in the statement. “The circled drink included in the picture is not something we have ever served to customers or advertised and would never be approved by ownership.”

After the massacre of nine African-American churchgoers in Charleston this summer by an avowed white supremacist, General Beauregard’s removed several Confederate flags, including the battle flag, from its interior.

“We felt like it would be best to remove those symbols,” Simmons said in a phone interview with the AJC.

Now he is trying to figure out who put together what could be a potentially damaging and defamatory meme and why. The bar is named for Confederate General Pierre Gustave Toutant-Beauregard, on who commanded troops at Fort Sumter, S.C., as the Civil War began.

“We are investigating the origin of this photograph, and will take appropriate action to resolve this matter as needed,” Simmons said.