New Strip sports bar claims a ‘new way to gameday’

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CW / Jake Arthur

Grace Schepis | @GraceSchepisCW, Staff Writer

This month, Tuscaloosa’s iconic lineup of bars, restaurants and entertainment venues welcomes a new establishment that expects to encompass aspects of them all. Located on The Strip, this hybrid bar caters to patrons of all interests.

When UA alumni Jay Jarrett looks back on his days in T-Town, he doesn’t see just another college town; he sees a home. With a handful of family members having once attended The University of Alabama, Jarrett wanted to give back to his community by opening a venue that he believes is the first of its kind.

Twelve25, a sports bar and entertainment venue, is the newest attraction along University Boulevard. On the surface, its name seems like a dead giveaway: the street address. But to Jarrett, it means more.

“The ‘twelve’ is spelled out,” Jarrett said. “That’s because of the significance of the number twelve in football, particularly, and in how it relates to The University of Alabama. There have been a number of noteworthy people who have gone through the University that have worn that number.”

Players such as Bear Bryant and Joe Namath have both contributed to the importance of the number not to mention the pressure and honor put on its wearer when a new player dons the digits.

But bearing this number is not intimidating to Jarrett. Instead, he looks at it as a fitting way to present his vision for the venue, while paying homage to the rich history of the school and its athletic dominance.

Jarrett hopes for patrons of all backgrounds and interests to visit his venue, whether it’s for a business meeting, Xbox tournament or casual lunch with friends and family.  Not only will it serve as a sports bar, but it will offer activities of all types, from gaming competitions to golf simulations. 

“We want something that is going to look and feel different,” Jarrett said. 

Twelve25 will be home to three distinct internal sections: a main VIP section to the left, a central restaurant area and a traditional bar layout to the right. With maximum flexibility as the main goal, Jarrett hopes for the possibility to entertain simultaneous events in each section of the bar. 

“We want to be able to host three large groups doing their own respective things in their own private spaces,” Jarrett said. 

While a large portion of the venue is dedicated to being a restaurant, Twelve25 has more to offer than just food. Before your taste buds are even addressed, Jarrett claims that you’re going to want to feast your eyes on the decor that gives Twelve25 its contemporary edge.

“The look, feel, vibe and atmosphere are not that of your typical dive or sports bar,” Jarrett said. 

One detail that might particularly appeal to UA students is the bar’s late-night menu they plan to serve food until they close their doors at 2 a.m.

However, not all students found the multi-functional venue to their taste.

“They did have a great DJ, and there was definitely enough people there to have a good time, but the sports bar aspect kind of threw me off,” Nicoletta Valenzano, a senior majoring in public health and psychology, said. “They just attempted to change a restaurant into a nightclub. While it may have worked at another place not as open and spread out, it definitely gave me more of a restaurant vibe than a bar nightclub.”

Another student, Becca Mendelsohn, a junior majoring in fashion retail, was excited about the new hangout.

“I was eager to see a new bar in Tuscaloosa open up,” Mendelsohn said. “My experience at Twelve25 was very fun and exciting.”

As they undergo a more formal opening in the coming week, Mendelsohn plans to return.

“I was only there for a short time, but I am excited to go back with friends to see what else the new spot can offer,” Mendelsohn said.

As the bar scene in Tuscaloosa has had some recent hiccups in terms of safety, Twelve25 has faith in its seasoned security team to ensure that everyone feels secure.

“It starts with a great, highly experienced security team,” Jarrett said. “Our team probably has over 100 years of combined experience.”

Besides trusting his own hand-picked team, and the camera system that will also be in place, Jarrett is asking for the patrons of Twelve25 to do their part in knowing what is and is not acceptable inside and around the venue.

“We want to establish a great relationship with local law enforcement and the Alcohol Beverage Control Board,” Jarrett said. “We are 100% committed to keeping everyone safe.”

Along with putting a stop to underage drinking and physical altercations, Jarrett has also made the elimination of harassment one of his top priorities. “We have a zero-tolerance policy on people being harassed,” Jarrett said. “And it doesn’t stop when they leave Twelve25. If someone needs a ride home, we will offer those services through Uber or Lyft. Just request one from a bartender or manager and we will make sure that happens.”

Twelve25 has operated under a soft opening schedule for the last week, where students and locals have already made a point to check out the new establishment.

The official grand opening is scheduled for next Saturday night on Jan. 25. Jarrett and others are excited to open their doors and announce their signature cocktail at this event. 

“At the end of the day, Roll Tide,” Jarrett said. 

For more information, Twelve25 can be found on Instagram @TheTwelve25