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Rockin venue
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 After a rousing start this past weekend hosting the chamber's annual beach party, T.J.'s Rockin Country Bar and Grill is ready to open its doors to the public this weekend.

T.J.'s operations manager Terry Johnson said he wants regularly to see the bar's concert hall filled as it was for the Covington/Newton County Chamber of Commerce's beach party which featured The Tams and The Drifters who played to a sold-out audience of approximately 700 people Saturday night.

With southern rock legends Molly Hatchet already booked to perform this Friday evening, it certainly looks like the good times will continue to roll. Other acts coming to T.J.'s - located on Old City Pond Road - in the near future include funk rock band Mother's Finest on Sept. 14.

Johnson - who has fifteen years experience managing bars - said he plans on having big name bands perform on Friday nights with additional live acts performing on Thursdays and Saturdays. Wednesday will be disco night with patrons encouraged to dress in their retro finest.

"I want to keep this exciting for everybody," Johnson said.

Extensive renovations to the building, which formerly housed a skating rink and a bar with a similar sounding name, have left it unrecognizable from its former self.

"The only thing that is old is the disco ball (a silver behemoth which still hangs from the ceiling in the concert hall)," Johnson said. "Everything else is new."

T.J.'s features a full-service sports bar and grill at the front of the building serving hamburgers, wings, salads, quesadillas, etc. all day, seven days a week. With four 50 inch and three 42 inch plasma televisions soon to be installed around the bar, patrons are sure to see something they like on at least one screen. During big game nights Johnson said he plans on setting up a large projection screen in the concert hall.

Located in the back of the building, T.J.'s cavernous concert hall features a large stage area, a dance floor, a DJ's booth and a wraparound inside deck which affords patrons an excellent view of the dancers and performers on the ground floor below.

With four bars (two 40-foot bars downstairs, one 25-foot bar upstairs and a large circular bar in the restaurant area) patrons won't have to wait long to get a drink at T.J.'s. Though attendees at the chamber bash had to bring their own beverages, Johnson said he expects to have his liquor license by Friday.

On nights when the concert hall is open (Wednesday through Saturday) Johnson said he will have two uniformed police officers outside the building and hostesses inside the building working to ensure that everyone is having a good time.

With room for more than 700 people in the concert hall, T.J.'s Rockin Country is something new to Newton County which has never had a bar of this size before. However, Johnson said he thinks the county is ready to embrace an establishment such as his.

"I want to change it for the good and not for the bad," said Johnson of the county's nightlife. "There's plenty of room here for everybody."