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Archive for Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Bar owners want outside drinking OK’d

City commissioners in November agreed to allow the downtown drinking establishment The Bourgeois Pig, 6 E. Ninth St., to keep its sidewalk dining license, even though the coffee shop/bar doesn't meet the city's requirement that says businesses with sidewalk seating areas make at least 70 percent of their sales from food. Other bar owners at tonight's City Commission meeting will be asking commissioners to allow bars to have the same sort of sidewalk seating areas that restaurants currently enjoy.

City commissioners in November agreed to allow the downtown drinking establishment The Bourgeois Pig, 6 E. Ninth St., to keep its sidewalk dining license, even though the coffee shop/bar doesn't meet the city's requirement that says businesses with sidewalk seating areas make at least 70 percent of their sales from food. Other bar owners at tonight's City Commission meeting will be asking commissioners to allow bars to have the same sort of sidewalk seating areas that restaurants currently enjoy.

January 22, 2008

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: Sidewalk dining plan under debate

Downtown Lawrence bar owners are toasting the idea of expanded sidewalk dining, but not everyone is ready to raise their glass to the idea. Enlarge video

Map of sidewalk dining in downtown Lawrence

Map of sidewalk dining in downtown Lawrence

To downtown bar owners, it sure looks like an open door.

City commissioners in November agreed to allow the downtown drinking establishment The Bourgeois Pig, 6 E. Ninth St., to keep its sidewalk dining license, even though the coffee shop/bar doesn't meet the city's requirement that says businesses with sidewalk seating areas make at least 70 percent of their sales from food.

Now, bar owners are saying what's good for the Pig is good for their pubs.

Downtown bar owners at tonight's City Commission meeting will be asking commissioners to allow bars to have the same sort of sidewalk seating areas that restaurants currently enjoy.

"The people are already out there on the sidewalk smoking their cigarettes," said Jerry Neverve, owner of the Red Lyon Tavern, 944 Mass., who has been lobbying for the sidewalk bar areas since the city enacted an indoor smoking ban more than three years ago. "It would be much better if we could lease the space from the city and control it a little better."

City commissioners, though, haven't exactly taken to the idea like a cool margarita on a warm day. Commissioners have entertained the idea of expanding sidewalk seating areas since 2005. But the recently discovered Bourgeois Pig situation - where city staff members in the 1990s mistakenly gave the Pig a permit even though it did not qualify for one - has put more pressure on the commission to consider the idea again.

Mayor Sue Hack said she might be willing to drop the food sales requirement for sidewalk areas if the city were to add a few new regulatory steps. She likes the idea Madison, Wis. - home to the University of Wisconsin - has adopted that requires all sidewalk licenses to go through a special advisory board that includes members of the hospitality industry and law enforcement.

"I'm very intrigued by what Madison, Wisconsin, does," Hack said. "I think that sounds like it could be a good compromise."

Madison also has a staff member who does periodic checks of the sidewalk drinking areas throughout the year. Hack said she didn't want to add a new city position, but did want to consider ways to ensure that the areas were working the way the city envisioned.

City Commissioner Rob Chestnut said he first wants to hear from Lawrence Police Department leaders on what they believe could happen if the city began allowing bars to have the sidewalk areas. He said having open-air areas that primarily are for drinking rather than dining could create the potential for negative interactions between bar patrons and passers-by.

"I don't know exactly what the right formula is, but I would be looking for something that still has some restrictions," Chestnut said. "First and foremost needs to be the safety issue."

He said that may mean regulations that would force the sidewalk dining areas to close at 11 p.m., would require that patrons be seated at a table, and that glass bottles be banned in the outdoor area.

Neverve said he was confident that bars could operate sidewalk areas that would not create problems. And, he said if a problem were to arise, the city always would have the ability to revoke the business' sidewalk license.

"But I don't think it will be a problem," Neverve said. "We have expectations of behavior here. If they don't meet them, they are no longer welcome, and it would be the same thing on the sidewalk area."

Downtown merchants seemed split on the idea.

Jane Pennington, director of Downtown Lawrence Inc., didn't think the organization's members had a clear consensus, other than they expected any business with a sidewalk area to conduct the operations in a responsible manner.

Bob Schumm, who owns Buffalo Bob's Smokehouse, 719 Mass., and introduced the sidewalk dining concept to the city when he owned Mass. Street Deli, 941 Mass., said there would be some risk in changing the system.

"It has worked well the way it is," Schumm said. "And I guess what I would say is that bar crowds can be different than restaurant crowds."

Commissioners meet at 6:35 p.m. tonight at City Hall, Sixth and Massachusetts streets.

Comments

Sigmund 7 years ago

The smoking ordinance is about to turn the Lawrence's public sidewalks into the largest smoking porch/bar in the Country. Should be a great tourist attraction!

thomgreen 7 years ago

I like the idea personally. I've always thought the outside seating areas were quaint and more personable for some reason. Also, since the city owns the sidewalk (correct?) couldn't this be a possible source for some additional income? Charge them a yearly fee to lease the space. Granted, it won't make the city richer, but every little bit helps. I'd rather them up the coffers this way, rather than look at parking tickets and other sources of punishment as sources of income. Has anyone seen that show Philadelphia Parking Attendants?!?! I'll never complain about paying $2 for a parking ticket again (not that I did before).

akt2 7 years ago

Yet another reason to avoid downtown Lawrence, Ks.

Flap Doodle 7 years ago

snap writes:

marion

,

are

you

still

banned

from

the

Pig

?

frankwiles 7 years ago

beobachter, you obviously haven't been in a downtown bar in a long time. With a few exceptions, you rarely find more than a couple of people in a downtown bar before 9pm. Things don't even get busy until 10-11pm in most places. The college kids go out very late, so you're "safe" from their evil ways until much later in the evening.

FatTony 7 years ago

Sigmond - Ever been California, I don't think there is a blackout of the sun caused by all the smokers outside.

"The smoking ordinance is about to turn the Lawrence's public sidewalks into the largest smoking porch/bar in the Country. Should be a great tourist attraction!"

MCwzMC 7 years ago

Ohh no, college kids, adults, and maybe even their children sitting on a sidewalk patio eating and... Oh no...maybe drinking too. That would be terrible. It would be like Chicago, Paris or London. All those people sitting, staring, eating and drinking. How disgusting. We should lock them in closets instead.

Get a life whiners. It too bad, at one time you probably knew how to have fun too.

monkeyhawk 7 years ago

"But the recently discovered Bourgeois Pig situation - where city staff members in the 1990s mistakenly gave the Pig a permit even though it did not qualify for one ....."

I find it hard to swallow that anything done at city hall is done "mistakenly". Seems that there have been many "exceptions" granted to special folks in Lawrence.

Imagine all the puke visitors will have to sidestep now, along with all the butts carelessly tossed aside, not to mention how much easier it will be for the bums to panhandle the drunks.

What a can of worms those forward thinking amigos left for others to deal with.

There is a simple solution to this - withdraw the "mistaken" permit to the Lib Pig. Problem solved.

BTW, once again, Marion's predictions have come true. Maybe the city should hire him.

akt2 7 years ago

I personally have been going downtown Lawrence for 40 years. My aunts took me to Weaver's for school clothes when I was 5. I've worked there, banked there, shopped there and spent a lot of time there. I don't know why the citizens that utilize downtown should be subjected to outdoor drinking establishments. What nonsense.

Larry Powers 7 years ago

I was born at night, but not last night. Frankly, I think this would be the beginning of something that would not be a great change, but would be detrimental. I am an advocate for change, but not all change is good change. Larry Powers

Eric Neuteboom 7 years ago

Don't throw your shoulder out patting yourself on the back, Marion.

Nobody likes a braggard. Especially a sanctimonious one like yourself.

speedy 7 years ago

new york,paris etc. is not lawrence. its diff. age group more responsible to others.
bad idea unless the hours are restricted outside.

moo 7 years ago

Awesome idea! I so miss the outdoor drinking areas of Berlin. When I came back to the US, it took quite a while to get used to the idea that you couldn't just take a beer out with you when you left and stroll and around sipping it in a nice, civilized manner. What a silly restriction. I never saw out of control kids there (and Berlin is a college town too with 2 major universities), if anything people in these areas were just jovial and friendly to people passing by. If this were to happen, bar owners would be responsible for maintaining the peace in the outdoor areas and for kicking out anyone who got to rowdy.

staff04 7 years ago

See no problems with it, as long as, as the commission has stated, it is done with certain limits. Frankly, I like the one suggested that the patrons must be seated at a table and not just milling around, smoking and drinking.

Think that is perfectly resonable. Seems to work well where I live...last I noticed, property values here were still going through the roof and Lucifer hadn't yet arrived...and they've been allowed here for my entire time here.

commonsense 7 years ago

I loved drinking a pint in front of the Pig. Especially on a slow, mild Sunday or Monday evening. Never once had a problem or saw a problem. Even on the weekends, rarely a problem. If someone messes up, you ban them.

bd 7 years ago

cig butts everywhere, underage drinking, urinating between cars!

BAD IDEA!

Flap Doodle 7 years ago

snap writes:

still having a wonderful internet life.

Paul Geisler 7 years ago

To all of you against this proposal please tell me this. How would this be any different than what is already happening on the porch at Free State Brewing Company? I regularly visit the porch during the warmer months; sometimes by myself, and other times with my wife and children. And I don't recall any of those crowds getting out of control and bothering side-walk shoppers! And Free State beer packs quite a punch compared to those watered down rice-beers served at most of those other bars!

But I'm not surprised by your reactions. After all, Kansas was the first state to adopt prohibition in their state constitution, and essentially the last to repeal it!

From Wikipedia - Prohibition: "Mississippi, which had made alcohol illegal in 1907, was the last state to repeal Prohibition, in 1966. Kansas did not allow sale of liquor "by the drink" (on-premises) until 1987. "

Also from Wikipedia + current state laws for alcohol: "Kansas's alcohol laws are among the strictest in the United States. Kansas prohibited all alcohol from 1881 to 1948, and continued to prohibit on-premises sales of alcohol from 1949 to 1987. Sunday sales only have been allowed since 2005. Today, 29 counties still do not permit the on-premises sale of alcohol. 59 counties require a business to receive at least 30% of revenue from food sales to allow on-premises sale of alcohol. Only 17 counties allow general on-premises sales. Not all communities which allow off-premises sales allow sales on Sunday. Sales are prohibited on Memorial Day, Labor Day, Independence Day, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Easter. The only alcoholic beverage which grocery stores and gas stations may only sell is beer with no more than 3.2% alcohol by weight. Other liquor sales only are allowed at state-licensed retail liquor stores. Kansas has comprehensive open container laws for public places and vehicles, public intoxication laws, and requirements for prospective on-premises or off-premises licensees."

aquakej 7 years ago

Hmm, why has no one mentioned that Henry's also has a sidewalk dining area, and they certainly don't make 75% of their sales from food. And you're right; we can already drink outside at Free State. What is the big deal??

Erin Parmelee 7 years ago

Dollypawpaw (Anonymous) says:

Yes, liberals force Gay sex down our kids throats. Whats the big deal about seeing an adult drinking?

Pun intended??

;)

I sense some latent issues here Dolly--always bringing up the gays, even when the topic has nothing to do with it. Do you need to talk?

BigAl 7 years ago

Dollypawpaw... Let me guess, you are one of those conservatives that somehow feel as if gays threaten you. Not very secure are you? Oh, and please show me one example of a liberal "forcing gay sex down our kids throats"....

Sigmund 7 years ago

Free State is at the end of Mass, not a lot of through traffic and its' outside area does not impinge on the public sidewalks. And FatTony, I lived in Southern California for two years, what is your point?????

There are over 40 liquor licenses on Mass Street downtown, or so I have been told. Do you want all 40 to push their drunks, who need their nicotine fix, out on the public sidewalks? Without the smoking ordinance their intoxicated patrons would remain inside and smoking. Please don't be surprised by the increased police calls and violence in Downtown Lawrence and the increase in the LPD budget.

Going to have to look into those new fangled Taser things the LPD wants.

Left_handed 7 years ago

Heck with it. We should just ban tobacco and alcohol (the drinking kind, that is) outright since they both represent a public health hazard. Then there would be no need for all this back and forth folderol over sidewalk bar licenses and whatnot.

Griffin 7 years ago

Folks! Stop the pointless bickering! Theres bigger problems to be arguing over right now. For example...the Stock Market.

blindrabbit 7 years ago

If this passes, the City should do something to require sidewalk cleanliness at these establishments. From what I've observed downtown, some of the sidewalk dining establishments do a good job of "policing" their areas, others do not. I'm fond of Jefferson's but if look at the sidewalk in front of that place it makes me wonder why I go back. Others leave dining plates, glasses and napkins on tables long after the customer has gone. All seem to suffer from spilled drink and food building-up in their areas, this due in-part to the City's ordance prohibiting washing down sidewalks without collecting the wash water. I wonder how some of these meet Public Health regulations.

I like the idea (for some places) but I suspect this will turn into a "can of worms" here; I, like many of K.U. football fans who attended the O.B. in Miami, visited South Beach; Lawrence should use this as an good example. I'm not sure the tourists that we are trying to attract are going to be interested in coming to Lawrence if what I suspect will happen happens.

Also, not to defend Free State, but their seating area is on their property and not on the City owned sidewalk. Additionally, I'm sure Chuck M. who takes pride in his operations makes sure that area is clean and not controversial; I'm not betting on some of the other potentials though.

kneejerkreaction 7 years ago

Let me see if I'm getting this issues straight.

Gay, drunk, young, student Bolshevics want to invade Lawrence and urinate between vehicles in front of our wide-eyed children.

Am I close?

Wilbur_Nether 7 years ago

monkeyhawk wrote: "Marion's predictions have come true. Maybe the city should hire him."

I tried to convince Marion to throw his hat in the ring after the Commission eighty-sixed Wildgen. He made some obscure reference to President Lyndon B. Johnson, and as far as I know he never sent in his resume.

hilary 7 years ago

hmmm....last time I checked, there were cigarette butts on the street, urinating between cars, and public drunkenness already. Don't understand how this would change that, and I don't think it would worsen. Most bars already have a back porch. I can't imagine they will also build a front one, when there's so little room for expansion.

kneejerkreaction 7 years ago

This will go the way of concealed carry, no smoking indoors and other big issues that turn out to be nothing.

Wilbur_Nether 7 years ago

You're correct, Marion; I misattributed the quote. Johnson said "I shall not seek, and I will not accept, the nomination of my party...."

Mea culpa.

Wilbur_Nether 7 years ago

And with that, we return you to our regularly scheduled postings. Back to the topic at hand: what is the city to do about bars & outdoor seating?

Flap Doodle 7 years ago

snap writes:

here's another quote:

"5 June 2007 at 12:13 a.m. Marion (Marion Lynn) says... Oh yare not only getting ready to help with the sales of my book but to bring down Spamhaus and Spam-Court; both of which have malingned me with out proof but with malice aforethought."

kneejerkreaction 7 years ago

Am I reading two posts back that someone saves someone else's posts from June of last year?

That's just weird.

kneejerkreaction 7 years ago

ahhhh, maybe not "saves" but goes back and finds them from June of last year.

Still weird.

Wilbur_Nether 7 years ago

kneejerkreaction, I suspect snap_pop_no_crackle merely used the LJW discussion board archives to find Marion's quote.

Then again, I was called out earlier today for guessing as to another person's motivation, so....

Wilbur_Nether 7 years ago

You beat me to it, kneejerkreaction.

blindrabbit 7 years ago

Hawk: I agree about the sidewalk cleaning issue, you talk about a "Catch 22". Never mind what happens to this mess when it rains; don't think the City anticipates collecting contaminated rain water. By the way, I am an environmentalist, but not a tight-arsed one.

About 2 years ago (or so) the City conducted a sidewalk cleaning demo; if I'm not mistaken they hired a cleaning contractor for the trial. If I remember correctly, the test worked well, no dirty water released. Following that, it was my understanding the City was either going to hire this service done periodically or purchased the equipment for Staff. Never heard any more about it.

Friends and family in from California and Colorado last summer: proudly conducted a evening walk of our downtown. Within 2 blocks, 900 & 1000 of Mass, two guests independently asked me why the city does not "clean the sidewalks". Paper wastes, cigarette butts, spilled food and years of "stuck gum" left me little response. Can only refer to my earlier blog as to what will happen if Lawrence does not put some stipulations to the sidewalk drinking issue.

Flap Doodle 7 years ago

snap writes:

I'd

saved

that

nugget

as

a

particularly

fine

example

of

Nick's

ranting.

BTW, still having a wonderful internet life.

Kaw Pickinton 7 years ago

We should do all of sinning outside, it makes us easier to judge.

monkeyhawk 7 years ago

Since the sidewalks belong to me and all other tax paying citizens of Lawrence, we are the ones who should decide if we want to share our sidewalks with private businesses and their patrons.

My answer would have to be no if it costs the taxpayers one more cent. We have already paid for their improvements and their fire sprinklers. They all should pay market price per square foot for acquiring that pricey commercial property that belongs to someone else. Wouldn't the taking of our property be considered eminent domain?

workin2hard 7 years ago

The same people on here over and over griping and moaning over downtown the city councel , KU whatever gets under their skin about Lawrence. Why don't you people move to Perry or some other small town that does not have these issues for you to complain about.

ToriFreak13 7 years ago

leased out sidewalks?? so the city would get the m.i.p. no? break out the tazers!

Meatwad 7 years ago

Sidewalk seating is GREAT and would boost our downtown. Many bars and restaurants already have it. Also, there already are people outside, this would just give them a place to sit. It would be wonderful to have some seating outside of the Red Lion. If it gets out of control at some bars, just yank their outdoor seating license.

Charles L Bloss Jr 7 years ago

Oh good, another special advisory board! Just how many advisory boards are there in Lawrence? Thank you, Lynn

Shardwurm 7 years ago

Outside drinking Dec - Feb only!

vinividivici 7 years ago

Here's some vini logic. The Pig, Henrys, Freestate, and Teller's (where I have happily sipped a Bloody Mary on the patio for many a Sunday brunch) do NOT attract a primarily student crowd. They also tend to very tame. I frequent all of them and have rarely seen any issues arise. Any that did were immediately addressed. There are also a few places downtown, like Ingredient and the new Encore I just noticed the other day, that serve liquor amongst other things that most likely could be included with the before stated group.

It would be ideal if we could look at the demographics of specific establishment and make a decision based on the patrons they attract. If a bar is denied the privilege, make them get a petition or the backing of other establishments who have the privilege to have a "trial run" for 3 months. They mess up, their ineligible to reapply for the privilege for 5 years. This could also encourage some bars and restaurants to improve their atmosphere to attract a more responsible crowd.

Granting this privilege and charging rent seems like a great way to bring a little extra cash to the city. This should be about trial and error, seeing what works for our specific city, as opposed to shooting it down from the start.

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