Based on the comments we got back in June, there were a lot of people who were looking forward to the possibility of a new restaurant at 25th & Union. Neighborhood residents Erin & Rebecca, owners of The Bottleneck Lounge on Madison, had proposed opening a spot for food and drinks inside the new live/work building at that intersection.
In an email sent to friends and supporters earlier today, Erin announced that the city’s Deparment of Planning has denied them a building permit for the project:
Although the building is zoned for a restaurant which serves cocktails, the Land Use staff rejected the notion that we would serve liquor in the space and denied us the right to move forward. It was a terrible blow and we were prepared to fight City Hall (so to speak) but it would appear that the developer, Randy Spaan, sold the property the next day. We’re out of luck.
That being said we both feel very lucky to have garnered so much neighborhood support over the course of the past month. All those letters to the Liquor Control Board had an impact! Although we had not yet been granted a license (the process usually take about 90 days) things were moving smoothly and we had every confidence that the outcome would be favorable.
I’ve got to wonder what the city is thinking here. There’s non-stop problems from bad-neighbor convenience stores that sell cheap booze to whoever walks in the door, but suddenly a nice restaurant with liquor on the menu (gasp!) is suddenly a huge neighborhood threat? WTF?
We’re taking on a lot of density in the neighborhood – something I generally support. But one of the keys to successful density is to have dining and entertainment options within a reasonable walking distance. It’s little restaurants like the one that was proposed here that help make city life fun and appealing. But evidently that’s not something they’ve caught onto down at city hall.
Those with an opinion on the city’s permitting policy should direct their comments to the Director of the planning department: [email protected]
(I’ve also got a call into DPD to get the details behind their decision. I’ll update this if/when I hear back from them)