ALBANY -- The Albany Taproom, a specialty beer bar that opened six months ago over the objections of some neighbors, has been approved for extended hours and a live music permit.
Little opposition was registered to the request approved Oct. 9 by the Planning and Zoning Commission as, according to city officials, the venue has not had any complaints to police since opening.
The new conditional use permit allows the establishment to stay open until 1 a.m. and host music seven days a week. However, owner Saed Tolui told the commission that the business would only be open until midnight on weekends and until 11 p.m. on weekdays and would only host music on Wednesdays and Saturdays.
The commission approved the permit with additional conditions that the business not dispose of trash after 11 p.m. and that the front doors be kept closed when live music is being played. It also instructed staff to report back in one year.
"It's wonderful," Tolui said after the vote. "We're going back to the Taproom to celebrate. I think the community really likes us and that's why there's no complaints."
Only one neighbor came to the commission meeting to protest the change. That was in marked contrast to the controversy that led up to the opening of the venue. Then, many neighbors protested that the business would add to the number of bars already operating in the neighborhood.
The owners countered that their business was going to be different from bars such as the nearby Hotsy Totsy and Club Mallard.
Apparently, that has borne out. The Taproom, along with the adjacent Grazzy Burger, opened on March 8 and according to a staff report authored by city planner Anne Hersch, there have been no calls for police service in the six months since.
Hersch reiterated that finding to the commission.
Commissioners expressed a preference for having Grazzy Burger and the Taproom keep concurrent hours, but Tolui said he did not think it was economically feasible to keep the restaurant open as late as the beer bar.
Commissioners also discussed whether to approve extending the hours until 11:30 p.m. or midnight. Tolui noted that the nature of a CUP means it can be revoked at any time.
"Why not give us 1 a.m.," he said. "If there was any violations, if there were any complaints, you could revoke it."
Tolui also told the commission that he was requesting a closing time of 1 a.m. and seven days a week of music in the permit so that he wouldn't have to keep spending money on filing fees every time he came back to the commission to extend the hours or add nights of music.
A 14-day appeal period runs to the end of business on Oct. 23. As of Oct. 15, nobody had filed an appeal.