NARRAGANSETT - Liquor licenses and entertainment restrictions were the topic of discussion at Monday night’s town council meeting with three area eateries requesting liquor license approval. Cool Beans, the Bike Stop Café and The Break, to be opened at 1200 Ocean Road, were on the agenda in anticipation of public hearing. All hearings were scheduled for the council’s April 15 meeting of the council.
Also on the agenda for eateries was the modification and removal of entertainment restrictions for two area restaurants - Buster Krab’s in Galilee and Trio at the Pier.
A public hearing was opened in order to receive testimony from Jerry Hoff, owner of Buster Krab’s located at 265 Great Island Road. Hoff, who has been operating the restaurant for three years at its current location, asked the council to allow the addition of entertainment at the restaurant, removing the present restriction. Hoff’s request included the addition of live entertainment for a few nights a week at the restaurant’s Galilee location.
“I am excited about being there,” he said. “I think we could have a great place down there. I look at it as a diamond in the rough. This would be added revenue for us.”
Hoff testified that his business operates during the summer months, catering to families, local business and tourists.
Council President James Callaghan asked Hoff to provide specific information as to the hours the entertainment would be available, the type of music and where it would be located.
“We’re looking for something light acoustic and with low amplification - like steel drums,” Hoff said. “We’re not looking for carte blanche. A common sense approach for us is always our mission statement. We know our clients.”
Callaghan asked Mark McSally, town solicitor, for guidance as to possible abatement issues due to the request for both indoor and outdoor entertainment approval. McSally suggested restrictions based on play time limitations and subsequent review in November when the business’ liquor license is up for renewal.
Councilor Susan Cicilline-Buananno, who was supportive of entertainment at the establishment, asked for a firm time limitation before a vote was taken. “I’d like to have it firmed up,” she said. “Is it 10 p.m. or 11 p.m.?”
Several members of the public, including former councilwoman, Ann Marie Silveira, and Deborah Kelso, executive director of the Narragansett Chamber of Commerce, spoke in favor of entertainment at the establishment.
“The chamber of commerce is also in favor of the application,” said Kelso. “Anything that would enhance the season and a level the playing field, we are definitely in favor of.”
Motion was made to allow the restaurant to go forward with approval of light acoustic music with low amplification. Entertainment was restricted to 10 p.m. on Sunday through Thursday and 11 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday. Restrictions also included a review for any problems in November. The motion was approved in a five to zero vote.
Also requesting a modification of its entertainment restriction was Trio, located at 15 Kingstown Road. The application was submitted and presented by Attorney Margaret Hogan and Manager Toni Owens. The applicants requested that the council lift both the outside and inside entertainment restrictions. The restaurant is currently allowed inside entertainment only on Thursday nights.
Owens gave testimony as to the nature of the entertainment requested, similar in nature to that posed by Buster Krab’s.
“We have parties in the back room, weddings and would like to allow our patrons to bring in music for the parties,” said Owens. According to Owens, the restaurant had recently lost business due to the inability of patrons to provide music for small wedding parties.
Owens further testified that the restaurant is interested in providing easy listening music with low acoustic background inside and out. Outside music would take place under the cover of the patio.
Testimony was heard from several residents who had concerns about noise and congestion if live entertainment was allowed at the location.
Wayne Damato, who lives across the street, asked the council to deny the application.
“I was unaware that I had a wedding facility going on next to me,” he said. “We’re going to have that noise carry across the street.”
Damato expressed concern that patrons of the small parties, limited to approximately 40 people, would travel to the restaurant’s bar after attending a function.
“This will have a profound impact on our property values and we are not in favor of it at all,” he said.
Al Alba spoke in favor of the application, noting the benefit to the local economy.
“I sympathize with these people, but on the other hand we can’t discourage tourism. And if Trio is going to promote it, I’m all for it.”
Kelso also spoke in favor of the application. giving an example.
“They are in the backroom of Trio having a retirement party. They’d like a piano player. They can have one on Thursday night, but not on Friday night,” she said.
Hogan testified that her client was amenable to the November review previously granted to Buster Krab’s and the fact that SOHO, also located in the Pier had been granted a similar allowance.
The council approved a motion to allow entertainment subject to low amplification and time restrictions in a four to one vote with Councilor Matthew Mannix opposed.