SNOW HILL- County officials approved a beer wine and liquor license request from a new 33rd Street restaurant this week, but only after proprietors agreed to take measures to ensure public safety in the high-traffic area.
On Wednesday, the Worcester County Board of License Commissioners (BLC) granted alcohol privileges to Rare and Rye, the restaurant to be located inside the La Quinta hotel at 33rd Street. The license request was granted with the requirement that a five-foot tall Plexiglas barrier be installed along the restaurant’s north deck and that no music was played there. Board members said it would prevent issues between patrons and traffic in the busy area.
“We try to protect Coastal Highway and the public,” said William Esham, chairman of the board.
Rare and Rye, represented by attorney Joe Moore, approached the board with a request to serve beer, wine and liquor at the new restaurant until 2 a.m. From the start, however, board members expressed concern regarding the fact that patrons on the restaurant’s second-floor deck would be served alcohol that late.
“That’s a very busy corner,” BLC member Marty Pusey said. “I realize you’re up one level but it’s a noisy area.”
Restaurant management said that they had planned to have speakers outside to play music for “ambience” but that it would not be loud enough to bother any nearby businesses. They pointed out that the business was located inside the La Quinta and that they certainly didn’t want to bother its guests.
“But if it’s background music you’re going to have to play it pretty loud because of the traffic noise,” Esham said.
Rare and Rye’s proprietors said they were hoping to receive permission to serve alcohol at the restaurant until 2 a.m. When asked, however, they confirmed that the restaurant was only serving its full dinner menu until 10 p.m.
BLC member Charles Nichols said he had major concerns with idea that the restaurant, which has a deck, would be serving alcohol outside until 2 a.m.
“I worry about public safety,” he said, pointing out that people on the deck could interact with traffic in the area.
“This is one of the busiest intersections in Ocean City,” he said. “Everybody knows that.”
Nichols made a motion to grant Rare and Rye a license, but stipulated that no music could be played on the north deck and that alcohol could not be served out there past 8 p.m. When management expressed concern about not being able to serve drinks with dinner with that stipulation, the concept of Plexiglas came up. When Moore said his clients were willing to install a five-foot Plexiglas barrier on the north deck, Nichols made a motion to grant the license request as long as no music was played on the north deck and it was outfitted with a five-foot sheet of Plexiglas and that no alcohol was served out there past 10 p.m.
On Wednesday the board also granted a beer, wine and liquor license for Ocean 13. The restaurant, located inside the Beach Plaza Hotel, will be operated by a trio of individuals with years of experience in the Ocean City bar and restaurant scene. Steve Bowers, Jamie Stewart and Jeremy Brink said they were partnering to run the restaurant.
“At least one of them is going to be there when the bar is open,” attorney Chris Woodley said.
He said the applicants were seeking permission to have live entertainment five days a week from 3-10 p.m. Board members questioned the noise level associated that would be associated with the entertainment. Brink said it would be easy listening music and that it would be pointed inside, toward the bar rather than outside.
“They can’t be so loud as to bother patrons in the hotel,” Woodley added.
Pusey asked whether there were any other precautions the proprietors could take to limit noise. Brink said he could put a sheet of Plexiglas behind the performers.
Pusey said that would make her more comfortable allowing live music there.
“It’d be helpful,” she said. “It’d be consistent with the approach this board has been taking.”
The board agreed to grant the license request and to allow three-piece live entertainment five days a week from 8-11 p.m.
In addition to the two licenses approved for new businesses, the BLC approved a beer and wine license for the existing Green House Café this week. The proprietor of the 15th Street restaurant said the license would enable the neighboring art studio to host a paint night in his restaurant. He also asked for permission to have one-piece live entertainment once a week so that on those paint nights a musician could play acoustic guitar.
The BLC unanimously approved the request.