An interesting new issue has presented itself in Downtown Lawrence.

Currently, restaurants that have at least 70% of their sales in food are allowed to apply to the City Commission for a sidewalk dining permit.  Lots of downtown restaurants have done this and we think it’s great.  They have little gated-off areas outside their front door where patrons can sit outside while they enjoy their food and the atmosphere of downtown. Alcohol is permitted in these areas.

When the smoking ban arrived several years ago, many of the downtown bars were hoping for an extension of the sidewalk dining permit- one that would allow places like The Sandbar to have a gated outdoor area, especially since we don’t have any way to build an outdoor deck or patio. 

The Bourgeois Pig, a coffee shop and bar on 9th street, has had a sidewalk dining permit for years  {Apparently coffee is considered food to the City Commission.}  They also allow alcohol in this area. However, the Pig doesn’t meet the 70% food sales requirement. They are appealing to the City Commission for a license to keep operating as they have for the past nine years, with alcohol on the sidewalk. And, it appears that the City is inclined to grant this license.

Our very own manager Dave was interviewed for the article in the LJW. And even better, there’s a video clip of him answering three questions from a reporter! You can view the article here, and on the left hand side of the page you’ll find the video clip. 

All of us at The Sandbar think this is great and we’re rooting for the Pig to get their license.  We’re hoping that this might pave the way for the rest of us to do something similar.  Or at the very least, maybe we would at least get permission to put ashtrays on the sidewalk for the smokers to use, because right now we can’t even do that.