By JOANNE L. PAPAIANNI
An Asbury Park spirits distillery was given permission at this week’s Planning Board meeting to provide outdoor seating for customers.
Attorney Andrew Karas representing Asbury Park Distilling Co. on Lake Avenue said plans call for three tables with four seats each to be placed on the existing patio at the site. The tables will match those inside the bar.
Karas is also a co-owner of the establishment.
As a barrier to the sidewalk, planters will be installed that will be made of corrugated steel, painted black with a matt finish.
“It will keep with the industrial look on the entire block,” Karas said citing the Festhalle and Biergarten located nearby.
Strict laws govern distilleries in the state of New Jersey and Karas said the business is not allowed to serve food, but patrons may bring their own. Those holding parties or private events at the site may also bring food in.
Another law that must be followed is that all patrons have to take a tour of the distillery before they can order a drink.
“They have to take the tour each time they come in,” Karas said but also explained that there are state laws being introduced that will change this requirement.
The distillery was approved three years ago and opened on Memorial Day.
They produced vodka and gin at first, but have now expanded to making bourbon.
The tables will not encroach into the public right of way, however, Board Secretary Barbara Van Wagner said she and possibly Fire Official Garret Giberson will visit the site when the tables are put out. No umbrellas will be used.
Board Planner Michael Sullivan testified that the outdoor seating is a permitted use of the property even though the distillery is not a regular restaurant.
Board Member Jim Henry asked the board to consider whether or not they were “overindulging” the current problem of overconsumption of alcohol in the city.
“Do we want to expand from the inside of the facility to the outside?” he asked.
Karas said all the craft cocktails will be made inside the building and said they made the decision to close at midnight instead of 2 a.m. intentionally.
“We don’t want the 2 a.m. crowd, we want people interested in high quality craft spirits,” he said.
- Featured image from apdistilling.com.