Tap house and wine bar – with a basement arcade – seeks approval at 1100 E. and Kensington

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We’re a city abundantly laden with churches and notably light on neighborhood bars.

Along the 1100 East commercial/residential strip between Sugar House and 9th & 9th, there aren’t many spots where a bar can locate and maintain the 600-foot buffer from schools, churches, and parks required in state code. The same could be said for much of the city’s smaller commercial zones.

Site outlined in orange, top center.

But at 11th East and Kensington (1530 South), local developer Cody Chamberlain is presenting plans for an adaptive reuse of the former Shingleton’s Sewing Center on a .06 acre parcel to be called Bloq 11 Tap Bar.

The proposal seeks a conditional use permit, and is currently in the open house phase of the process. The city planner assigned to the application is presenting at ELPCO, the East Liberty Park Community Organization’s meeting on Thursday night.

Project outlines

At 1533 South 1100 East, developers plan a small, two-level establishment that will seat a maximum of 90 people. It intends to be open noon-midnight, seven days a week.

Floor plans show a front tap room and a wine bar at the rear, with stairs down to a small 300 SF arcade. There is no outdoor seating.

The building is strategically located along Kensington, one of the city’s first slow streets, called “neighborhood byways,” designed to calm traffic to better accommodate people outside cars.

The developer’s project narrative states “this location was favored due to its location in front of a city bus stop as well as a bike lane on 1100 E, in hopes that its customers will utilize public transportation.” There is no off-street parking on the site.

An “alcohol related establishment” is allowed in the RB Residential Business zone as a conditional use. City code (21A.36.300.D.1) requires the applicant to produce a safety and operations plan “approved by the Police Department and the building official.”

In addition to imposing rules on smoking areas, no outdoor music amplification, landscape buffering from adjacent properties, the Planning Commission is instructed to “require a review and approval of the site and floor plan…by the Salt Lake City Police Department. Such review may require design features for the purpose of reducing alcohol related problems such as consumption by minors, driving under the influence, and public drunkenness.”

Reactions from the neighborhood

While public comment is yet to be officially compiled, the Chair of local community council, Kristina Robb, gave us her impressions of the public comment already sent to the ELPCO Board.

“We’ve received many intense, heavy emails from people who live right there. It seems like people are either hot or cold on issues like this, never in the middle.”

Yet, she reports, “By far the majority of the people we’ve heard from so far are *very* excited to have a bar in the neighborhood.”

Staff and students from Westminster University, located several blocks away, have come out in strong support, Robb says.

In addition, neighbors to the west of 1100 East have been enthusiastic, while the dissenting voices have come from neighbors to the east, who may be against any drinking establishment. “They seem to kind of be throwing darts,” mentioning smoking, traffic, air quality concerns, and threats to children, she noted.

“This a simple change of use request, and there’s no reason for the Board to be against it unless somebody can show us a real problem.”

Robb mentioned that the ELPCO Board has met the project’s owner and done a walk-through of the building.

Principal Planner Rylee Hall told us the project is tentatively scheduled to be heard by the Planning Commission on November 29.

Comments are being accepted by the city until November 5, at rylee.hall@slcgov.com, 801-535-6308.

Email Luke Garrott

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Posted by Luke Garrott

Luke Garrott, PhD, has published in The Salt Lake Tribune and the Deseret News, and written features for the Salt Lake City Weekly City Guide and The West View. A former two-term councilman in Salt Lake City's District 4, he lives in Downtown Salt Lake City and grew up in the Chicago area.