Wine-Bar Amendments Mulled in Clayton

The Clayton Plan Commission and Architectural Review Board proposed amending city zoning regulations to allow wine bars this month.

Would you be surprised to know there are no wine bars in Clayton? Businesses that have the words "wine bar" in their title—think or —are actually considered restaurants under the city's zoning regulations. Taverns and bars are not permitted, either.

But wine bars could soon be allowed. At a public hearing Aug. 15, the city's Plan Commission and Architectural Review Board considered the issue. It recommended that regulations be amended by the Clayton Board of Aldermen to include a definition of a wine bar and to establish criteria permitting wine bars in certain commercial areas of Clayton.

Under the proposed changes, a wine bar would be defined as "a type of restaurant with a floor area not exceeding 1,500 gross square feet which serves food and only beer, wine and nonalcoholic beverages and where the sale of food consumed on the premises constitutes at least twenty percent of gross sales of the establishment."

The wine bars would feature smaller menus and only serve wine, beer and non-alcoholic beverages. They would be prohibited from serving hard liquor.

Conversely, taverns or bars are defined as "establishments other than a wine bar as defined in this section used primarily for the serving of alcoholic beverages by the drink to the general public and where food does not constitute at least fifty-one percent of gross sales of the establishment." Both would remain prohibited in all zoning districts.

The wine bar amendment is intended to offer an amenity for residents and visitors in Clayton, as well as to fill smaller vacant retail spaces.

"New businesses built under the proposed amendments would  complement existing ones such as Remy's and Sasha's," said Gary Carter, Clayton's economic developer. The wine bars also would create a niche market for the city. And existing restaurants and wine businesses would not have to make any adjustments as a result of the new amendment because they are considered restaurants.

"The amendment creates a different land-use classification which is tailored to the needs of that business," said Susan Istenes, the city's director of planning and development services. Three wine bars would be permitted in the city under the amendments.

No one had applied for a wine bar license at the time this report was filed.

Aldermen likely will consider the proposed amendments at their next meeting.


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