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Of BeirGardens, BeerGardens, and All Assortment of Drinking Outside

March 10, 2010

Is it time yet?
How bout now??
NOW?!
Please please please for the love of all that is holy and good, let it be time now?

Its sunny, and beautiful, and springy in the air (and yes, in my step). I’m ready to start drinking outside again. And lo-and-behold, the city is right there with me.

March 2 was the second zoning board meeting in Fishtown for Stephen Starr’s already-legendary bier garden. The whole neighborhood has been generally excited about the idea since rumors started sloshing around a few months back. At this point the big players are just looking to seal the deal. So what should you know in these preparatory drink outside days?

The Cast

Roland, nice-guy developer. He owns several properties in the immediate area, particularly along the Frankford corridor. He has a long term development plan and is requesting the assistance and support from the immediate neighbors to realize his vision.

Stephen Starr, restaurateur/mogul. You might remember him from every place worth eating in the late 90s, Buddakan, Tangerine, Jone’s, Continental. He was the Philadelphia restaurant scene before there was a Philadelphia restaurant scene, and for that we are ever thankful. Which goes a long way to forgive him for recent transgressions.

The neighbors. The Greek Chorus, if you will, made up of long time residents, new hipsters, and other great salt-of-the-earth types. They’ll sing and judge and comment, but at the end of the day, they’re going to stand back and give Philadelphia the Beir Garden it’s been hungry for.

The Scene

The property under consideration is on Frankford Ave, beginning next to the Acropolos diner (Frankford and Girard) and spans approximately 100 yards towards Frankford and Thompson.

The concept under consideration is a Bier Garten with ~250 seats. And of course the property has a courtyard type space and plans include using this outdoor space. As with all other Stephen Starr restaurants, this property would have an open kitchen until 11:00 PM and remain open for drinking/socializing until 2:00 AM.

The Plot (of Concerns)

Parking. The plan includes the use of valet parking and Roland stated he has 70 spaces available with more on the way. Parking will be reasonably priced to be on par with what a patron would pay at a meter. Even with valet service there will undoubtedly be pressure on the immediate area for parking. Efforts are already underway for the 1200 block of Crease Street to move towards permit parking and other immediate streets (Thompson, Day, Leopard) are urged to consider this to help offset this problem. Shackamaxon already has it.

Noise. Houses on Leopard Street will likely bear the brunt of the noise from this project. Roland insisted that he has taken this into consideration and will do everything possible to mitigate noise. Leopard Street residents are strongly urged to attend the zoning hearing to have their concerns heard.

Traffic. The concern about valet parking traffic was raised. Parking attendants will need to move cars around rapidly and it is a concern that their route will take them through the immediate blocks.

Still, the excitement for the project is OVERWHELMING (despite limited outcry), and basically city wide. Drinking outside it is 🙂

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