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Approval of new bar in downtown Bradenton irks neighbors

BRADENTON -- Bradenton City Council approved a special permit for a new lounge on Old Main Street despite concerns from residents and a local church administrator that downtown is being overrun by drinking establishments.

Council voted 4-1 to approve the permit for Thomas Stynes, the owner of Irish pub Rasher Tierney’s, to open a lounge at 302 Old Main St.

Ward 2 Councilwoman Marianne Barnebey opposed the special permit. She said she is concerned about the direction of downtown development.

The new lounge will be the sixth bar or restaurant that serves alcohol on Old Main Street, also known as 12th Street West, within two blocks of Manatee Avenue West.

Residents of downtown retirement community Westminster Courtyard and First Baptist Church of Bradenton Administrator Russ Kitching objected to the permit. They said bargoers present a threat to the safety of downtown after dark and that broken beer bottles and trash litter the streets.

But the majority of the city council and Downtown Development Authority Director Mike Kennedy backed the plan, saying new businesses are vital to downtown, especially during the current economic downturn.