City agrees to bar’s move to Old Main Street

BRADENTON -- There will be a sixth bar on Old Main Street after City Council narrowly approved a special-use permit and liquor license for the owner of The Distillery on Wednesday.

Council voted 3-2 in favor of the permit and license in separate measures.

The moves allow Paul Kotlarczyk to relocate his bar to 450 Old Main St., across from the county administration building.

Mayor Wayne Poston cast the tie-breaking vote because a fifth council member, Ward 3 Councilman Patrick Roff, was absent from Wednesday’s meeting.

Poston only votes to break ties. His last vote came June 27, 2007, on an ordinance to require drivers to park within the white lines of parking spaces, according to city records.

Kotlarczyk plans to move The Distillery from 108 44th Ave. E. to the Old Main Street location, which formerly housed a photo studio. The new bar will serve food such as pizza and sandwiches late at night, an offering currently lacking downtown. There will be no live entertainment, at least at first, Kotlarczyk said.

Ward 5 Councilman Harold Byrd Jr. and Ward 2 Councilwoman Marianne Barnebey opposed both the permit and liquor license.

Barnebey said The Distillery is currently in a large building and will have a difficult time fitting into the Old Main Street location.

“You cannot put 10 pounds of potatoes in a five-pound sack,” Barnebey said.

Byrd questioned the need for a sixth bar downtown north of Manatee Avenue on Old Main Street.

“How many is too many?” Byrd asked. “Enough is enough.”

On Dec. 15, council voted 4-1 to approve a new Irish-themed bar at 302 Old Main St. for Thomas Stynes, the owner of Rasher Tierney’s pub. Barnebey voted against that permit, questioning the direction of downtown development.

But Ward 4 Councilman Bemis Smith said the addition of another business is good for downtown.

“I go by the firm belief in the market-driven economy,” Smith said. “If it is an imbalance in the system, it will come back into balance.”

The Distillery will join the new Irish-themed bar, O’Bricks Irish Pub & Martini Lounge, Cork’s Cigar Bar, Lost Kangaroo Pub and Old Main Pub. Two restaurants within the two-block area, Fav’s Italian Cucina and Fisherman Joe’s, also serve alcohol.