The Liquor Licensing Board attended a full house on Monday, with 28 applications appearing before the annual general meeting.
Requests included a piano bar in Savannah, a mobile prosecco van, and services catering to cruise tourists.
The issue of displaying alcohol outside of non-sales hours arose during several applications.
Ruth McLaughlin applied to allow liquor sales at her store, One Stop Mini Mart in West Bay. She was questioned about how alcohol would be kept out of the public eye during hours when liquor sales are not permitted.
A number of possibilities were proposed, such as keeping a separate area for alcohol that could be cordoned off, storing liquor in a cabinet that could be locked, or putting a cover over the liquor display.
The board acknowledged that previously licensed establishments do not follow the same standards and that the board is working towards standardising norms.
“We are trying to educate applicants on this because eventually that’s the direction we will be taking,” said board chairman Noel Williams.
Savannah piano bar
Tropical Trader Co., representing the new Cimboco and Chicken! Chicken! location in Savannah, is seeking permission to open a piano bar that would be located on the upper level of the joint restaurant location.
The open-concept building, next to Countryside Shopping Village, is expected to open in mid-October.
Tropical Trader Co. is seeking to host one to two evenings a week with piano music and alcohol sales until 11pm or midnight.
A mobile prosecco van concept from the United Kingdom could be coming to Cayman.
Bubble Bros would cater to events such as weddings and other gatherings. During events, the van would remain stationary, in the same way as mobile food trucks.
The three-wheeled van that would house the prosecco bar has not yet been imported to Cayman. The board questioned if such vehicles can be licensed in Cayman and said that issue would need to be addressed.
The van would not be permitted to set up shop at will, but would be granted approval for individual events following police and fire inspections.
Board member Lyn Bodden called the concept professional and cute.
Several applications were submitted by Blackbeard’s Trading Company.
The business is seeking a provisional tasting licence for a new location in Camana Bay next to the planned Foster’s.
That location is slated to open in November and is not expected to affect the Blackbeard’s location at the Strand.
The company is also seeking to open a bar, described as similar to a beer garden, on Harbour Drive across from the port. The bar, expected to open in December, would cater to cruise tourists and operate around the cruise ship schedule.
Obar noise complaints
Representatives from the Grape Tree Villas strata and BCQS Property Management asked the board to suspend Obar Night Club’s music and dancing licence, alleging ongoing and unresolved noise complaints.
The board declined the request, instead seeking to find an amicable solution to the situation.
Grape Tree property owner and resident Fred Rutty said early morning music emanating from Obar was “extremely offensive” and detrimental to the health of surrounding residents.
On Fridays and Wednesdays, Rutty said Obar’s music begins around 11:30pm and continues until 4am. The vibrations of low-frequency bass have disrupted his sleep schedule since the summer of 2018, Rutty said.
Obar manager Jason Cronk contradicted Rutty’s claims over the operating hours. He said the bar currently opens only on Saturdays from 9pm to midnight, adding that Friday events have not occurred for five weeks and that the bar has not opened on Wednesdays since February.
Rutty said the noise issues had been toned down, “but it’s loud enough that I’m hearing it in my bedroom even with the hurricane shutters down”, he said.
Rutty also expressed concern that the noise pollution could affect property values.
A Royal Cayman Islands Police officer present at the meeting said there were four nights in one week when police were called to the bar over noise complains. He said officers discovered no music that would disturb residents on those nights.
Cronk said the establishment has invested in $20,000 in sound insulation and has cut down from four bass speakers to two.
“We go out and check if we can hear bass. If we hear it, we go and turn it down,” Cronk said, adding that the venue has a list of prohibited DJs who have violated sound ordnances in the past.
Addressing noise ordnances has forced the bar to close for periods of time, Cronk said. One option the bar explored was switching to low-level house music, but Cronk said it did not attract public interest.
The board said the insulation work and other measures the management had undertaken sounded positive, but suggested they take further steps to guarantee control of sound levels.
Cronk said the bar had been unaware of ongoing complaints from residents until the past week, when he was advised to attend the liquor board meeting.
During follow-up questioning, Rutty said he could not be sure if recent noise issues emanated from Obar or from elsewhere, such as cars in the parking lot.
The board sought to explore a solution that would appease residents while allowing business to continue. Rutty said he would work with Obar and police on resolving future noise issues.