Taverns on the Waterfront? Local leaders plan to vote 'yes'


by Michelle Arnold


Posted on April 24, 2014 at 5:49 PM

LOUISVILLE, Ky. -- Are taverns in the near future around Waterfront Park?

Taverns are bars that serve food. Currently only restaurants like Joe's Crab Shack and Tumbleweed are allowed at the park because the majority of their sales are from food. But some in the Louisville Metro Council think that needs to change.

“All of us have been to other cities that have all these kinds of venues adjacent to the water,” said Metro Councilman Glen Stuckel.

One concern about allowing taverns on the waterfront is that it would take away business from Fourth Street Live!. Proponents of the change disagree.

“I think it's a different clientele; I think that the folks that we are likely to have in this area would be those who want to have a nice view and have a drink or two,” said Waterfront Development Corporation Deputy Director Mike Kimmel.

“Fourth Street Live! gets a lot of our convention people because it gets talked up a lot, which we love because we want to see it be successful. I just see this as an added thing on the waterfront that will attract more people,” said Stuckel.

The Waterfront Development Corporation's top priority is maintaining the vision they have for the park.

They don't want anything that would distract from the beauty of the area, so they'll be very careful about what comes down there,” said Stuckel. 

“Some of the property we own, so we would have exclusive rights there. Properties that we don't own, we still have design review,” said Kimmel.

Those in favor of allowing taverns say the now closed restaurant Relish on River Road was just one of the reasons why this issue recently came up.

“A day before they closed the doors I had a wonderful drink there,” said Kimmel.

Relish finally obtained a liquor license shortly before it closed, but if this ordinance had been passed sooner, it's likely they would have qualified as a tavern.

“That happened, then they began to look at it and say how can we keep these things from happening,” said Stuckel.

The vote could happen as early as Thursday night.