Why not Buddy's?

June 17, 1993

If anyone has a good reason why Buddy's Crabs and Ribs in downtown Annapolis shouldn't be able to stay open and serve drinks until 2 a.m., he has yet to give it.

Buddy's is only asking for permission to do what at least eight other restaurants in the historic downtown already are doing. We have to ask the same question posed on little signs Buddy's supporters wore at a recent City Council hearing: "Why not Buddy's?"

Ward 1 residents who oppose the extended liquor license offer the same reasons they used when they fought plans last year for a shop called The Yogurt Tree and the expansion of the Middleton Tavern kitchen. They argue that the added noise and traffic will keep them up all night and that the historic district is becoming a cross between Georgetown and the Ocean City boardwalk.

The noise argument would make more sense if downtown Annapolis rolled up the sidewalks at 10. It doesn't. Those eight restaurants are doing a booming business. (Some of those, incidentally, are closer to residences than is Buddy's.)

Is Buddy's really going to make downtown noticeably more raucous if it stays open late, too? We don't think so. Owner Harvey Blonder has had noise and traffic studies done that show Buddy's would have no impact. Besides, Buddy's clientele seems no more rowdy than its competitors.

Despite this, council members appear set to reject the request. Perhaps they are leery because Mr. Blonder has been uncooperative about taking down neon lights in some of his other downtown businesses.

That, however, isn't justification to deny this extension. If Mr. Blonder reneges on his reasonable proposal and Buddy's becomes a problem, there are existing noise regulations to stop him. But to reject this request on the mere assumption that that scenario might happen is unfair and discriminatory.

As for the future of the historic district, that is a serious issue, but it has little to do with Buddy's. No one wants to lose the city's charm to cheesy T-shirt shops and tacky bars. But the restaurants that now stay open until 2 a.m. don't fall into this category; there's no reason to believe Buddy's would either.

It's a well-kept establishment that simply wants the right to compete with the other restaurants around the City Dock. The council should grant its request.

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