Bill seeks vintage style for Annapolis

Alderman submits measure to permit wine bars in city

December 20, 2006|By Nia-Malika Henderson | Nia-Malika Henderson,sun reporter

Annapolis' sophistication quotient could get a boost this summer if legislation proposed by a city alderman to permit wine bars is passed early next year.

Alderman Richard Israel, who represents the historic district, has introduced a bill that would establish a new liquor license category for the sale of wine in a coffee shop-style environment.

Emmy Harbo, who is seeking to open the Purple Tooth with her partner, Maureen Fallon, said yesterday that such a venue would improve the city's image.

"I think it will just add to and give an alternative to the restaurants and exceptional businesses that are already in the West Street corridor," Harbo said.

"We've seen wine bars coming through California and in Europe, and we've found it is a great place to go and have conversation and learn about wine. We want to bring that to Annapolis."

The Purple Tooth could be open by June at 114 West St., next to the Loews Hotel. It would offer wine classes, tastings and wine sales at retail prices. It would be located a block from 49 West Street, a coffeehouse that also serves wine.

Beer, cheeses and pastries would also be available, but the primary focus would be the wine.

The wine bar would close at 10 p.m. during week and at midnight Friday through Sunday.

The proposed fee for a license is $1,490.

Brian Miller, of the Ward One Residents Association, spoke Monday night in support of the legislation and said a wine bar would be a welcome addition to the area.

Jon Arason, the city's director of planning and zoning, said in a letter to the planning commission that a wine bar keeps with the city's plans to revitalize the West Street corridor by encouraging a mix of retail and mixed-use facilities.

Mayor Ellen O. Moyer, who co-sponsored the bill, said the wine bar would bring diversity.

"It's a different kind of venue that a lot of people of my age group would enjoy," she said. "This would be the first of its kind."

The rules and city government committee will review the legislation at 6 p.m. Dec. 28 and the council is expected to vote on the legislation next year.

In other business, the council is considering a bill that would require sellers of property located within the historic district to give buyers a pamphlet that explains the significance of the historic district and the National Register of Historic Places.

Property owners in the district must file with the Historic Preservation Commission before making any visible changes to their property.

The bill, sponsored by Israel, is intended to increase compliance with that rule.

A vote is expected early next year after action by the rules and city government committee.

nia.henderson@baltsun.com

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