Local bar receives outdoor alcohol consumption permit, with conditions

BRATTLEBORO — The Brattleboro Selectboard has granted the bar Arkham a permit allowing its patrons to imbibe alcohol in a cordoned outdoor area - with conditions.

In a 3-1 vote at their June 4 meeting, the Selectboard agreed to the application after stipulating that the outdoor fenced-in area shall operate only when bar staff are present, and that the board would review the permit after 90 days.

The owners of Arkham, which is located at 16 Harmony Place, appeared before the board twice before receiving the outdoor consumption permit. The board on May 21 instructed the owners, A&B Squared, LLC, to hammer out details for the outdoor drinking area with the police and fire departments.

Co-owners Alan Blackwell and Alyssa Blittersdorf outlined for the board actions taken to reach out to neighbors and address any concerns. They also presented fence designs.

At the meeting prior, Police Chief Eugene Wrinn said he was concerned about noise affecting nearby residences, and that proposed barrier plans either allowed the easy transfer of alcohol off-property or would prevent police officers from observing what was happening inside.

Wrinn said his department had fielded noise complaints from residents living above other bars downtown, where patron noise travels upwards when the bar doors are open, disturbing residents living on upper floors. The outdoor area at Arkham had the potential to create the same situation, Wrinn said in a phone interview.

At the June 4 meeting, Wrinn reiterated his recommendation against approving the permit.

Selectboard chair David Gartenstein also spoke against granting the permit, saying that, given public safety concerns centered on the Elliot Street area, he did not feel granting it was prudent.

Blackwell said that he and Blittersdorf had worked to improve the areas around their businesses, especially at their second business, Metropolis Wine Bar & Cocktail Lounge on 55 Elliot St. He said Gartenstein's comparison of the two businesses was unfair, and that he and Blittersdorf were committed to meeting all concerns raised about Arkham's business plan.

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