The city’s Planning Department is recommending against a proposed downtown wine bar, citing an already high concentration of businesses that serve alcohol.
Marin County resident Barbara Quilici-Rist wants to open a neighborhood wine bar called Corkscrew next to Water Street Bistro near the corner of Petaluma Boulevard North and Western Avenue. She envisions a “friendly” locale where customers can choose from a menu of appetizers and desserts and enjoy live music on the outdoor patio.
But the Petaluma Police Department says adding yet another drinking establishment to downtown will increase the already high number of calls for service, where police frequently respond to break up fights or people driving drunk.
In a review of the application, the police say that according to the Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control, the area should have only have eight establishments with liquor licenses. Presently, there are 66, or more than eight times the recommended number.
Quilici-Rist says Corkscrew would be different than many of the surrounding bars (like Andresen’s or Gayles) in that it would cater to an older clientele. In addition, the business would offer seminars and tastings to educate the public about fine wine and offer live guitar and jazz several times a week.
“Petaluma made a commitment to establish a vibrant promenade with an emphasis on the river,” wrote Jeff Mayne, president of the PDA in a recent letter to the city. “Giving patrons a reason to enjoy a friendly gathering place outdoors is exemplified by the type of business proposed with “Corkscrew.”
Dave Alden is a civil engineer and Patch blogger who often writes about how to make urban spaces more “livable.” He says getting people downtown even after the restaurants have closed is good and will keep crime at bay.
“The proposed decision misses the point,” Alden said. “Yes, there is a crime and vandalism problem in the area in the late night hours, and yes, the problem is caused in large part by some of the places with alcohol licenses. But the best strategy to push back against lawlessness isn't police enforcement. It's putting more law-abiding people in the area. Eyes on the street matter.”
What's your take? Would you like to see a new wine bar with live music downtown? Share your thoughts in the comments below.