Possible change in Webster Groves liquor laws could bring first bar to city

The owner of International Tap House is hoping ordinance change will allow a location to open in Webster Groves. Credit: KMOV

The City of Webster Groves is looking at changing their liquor laws which could bring the first bar to the city.

Right now, only establishments that make 50 percent of their profit from food can sell alcohol, it’s why Sean Conroy, the owner of International Tap House, hasn’t been able to open the popular beer bar in his own backyard.

“I love the WG, I’ve lived there for the last 10 years and have always wanted to open a location there,” said Conroy.

Conroy says since opening their first location in Chesterfield in 2009, they’ve run into hurdles along the way as they’ve expanded to new locations.

“A lot of the liquor laws, not only Webster Groves, but across the Metro area, and even across the state, we’ve run into are really in our opinion are antiquated and really haven’t caught up with the times,” he explained.

The City of Webster Groves says they too realize some of the laws could be updated, and without changes they could be missing out on growth.

“This could be an opportunity to expand our business district,” said Mara Perry, the director of development and planning for Webster Groves.

Perry says over the last year they’ve been approached by several people, including Conroy, about opening new businesses that would require a change in the liquor laws.

On Tuesday night, the city council decided to move forward with the idea of changing both liquor and zoning laws. They will hold a public hearing on January 9.

Perry says officials have looked at other cities and plan to follow similar regulations, including requiring a conditional use permit and holding a public hearing for any establishment interested in opening. They also plan to discuss things like closing hours, whether there can be outdoor seating and how close the bar can be to residential areas.

Conroy, also a resident of Webster Groves, says it all comes down to being a good neighbor.

“As long as they’re respectful and reputable in the neighborhood I don’t see why they shouldn’t be able to open,” said Conroy.

Copyright 2016 KMOV (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.

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