Mellow Mushroom, Mad River To Get Patios…
2009/04/15, 2:57 pm
Filed under: 1 | Tags: , , , ,

Mellow Mushroom, Mad River To Get Patios
Posted by Greg Hambrick on Thu, Apr 9, 2009 at 3:32 PM
Pictured: Mushroom co-owner Michael Shem-Tov at the site of the new King Street patio

After banning indoor smoking nearly two years ago, zoning officials at the City of Charleston made a move on Tuesday to give smokers an alternative to busy city sidewalks.

A request for a back patio at Mad River Bar & Grille on North Market Street was refused in 2007. But a new effort for a smaller patio received the thumbs up from city staff and the Board of Zoning Appeals largely due to the need for smoking space. The City of Charleston banned smoking in all indoor businesses in July 2007 after years of debate on the impact it would have on businesses, but with little conversation about where the smokers would go.

“What’s happening now is that there’s a large crowd of people on the front sidewalk on Market Street,” says Lee Batchelder, the city’s zoning director. “It’s more noticeable in this area because of the proximity of other bars and restaurants.

Nearby venues include the Market Street Saloon, Wild Wing Cafe, Purple Tree Lounge, and Henry’s Bar and Restaurant, among others.

“I think there’s a real need to provide outdoor space for these establishments,” Batchelder says, though not naming specific bars or restaurants.

The solution is a bit more palatable at Mad River because the building at the corner of East Bay and North Market Street has more space in the back than most downtown bars. The patio will include an outdoor bar (until 11 p.m.) and limited table seating.

Preservationists and representatives from the Ansonborough neighborhood opposed the request.

“This is just providing a bar and music, and it’s an intrusion into the neighborhood,” says Robert Gurley, executive director of the Charleston Preservation Society.

The zoning board refused a request for outside speakers, fearing the sound might travel a few blocks, affecting downtown residents.

A similar request last year for a rooftop patio at Mellow Mushroom on King Street was shot down by the zoning board because of opposition from the owners of the building next door, who had rental units that would have been adjacent to the roof-top patio.

On Thursday, Mellow Mushroom owners announced that they were able to work with the city to win approval for the patio:

“When the patio is complete it will have a lush tropical feel,” according to a release. “Since there are residential apartments next to the Mellow Mushroom, there will not have an outdoor bar, live music, and will have reduced hours by closing at midnight instead of 2a.m. The focus instead will be on outdoor dining.”

These successful requests could be followed by more businesses. Batchelder says patrons need a place to smoke.

“That shouldn’t be on the sidewalk in front of the business if at all possible,” he says.


Charleston to barge ahead of global warming
2009/04/01, 1:15 pm
Filed under: 1 | Tags: , , , ,

Barge Ahead


With scientific evidence steadily mounting as to the ncreased likelihood of global warming-induced sea level rise, Charleston City planners have begun a feasibility study concerning the gradual transplanting of the city’s fabled historic district (at least S.O.B.) to a huge, floating barge.Mr. Delagault Dimwiddie, director of the city’s newly formed Office of Apocalyptic Affairs, revealed in a press conference last week that various new options are being explored to save Charleston from the near-certainty that much of the city will be flooded by a sea level rise of five feet or more by the end of the century.”I’m finally a believer in sea level rise,” says Dimwiddie, citing the pernicious liberal conspiracy.

While technological and construction details haven’t yet been worked out, Dimwiddie remains optimistic that the plan is practical. Unlimited cheap labor will be no problem, he says. His office is hard at work on a project to round up the hordes of South Carolina’s unemployed and incarcerated citizens and put them to gainful work. “Slavery made Charleston great once … maybe it’s time to try it again,” he commented.

Long-term funding is assured. Per the plan’s “reverse tourism” feature, we’ll eventually be able to take the Holy City directly to the tourists — on both sides of the Atlantic. Besides, unrestricted gambling, once Charleston becomes a big, offshore boat, is sure to generate significant further revenue.

“And seceding from the Union (at least for Charleston) won’t be nearly as much of a problem next time,” Dimwiddie quipped. By adding offensive weaponry to the Battery’s shore defenses (and converting the south end of East Bay Street to an airstrip), the city can even subcontract to the Defense Department, giving Citadel cadets unlimited future opportunities to start new wars.

“We can even preserve Charleston’s hallmark cuisine,” Mr. D. mused. The idea is to hang seafood farming enclosures over the side, once the marshes have drowned and local marine species are extinct. “That way, we can preserve the Lowcountry oyster roast and keep serving shrimp ‘n’ grits.” (The matter of grits procurement has yet to be addressed.)

“Just think,” he concluded, “It’ll be like Noah’s Ark all over again: We can ride out this pinko-commie-liberal-generated climate crisis, and repopulate abandoned coastal regions once it’s over. And there’ll be nothing to stop us from maintaining our precious red-state traditions and fascination with the past.”–By Lindsay Koob