Bar plans to open in old Club Soda location

A public notice posted at the old 'Club Soda' location on El Camino Real (photo by Camas Frank).

ATASCADERO — The City of Atascadero’s Community Development Department and City Council were required to pay some attention to an application that normally wouldn’t have risen to their attention yet, on Jan. 8 with the licensing of a new bar at 8451 El Camino Real.

While the would-be proprietors of the establishment were on hand and ready to state their case or answer questions at the City Council’s regular meeting, there was no need as their request to approve an on-sale beer and wine for public premises Alcohol Beverage Control (ABC) license application sailed through the consent agenda without comment.

As explained in the report prepared by planning staff, the “proposed business would be a local bar with a rustic, western theme at the former location of Club Soda. Per ABC requirements, beer and wine, but not distilled spirits, can be sold for on or off-site consumption. Food service is not required. Minors will not be allowed to enter the premises.”

The extra formality was required though as California law demands review by a local governing body, “to determine that an ABC license will serve a public convenience or necessity when there is an ‘Undue Concentration’ of liquor licenses within the impacted census tract.”

The proposed business, Colony Tavern, falls in a tract of land where 13 on-sale licenses are permitted but there are already 14 such licenses active.
The applicant, Jonathan Velasco, justified public convenience of his application in a letter noting the planned replacement of the now vacant and defunct bar with a lively western, rustic theme and, “historic Atascadero Colonial flare.” They also plan the traditional bar diversions, billiards, pinball darts, and arcade games, along with televisions and live music.

In addition to the currently vacant bar, the building houses a Discount Cigarettes headshop, Nardonne's Pizzeria, and the Moose Lodge 2067.

For the Tavern the applicant would also like to emulate the style of the nearby businesses giving the El Camino side of the building more windows and reorganizing the interior to match.

Given the details, City staff noted that in their estimation approval, “would not influence the rate of criminal activity in the neighborhood. The Atascadero Police Department has determined that the impact to public safety would be negligible based on the consideration of the physical location of the current establishment and the number of past calls for service.”

It’s not known exactly how long remodeling might take or when customers should come calling with their Cowboy boots on. The application does not mention drastic remodeling as much as the majority of work remaining to be done is in the conversion to a Western format.


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