CityBeat last covered the saga between the Bluefoot Bar & Lounge and a few of its North Park neighbors in 2008. In short, a few residents were unhappy about noise and the drunken patrons they say were pouring out of the bar. They did some research and found the city had allowed Bluefoot owners Cuong Nguyen and Adam Cook to purchase a full liquor license even though zoning law allowed only beer and wine. Zoning law also requires businesses in the area to close by midnight.
Toni Atkins, the City Council member representing the neighborhood at the time, intervened and had Nguyen and Cook solve the problem by getting a neighborhood use permit (NUP) recommendation from the North Park Planning Committee. (The city, which issues the permits, typically follows the committee's recommendations.)
More than 100 people showed up to that planning meeting (most in support of the bar), and the approved NUP was a truce of sorts. It allowed for full liquor sales, but it said the bar could stay open past midnight only on Friday and Saturday. It also required the owners to hire a security guard.
Fast forward to 2010: The NUP is up for review and the bar owners are still squabbling with a few neighbors.
“Their main complaint is noise,” Nguyen says. “But the fourand-a-half years we've been here, we've had no citations.”
Nguyen says the bar has done everything it can to be a good neighbor. He says the people complaining are a handful of nearby folks who won't be happy unless the bar is shut down. So, instead of asking for the same NUP, he and Cook are asking for more. They want to stay open until 2 a.m. every night, they want the front patio to be open until midnight and they want a permanent NUP.
“We may as well as ask for the world and ask for everything back,” Nguyen says. “And hopefully, we'll get something in the middle.”
Gerald Montoya can see Bluefoot from his front porch. He's the block captain of his local Neighborhood Watch, and he says he's fed up.
“The problem is drunk patrons, loud noise, people puking and urinating in our yard and our neighbors' yards,” Montoya says.
According to the police, Bluefoot hasn't been cited for violations, but there have been 21 complaint calls in the last year.
The new permit was slated to be considered by the North Park Planning Committee on Tuesday evening, after CityBeat went to print. But if the letters of support for Bluefoot versus the letters of complaints City Councilmember Todd Gloria's office says they've received are any indication, Bluefoot might not be singing the blues for very long.