You’ll be able to drink and see live music simultaneously at Yates Theater — the Berkeley project just earned its booze license

Alcohol is a helpful ingredient for music venues, you may have heard.

Yates Theater in Berkeley before a community meeting concerning its fate, June 25, 2019. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

Yates Theater in Berkeley before a community meeting concerning its fate, June 25, 2019. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

(Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

staff photo

The city on Friday approved a liquor license for Yates Theater, marking a big win for the project to move forward in the Berkeley neighborhood.

The Department of Excise and Licenses confirmed in an email Friday that the license was approved with conditions. Department spokesperson Eric Escudero said an email the license is pending a required inspection.

A request for the license was initially submitted in October 2018. Since then, building owner Ari Stutz and the Berkeley Regis United Neighbor have forged a “good neighbor agreement” signed in June. The agreement helped strengthen the case for Stutz and his business partner before its liquor license hearing. Locals were concerned about parking shortages and noise.

“We hope that the immediate neighbors that were concerned will not encounter any of the issue that they wee forecasting and we hope that the venue will be an incredible part of our neighborhood as a whole and respect all of its agreements with the neighbors,” Berkeley United Neighbors President Steven Teitelbaum said on Friday.

The license was approved with the following conditions, which are similar to those outlined in the agreement signed by both the owner and the neighborhood group:

  • Live music performances must end by 11 p.m. on Sundays through Wednesdays, at 12 .a.m on Thursdays and 1:30 a.m. on Fridays and Saturdays.
  • The theater will use private security companies for all music performances that must be present at least one before the scheduled performance start and at least one hour after the end of the performance.
  • An outdoor smoking area will be designated.
  • Door, windows and other sound-mitigating barriers (including curtains) will be closed during musical performances.

Developers want to turn the Yates Theater into an upscale venue for concerts, comedy shows and community events. The space holds roughly 600 to 700 people. It was originally built in 1926.

Escudero said in an email that Yates Theater will need to get a liquor license from the state, though the state usually approves the licenses based on the approval of a local jurisdiction. He added there is no hearing process for a state liquor license.

Escudero added that the city’s decision to approve the license could be appealed by opposing parties in District Court.

We’ve reached out to Stutz for additional comment.

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