New owners wait for ABC permit to reopen bars downtown
WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — Two downtown Wilmington bars are in the process of opening back up, but what they need the most they still don’t have. Orton’s Pool Hall and the former Rox night club are in the middle of remodeling, but neither of has a liquor license from the state.
The words new bar or new nightclub grab the attention of many in downtown Wilmington. In the past year the city has made it clear it wants to limit the number of alcohol permits downtown by setting new policies and procedures. One rule is that anyone applying for a liquor permit must undergo a review by the city’s ABC Policy Review Committee. The committee does not make a decision on if a business gets a permit, but it does make a recommendation to the state ABC Board, which makes the decision.
Two former downtown businesses are looking to reopen and will soon go through that review process: the Rox nightclub, which the new owner is renaming the Brikhouse, and the historic Orton’s Pool Hall, which will be known as Orton’s Underground.
“We have just been working on bringing it back to its luster and glory,” Orton’s manager Rich Anderson said.
Orton’s Underground includes Orton’s Pool Room and Longstreet’s Top Shelf Bar. Despite the recent troubles of other businesses when it comes to alcohol permits, Anderson says orton’s is in compliance with the city.
“We shouldn’t have any problem,” he said. “A lot of things are not done right now, but it’s all coming together in the next week or so. We’re not changing the use down here, so it should be good to go in a couple of weeks.”
Currently the city limits the number of permits downtown for new businesses, but but both Orton’s and the Brikhouse are not viewed as new because they are opening up within a year since they closed and will essentially be used for the same purpose.
Eddie Peabody, who is trying to open up the Brikhouse, says his business will be a live music venue that will also play top 40 dance music, bringing in a different crowd then Rox.
Peabody is scheduled for a review of his alcohol permit application Friday. Orton’s hopes to meet with the committee soon as well. Both businesses hope to be open for business by New Year’s Eve.
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