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Crossbar der Biergarten gets its liquor license, sets early March opening

With a stamp of approval on its liquor license, Crossbar der Biergarten is one step closer to opening.

Four years after it first appeared before the city's Board of Liquor License Commissioners, Federal Hill's embattled Crossbar der Biergarten got the green light to open as it was approved for a liquor license.

The board voted unanimously to approve a transfer of a class BD7 license to the property at 18 E. Cross St. on Thursday. Brian McComas, a partner in the project, said the beer garden is aiming to open during the first week of March. 

Although the proposal had been met with fierce opposition when it was first introduced, it gained neighborhood support after the beer garden's owners signed memorandums of understanding with the Federal Hill Neighborhood Association and South Baltimore Association. Only one Federal Hill resident, Henry Valeri, testified against the project at Thursday's hearing, arguing the license had expired and that if it was granted, the property would have two licenses.

The original license for which the group applied in 2013 was deemed invalid, and it is awaiting a ruling by the Maryland Court of Special Appeals. 

Crews are putting finishing touches on the space, previously four buildings that were consolidated under one roof.

That glass roof wasn't originally in the plans. An open-air area would have accounted for about half the building, but those plans were rejected by the city's zoning board. 

With a fig tree rooted in the ground and lights strung above tables previously used at Munich's Oktoberfest, Crossbar will aim to create an outdoor beer garden atmosphere within its four walls. It includes a mezzanine with a balcony overlooking the main beer garden and multiple bars. 

The menu will include German comfort food like sauerbraten, spaetzle and sausages, as well as plenty of imported German beers. 

"It's been a long road," Josh Foti, a partner in the project, said after the liquor license hearing. "We're very happy."

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