Owner plans Oktoberfest opening for Federal Hill beer garden despite zoning board denial

The city vetoed plans Tuesday for a proposed open-air beer garden across from Cross Street Market in Federal Hill, but one of the owners says it'll open by Oktoberfest.

"There will be a beer garden there come October," said the Crossbar owner, Brian McComas, who also owns Ryleigh's Oyster.

How exactly he plans to make that happen isn't clear.

The proposed beer garden in the first block of East Cross Street, which has been hotly contested by neighbors in the Federal Hill Neighborhood Association, was granted an expanded liquor license from the city's liquor board last week. But it didn't get a four-vote majority approval from the zoning board, even with conditions that it operate as restaurant with limited hours and valet parking.

McComas said he was "disappointed" by the zoning board's decision, which he called "another delay in the process." The bar hasn't decided whether to appeal.

Ownership is moving forward on renovating the space, which used to be Turner's bar. The building has already been gutted, McComas said.

"We are approved to open with a liquor license as a tavern," he said.

The owner insisted the bar will comply with the zoning board's ruling and will do its best to pacify neighbors' concerns.

"If we have to tweak things, we'll tweak them," McComas said. "Our goal is to continue to work with the neighborhood, but we do intend to open for Oktoberfest 2014."



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