University Heights bar wins Council approval, but with conditions
Main Place bar will open soon in the University Heights neighborhood, but it won’t market to those too young to legally drink.
The Common Council approved Anthony J. Sordetto’s special-use application to open the bar at 3144 Main St. despite mounting opposition from neighbors, college students and business owners concerned that the establishment would become a nuisance.
The unanimous approval, which was granted for two years so that officials can monitor the bar to make sure it does not become a problem, also came with two conditions: the removal of black tint from the windows and no marketing to under-age patrons. Sordetto had planned to host occasional events for those 18 and older.
After weeks of debate and wrangling, Sordetto said he was happy with the decision and agreed to the conditions.
“I feel good, and I’m looking forward to moving on, and I feel like we’re going to do well,” he said after the Council meeting. He added that he has received “a lot of support” from the community.
But pressure to deny Sordetto’s request came from all sides in recent weeks, with critics saying the area doesn’t need another bar, given the well-documented problems in the community with college students drinking and partying.
University Common Council Member Rasheed N.C. Wyatt, for instance, said his office had been flooded with calls from neighbors and nearby property owners who oppose the plan.
The University at Buffalo’s Student Association passed a resolution last week urging the Council to reject Sordetto’s proposal.
Mickey Vertino, president of the University Heights Collaborative, recently sent the Council a letter saying the bar “blatantly” goes against the Collaborative’s vision for the community and “takes a step backward in the work we have done to stop being positioned as a student-drinking haven.”
And before that, neighborhood business owners Tucker Curtin of Steer Restaurant and Lake Effect Diner; Robert Reger Jr. of Reger Funeral Home; and Michael Starks, owner of a mixed-use building at 3142 Main St., hired attorney Charles D. Grieco to try to persuade Council members to deny Sordetto’s request because Sordetto did not completely fill out the application and that the plan leaves many unanswered questions.
Sordetto originally requested a special-use permit to operate the establishment as a “restaurant that serves alcohol and has live music” but would not initially have a kitchen.
Main Place could be open in the next few weeks, Sordetto said.