By Karen Gadbois, The Lens staff writer |

Confused may be the best way to describe the average observer of a City Planning Commission meeting.

This week’s head scratcher was a request “for a conditional use to permit the sale of alcoholic beverages for consumption on-premises at a cocktail lounge and amusement place.”

What made this interesting is that they are already serving alcoholic beverages.

The “amusement place” in question is at 1009 Poydras Street in the old Smith and Wollensky building.

The project, just a few blocks from the Superdome and the Arena, appears to be catering to sports minded crowd with three establishments operating at that address.

Happy’s Irish Pub, Walk On’s and The Roux House have all been imported from Baton Rouge where they all maintain a presence catering to the Louisiana State University sports crowd.

A restaurant and bar comples that includes Happy’s Irish Pub won approval for a liquor license Tuesday from the City Planning Commission, though the City Council must still approve it.

The New Orleans venture puts them all under one roof, which made today’s request even more confusing.

Isn’t the restaurant and bar already operating?

Yes said one city employee, they are operating, but not legally.

When asked how they could do so the city employee responded, “by asking forgiveness instead of permission”

Also of interest in the staff report was an observation made by an inspector of loudspeakers attached to the outside of the building, which the report noted is a violation of city code.

The request was approved with 22 provisos including one that will not allow Safety and Permits to issue any permits or licenses until final development plans are approved by city planning.

It still must be approved by the City Council.

A similar request for a proposed club on St. Claude Avenue also was approved.

Debra Davis, lawyer for the owner of Café Istanbul, which is located in The Healing Center, asked that the request go forward after commissioners discussed a deferral for time to meet with neighbors.

The lawyer said they had met as late as yesterday with adjacent property owners to iron out some of the kinks, including hours of operation and the times of sale for liquor.

Because no opponents attended the meeting, the commission approved the request.

Other items of interest:

Neighborhood Housing Services located on Freret Street plans to lease the first floor of their building to a nightclub.

The proposed club will be called Publiq House and occupy a little over 4,000 feet and feature live entertainment.

Waffle House asked for a 75-foot setback to allow for parking in front of the building. Only 20 feet is allowed and that is required to be landscaped. They also requested waivers to allow for signs larger than permitted.

Staff recommended denial of the requests and the commission voted for denial.

Karen Gadbois

Karen Gadbois co-founded The Lens. She now covers New Orleans government issues and writes about land use. With television reporter Lee Zurik she exposed widespread misuse of city recovery funds and led...