Allen St. Hardware cafe’s popular back room is reopening this weekend, but without the dancing – for now.
Owner Charlie Goldman said he has invested $100,000 in the Allen Street restaurant since city inspectors shut down its back room dance floor as unsafe six months ago.
Improvements include an extensive sprinkler and smoke alarm system as well as two new back room bathrooms, Goldman said.
In addition, the renovated back room has new soundproof walls as well as a new sound and video system, Goldman said.
City inspectors Aug. 12 issued a new certificate of occupancy allowing the back room to reopen, but the Common Council still must vote on whether to issue a dance permit for the room.
The Council is expected to vote on the permit in September.
The Allen St. Hardware back room had been one of the most popular dance venues in Buffalo, but neighbors’ complaints brought police and city inspectors to the site last February. The venue was overcrowded, unsafe, and operating as a dance club without the necessary license, city officials said.
Neighbors also said patrons of the dance club would spill outside onto the street, loud and rowdy, and were using residential properties as outdoor toilets.
Meanwhile, Goldman said the back room will reopen Friday – without dancing – for those who want to have a drink, eat, listen to DJ music, or see a visual installation by local artist Blake Dawson as part of a “Welcome Back” event.
Fillmore District Council Member David A. Franczyk said he’s in the process of setting up a tour of the back room for himself, and Jonathan White, president of the Allentown Association, as a prerequisite to the Council vote.
White recently wrote to Franczyk suggesting the Council initially approve a one-year dance license, so the city will have an opportunity to revisit the issue in 12 months, and ensure past problems don’t resurface. Allen St. Hardware has remained open as a restaurant and bar.