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Dance floor is a go-go for Allen Street Hardware Cafe

Allen Street Hardware Cafe is back in the dancing business.

More than six months after the city ordered the backroom dance floor at the popular bar shut down, the Buffalo Common Council on Tuesday approved a license allowing dancing to resume.

The improvements made by owner Charles N. Goldman to the dance area – addressing the safety and neighborhood concerns that led its being shut down – are substantial, said Council Member David A. Franczyk of the Fillmore District, who asked that the dance license be approved.

Franczyk said he recently toured the Allentown business along with members of the Allentown Association and learned that Goldman had installed a new sprinkler system and additional restrooms, as well as sound-suppressing walls in the dance room. “The improvements are quite substantial,” Franczyk said.

During the tour, Franczyk said, he asked Goldman to play the music loud and went outside the business to see how the sound carried.

“I said, ‘Crank it,’ ”Franczyk recalled telling Goldman. “We wanted to hear how far it emanated.”

The music was loud inside, but muffled outside, he said. “I walked down a couple of houses, and it was pretty well quiet.”

Based on the tour of the business and his discussions with the Allentown Association, Franczyk suggested that the Council approve a dance license for a year. After the year is up, the Council will review the operation, checking with residents and police before deciding whether the license should be renewed, Franczyk said. The Council unanimously approved the one-year license.

Goldman said he plans to pick up the license Thursday, with dancing to resume that night.

“We’re good to go on all fronts,” he said.

Within an hour of the Council vote, word of the license approval was making its way around social media.

“Everything’s coming up aces,” one Twitter follower wrote after learning of the license being approved. “Let’s get loose.”

The Allen Street Hardware backroom 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.

“If there was ever a fire, it would be hard for people to get out,” James W. Comerford Jr., the city’s permits and inspections commissioner, said in February.

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.

Goldman, at the time, said the backroom of his cafe didn’t start out as a dance floor, which is why he didn’t initially apply for a dance permit.

Last month, the owner said he spent $100,000 over the last six months on upgrades, and the city issued a new certificate of occupancy for the backroom Aug. 12.

Goldman then reopened the backroom for eating and drinking, but has been waiting for the license so that dancing can resume. While the dance room was closed for six months, the rest of the business remained open as a restaurant and bar.