Iron Bistro replay part 2: ‘Too much havoc,’ says Morristown council president



Democracy is a rough-and-tumble sport, as you can hear from this podcast of last week’s conditional approval of the Iron Bistro.

The Bistro is a proposed restaurant/ jazz bar that wants to stay open until 2 am like its parent establishment, the Iron Bar on South Street in Morristown.

But heeding residents’ concerns, council members held firm and imposed earlier cutoffs of alcohol sales.

“Too many people are coming out of the bars at two in the morning creating too much havoc,” said Council President Rebecca Feldman.

This podcast is the second half of the July 16, 2014, hearing, featuring council deliberations and the 6-0 vote. The first half, with testimony from residents voicing concerns about the Iron Bistro, also can be heard on

Second half highlights include forceful summations by the council president and Councilwoman Raline Smith-Reid, and by Robert C. Williams, attorney for the applicant.  Councilwoman Michelle Dupree Harris offered some surprising opinions about Shanghai Jazz in Madison, and contended Morristown needs more places for African Americans to socialize.

The meeting heated up to the point where Assistant Town Attorney Elnardo Webster II warned the audience to pipe down or he would have spectators removed.




iron bistro approval 2 of 2, july 16, 2014


1:08 Councilman Stefan Armington: Questions bar capacity

2:40 Anthropologist John Perry

3:35 Attorney Robert C. Williams: Iron Bar at capacity almost every weekend

6:43 Williams: No permanent stage… quite clear… this is restaurant, jazz just complement to restaurant… over $1M investment

8:18 Summation by Williams…

8:42 Williams: Only 15 showed up to oppose… no widespread opposition

9:20 Williams: Iron Bar/Bistro entitled 1,278 people… we won’t do that…recognize legitimate concerns.

10:51 Williams: Disputes quality of life issue

11:03 Williams: Bistro qualifies as restaurant…zoned as appropriate…no objections from town departments or police…applauds Office expansion… they can stay open to 2 am… no church or civic groups oppose… Iron Bar no ABC violations…  15 don’t want us to expand…. We want to open quality restaurant. Must be fair.

19:54 Councilwoman Michelle Dupree Harris: Longtime resident… Excited about opportunity for jazz club… spoken with ministers… jazz brunch… compares closing times of clubs… Shanghai Jazz, not real jazz to me…  it started in New Orleans, with African Americans… No place for person my age, African American, to socialize besides church… … Latinos have places to feel at home… nothing like that for African Americans…. Look forward to  Iron Bistro

27:20 Smith-Reid: Don’t need to be out past 11… must pay attention to residents… so we won’t have vacant $1M units!  Quality of life issues for all residentsand taxpayers [APPLAUSE]

34:01 Councilman Michael Elms: Great concept, visited Shanghai Jazz several times…Boils down to time frame….am 39 years old, fall into demographic… three small kids… can’t stay out till 2 am… 12:30 am Friday night… Iron Bar line down block…wife would not stand in that line to hear jazz [APPLAUSE]

35:56 Councilwoman Toshiba Foster: Is 39, likes nightlife… but must respect others

37:45 Armington:  No hearing on Office because no opposition. Cites Williams: Jazz only complement to restaurant… responds to Harris about “good/ bad jazz”… [APPLAUSE]   Trash issues…

43:35 Council President Rebecca Feldman: Represent First Ward….people aren’t asking for more places to stay out till 2 am… another place staying open to 2 am not what area can sustain. To hear live music of any kind… terrific. Can be offered in current establishment(s) The Office… no objections…Conditions of other places…not improved…. town spending more to clean up…  policing more… More peeing… Broken trees, DWI.  More housing soon?  Bowling on DeHart denied because of hours… Cites verbiage…  Likes jazz till 11… people can drink elsewhere later

51:05 Harris: Thanks Councilman Armington for “correcting my opinion.” Proposes Sun-Thurs midnight closing, Fri-Sat 1 am.  No second.

52:32  Williams: Capacity numbers.

53:31  Feldman: Issue is expanding service of alcohol till 2 am… same applicant agreed to 11 am cutoff for Gran Cantina… Too many coming out of bars at 2 am creating too much havoc… detrimental to quality of life in area. [APPLAUSE]

56:11 Elms:  Proposes open till 11.30 on Fri-Sat: Supports 11:30 pm Fri-Sat, 11 pm on Sun-Thurs.

57:05 Crowd upset over applicant statement about Shanghai closing times… Webster warns audience

58:03 Armington seconds closing hours proposed byElms

58:22  Discussion of trash, cleanups, security: One guard for every 50 people Thurs-Sat and special events.

59:18 Williams: Four security people to watch people dine? Makes no sense.

59:35 Feldman: This from Gran Cantina application

59:52 Williams: No restaurant in town has this…

60:10   Armington: Withdraws security condition

60:44 Smith-Reid: Defends addition of security

62:13 Elms defines security at Iron Bar

62:39 Armington: No violations at Iron Bar

63:00  Feldman: Applicant agreed to security for Gran Cantina… this is double the size… should be consistent…

65:45  Williams: Iron Bar has 15 security guards on Saturday…no problems..It’s almost insulting

66:39  Armington: No violations…  we can impose more security later

67:39 Webster restates conditions

68:44 Armington motion to approve, Elms seconds.

68:60 Webster question: Trash indoors?

69:50 Feldman: That was agreed for Gran Cantina. Discussion… trash will go indoors

73:55 Vote: 6-0, Councilwoman Alison Deeb absent. [CHEERS.]

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