The Famished Frog this week withdrew an application for permission to serve alcohol on a patio behind its Morristown restaurant.
Frog owner Jeff Beers envisioned about a dozen outdoor tables at his Washington Street establishment. But Morristown council members raised concerns on Wednesday about potential noise, which they said might annoy residents of an apartment complex proposed for nearby Schuyler Place.
Beers offered to cease outdoor operations at 11 pm. But Assistant Town Attorney Elnardo Webster II said the town cannot impose such conditions with any certainty.
The state Division of Alcoholic Beverage Control consistently has sided with bar owners who have opposed special conditions from the town, Webster said.
“We’re kind of stuck,” the attorney said. “We’ve attempted to regulate liquor licenses. We’ve been told that’s not permissible.”
He did not mention any names. But Jimmy Cavanaugh, owner of the Iron Bar and Revolution on South Street, has appealed Morristown alcohol curfews several times to the state ABC and the courts, winning every time.
Beers was making his second appearance before the council, seeking permission to expand the Frog’s liquor license to the restaurant’s patio.
After about 45 minutes of testimony on Wednesday, and vigorous questioning by the council about decibel levels, Beers opted to withdraw his application. He said he intends to return to ask for an ordinance to regulate situations like his, involving outdoor dining on private property.
A present ordinance only addresses sidewalk dining, according to Beers’ attorney, Frederick B. Zelley of Basking Ridge.
Morristown’s council doubles as the town regulatory authority for liquor licenses.