Looking up: Morristown council approves vertical expansion for Stirling Tavern

The Stirling Tavern is adding an upstairs bar, with a small outdoor patio overlooking South Street. Photo by Kevin Coughlin
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Things are looking up for the Stirling Tavern in Morristown.

The town council on Tuesday approved the restaurant’s request to extend its liquor license to a second floor bar and rooftop dining area under construction.

“In times of COVID, we’re encouraging outdoor space— that is primarily the benefit of this application,” Council President Stefan Armington said via Zoom.

Plans call for 14 tables and 66 seats upstairs, in what had been a residential space. There will be tables in a small, partially covered outdoor “parapet”  overlooking South Street, said project architect Jeff Rawding.

Morristown Council hears Stirling Tavern liquor license expansion, via Zoom, Aug. 11, 2020. Screen capture by Kevin Coughlin

“It seems like a good application,” Armington added. “I believe Morristown has enough bars and bar capacity town-wide, but they are all concentrated on the other side of town.”

The vote was 6-0. Councilman Michael Elms was absent.  The application, endorsed by St. Peter’s Episcopal Church across the street, already has received zoning board approvals.

Revisions may be pending, however. Rawding said lighting plans were submitted Tuesday to the zoning board; any changes approved by that board will send the matter back to the council, which doubles as the town’s Alcoholic Beverage Commission.

License conditions imposed by the zoning board include no music after 10:30 pm and no alcohol served after 11 pm.  The project got a parking variance, Rawding said, because the upstairs expansion is anticipated to siphon customers from downstairs, not attract additional patrons.

Attorney Simone Calli represented the Stirling Tavern at Tuesday’s virtual meeting.

Upstairs floor plan for Stirling Tavern in Morristown, Aug. 11, 2020. Screen capture by Kevin Coughlin

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