Rooftop dining at Morristown’s Iron Bar will have to wait…until at least March 29

The Morristown council gathered via Zoom to hear the Iron Bar's request to all rooftop dining, but quickly adjourned, March 1, 2021. Screenshot by Kevin Coughlin

Supporters and opponents of rooftop drinking at the Iron Bar have more time to mount their arguments.

After 15 minutes on Zoom on Monday, Morristown’s council rescheduled the special hearing to March 29, 2021, to digest reams of documents submitted at the last minute.

Morristown Assistant Town Attorney Elnardo Webster II requests adjournment of special council hearing, March 1, 2021. Screenshot by Kevin Coughlin

“I received 200 pages of new information after 4 o’clock this afternoon. I don’t know how we could have done a good job conducting a hearing this evening,” Assistant Town Attorney Elnardo Webster II told the council.

Iron Bar owner Jimmy Cavanaugh seeks approval to extend the Iron Bar’s liquor license to the roof, for 150 seats, plus an 18-seat bar and standing room.

In 2016, he expanded the same license next door to create the Revolution beer hall.

“The delay was warranted,” Cavanaugh said of Monday’s adjournment. The former Essex County freeholder was represented by attorney Robert C. Williams, who has appeared before the council on his behalf numerous times over the years.

Documentation was received from the Iron Bar, from an objector, and from 15- to 20 letter writers. Police supplied about 130 pages of records, Webster said.

On his advice, Council Vice President Toshiba Foster set a deadline of March 19 at 3 pm for submission of any additional materials.

The council doubles as Morristown’s Alcoholic Beverage Control board. Foster was in charge Monday because Council President Stefan Armington recused himself.

Armington is being sued, along with Mayor Tim Dougherty and the town, by Cavanaugh over the town’s 2017 rejection of his request to extend the same liquor license to another vacant South Street storefront for a Mexican restaurant.

The council opposed that expansion after fielding residents’ complaints about late-night misbehavior by patrons exiting downtown bars.

Councilman Michael Elms said he cannot attend the March 29 hearing. That will leave five members of the seven-person council to hear the application. If the license expansion is approved, Cavanaugh then must seek a variance from the town zoning board, according to town Attorney Vij Pawar.

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  1. They need to add about 4 outdoor rooftop spaces where people can hang and relax outside…. there is no place like that here and the demand is great. What is the problem????? Every town has this, why would it not be good here?!

  2. @Xavier – You make such a broad comment with no facts to support your post.
    I agree with Matt what did this bar do wrong? No history of police, fire or ABC citations. Just a handful of locals that make false accusations against this bar and don’t include any of the other bars in Town.
    Seems sketchy to me to single out one bar just because of its popularity amongst a younger demographic.