WESTBROOK – The owners of the Skybox Bar and Grill have been granted a city amusement license that will enable the embattled business to offer live entertainment.
The City Council voted to grant the license after a public hearing Monday, at which co-owner Allen Moore described his plans to host comedy shows and live music.
Moore said he wanted to have four rock shows a year and deejays every other month or so. He said he would schedule bands to play between noon and 8 p.m. and use his own sound system, to minimize the volume.
“I came to you 18 months ago and $64,000 ago with just about the same proposal,” Moore said at the meeting. “I’ve had this vision since the beginning. It’s been rough, but I’m positive the hurdles are behind us. If there is a problem, we will pull the plug.”
The council voted 3-2 in favor of giving the Skybox its license. Councilors Michael Foley and Victor Chau cast the dissenting votes.
Foley, who had supported the Skybox in the past, cited the council’s recent decision to give the Skybox its food and liquor licenses, with conditions, as his reason for voting against the amusement license. He raised concerns that live music could draw larger crowds, which could lead to problems.
“We took a big step in our last meeting and moved this forward,” Foley said. “We put together a six-month review. I would like to see some history before I’m inclined to support this” amusement license.
Councilors Suzanne Joyce and Paul Emery and Mayor Colleen Hilton voted to approve Moore’s request.
“I agree we should give them a second chance; however, I feel we should have a quick trigger,” Emery said at the meeting, referring to any future complaints.
Moore said Tuesday that he may have his first show in July, and that he plans to be part of the band. Moore plays the bass guitar, sings and writes music.
“This is part of my dream,” he said. “This is why I wanted to open the pub.”
Council President Brendan Rielly and councilors John O’Hara and Dorothy Aube recused themselves from Monday’s vote.
A Cumberland County Superior Court judge ruled on March 23 that Aube was biased when she voted last year against granting licenses to the bar. Aube, Rielly and O’Hara each voted to deny license renewals in two votes in 2009.
Moore expressed his appreciation Tuesday to councilors who patronized the Skybox. He said Hilton recently visited with her family, and Joyce brought in eight people.
“For so many years, people have believed that the Skybox is something that it’s not,” Moore said.
Staff Writer Melanie Creamer can be contacted at 791-6361 or at: