Planning Commission approves Bier Garden patio


Bier Garden last week received permission to add an outdoor patio in front of its restaurant.

The Encinitas Planning Commission on Nov. 19 unanimously approved the project, but required that Bier Garden put up hanging planters that add a buffer between the outdoor patio and Coast Highway 101 sidewalk. That way, the patio is less likely to be a distraction for people who are walking by, commissioners said.

Plans state the 175-square-foot patio will include tables and seats facing the street, with alcohol allowed out there.

Commissioner Ruben Flores said there’s little room between the sidewalk and patio, so strolling past could be uncomfortable for some. However, a planned patio railing, which would be higher than tables, and the planters were enough to win his support.

Commissioner Greg Drakos said he’s not concerned about seats facing the street, since other restaurants in downtown Encinitas have a similar setup. He also stated there has been little opposition to the patio.

“Quite frankly, I think there’s not that much concern,” Drakos said.

Kathleen Lees, the lone public speaker on the agenda item, opposed the patio. She said she doesn’t like the idea of bar patrons being so close to the street. She added Bier Garden’s rear patio is responsible for a lot of noise.

“The outdoor seating they already have is disruptive,” Lees said.

City staff said because the new patio faces the street, it’s unlikely to have a significant impact on residents who live behind the restaurant.

Some of those residents two years ago opposed Bier Garden opening its windows until 10 p.m., arguing that increased noise levels. Ultimately, the Encinitas City Council sided with Bier Garden.

The new patio can stay open until 10 p.m. Music isn’t allowed. Bier Garden closes at 11:30 p.m. nightly.

The commission required that the planters hang from the outdoor patio railing. If they encroach on the sidewalk, Bier Garden would need a special permit, according to city staff.