Sea Bright Gets Strict With Liquor Licenses

July 13, 2017
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Tommy’s Tavern + Tap, among other Sea Bright businesses, had to agree to certain conditions to renew its liquor license.

By Liz Sheehan |

SEA BRIGHT – For the first time, the borough has placed conditions on renewing liquor licenses for restaurants and beach clubs.

“Sea Bright, before this year, never has imposed conditions” on licenses that were renewed, Mayor Dina Long said last week. “This is a new thing and, like all new things, is going to take getting used to,” she said.

The council recently renewed the liquor licenses of the Driftwood Beach Club and the Edgewood Beach Club, both with the condition that alcoholic beverages would not be sold, served or consumed in the parking lot of the property, stating “the areas of the property are not to be considered as part of the licensed premises.”

The license for Rory’s Pub, 1125 Ocean Ave., was renewed by the council with the stipulation that no live or recorded music be played in the courtyard after 10 p.m.

At a June 20 meeting, the Borough Council approved renewing the license for Tommy’s Tavern + Tap for 2017-18, but added special conditions regarding public health and safety.

The resolution for the renewal cited the restaurant’s application to the town’s Unified Planning Board to add a banquet hall to the second floor of the restaurant and redesign the restaurant’s rear dining room and outside dining and gathering space, an area which has been the source of noise complaints, according to the resolution.

During the hearings before the Planning Board, the resolution said, Tommy Bonfiglio, owner of Tommy’s, agreed to conditions that “minimize noise and disturbance to surrounding properties.”

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To comply with the resolution, Tommy’s will separate the outdoor dining area of the popular restaurant from the rear gathering space that borders the Shrewsbury River. Gates between the gathering space and the dining area will be closed at 10 p.m., and any patrons would be directed to leave the gathering space at 10 p.m.

There will be no wait service or serving of food and drinks in the rear gathering space, and no patrons will be served unless seated at a table in a permitted dining area, according to the resolution.

During the numerous hearings held by the planning board on Tommy’s application to add the banquet room, which was approved in May, residents of the Nautilus Condominium and their attorney came to the meetings to complain about the noise from the gathering space behind the restaurant. The gathering space is on the other side of a fence that separates the properties.

One resident, Janice Pattison, said Tommy’s property line was about 16 feet from her home.

When the restaurant opened in the summer of 2015, a bocce court was placed in the gathering area next to the fence separating Tommy’s from the Nautilus. After complaints about noise by Nautilus residents, the court was removed because Bonfiglio had not received permission from the borough to install it.

At recent hearings on Tommy’s application to add the banquet room, Nautilus residents opposed the owner’s request to place another bocce court in the same place and the planning board agreed, denying the request. The residents also asked that measures be taken to limit the noise from the gathering space.

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Bonfiglio could not be reached for comment about the conditions placed on his license renewal. An article in concerning the conditions on the license renewals said Bonfiglio felt he was being singled out and that the conditions in the resolution were already in the planning board approval.

This article was first published in the July 6-13, 2017 print edition of The Two River Times.

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