PORT CHESTER, N.Y. – The Capitol Theatre in Port Chester plans to expand its operations by opening a bar next door, but the village remains hesitant in lieu of more specific plans.
“The question here is, do we want another bar?” said Gregg Gregory, a member of the village planning board. “Given the track record of the applicant so far on this project has been pretty impressive … with any kind of bar opening in Port Chester we really need to be careful on the usage and times and that kind of stuff. For the most part, generally speaking, I like the feel of this and I’d just like to tighten it up a little.”
Owner Peter Shapiro’s application to open The Lobby Bar at The Capitol Theatre in the space next to the concert venue at 145 Westchester Ave., was reviewed at the most recent meeting of the Port Chester Planning Board. Initially the bar was to be solely used when the theater had shows going on, but, after a meeting with the village building department, it was decided that the bar would be open on a more regular basis.
“It never would be and it never could be [separate]. It’s not a stand-alone space and never intended to be,” said Anthony Tirone, an attorney representing Capitol Enterprises Inc., adding that the bar would be open into the lobby areas and open to the public when shows were not going on. When shows are in full swing, only ticket-holders will be able to access the bar, since the two spaces are so intertwined.
The planning board has requested The Capitol Theatre’s representatives provide more information on occupancy and capacity, seating, anticipated hours of operation and other specifics of operation when it meets again in early January. Tirone said hours would be finalized when demand is gauged.
After hosting 40 shows since the the historic venue reopened in early September, owner Peter Shapiro said the question he gets most from attendees is about the status of opening the bar, which can be seen from the lobby. “We’re going to be here for many, many, many years and we’re trying to be part of this community. We don’t want to be a place that’s only open once every 10 days,” said Shapiro.
Televisions at the bar will screen recent concerts recorded at The Capitol Theatre and the space may host acoustic guitar players in the future on nights when shows are not scheduled. However, the bar would not include DJs or turn into a dance club environment, Shapiro assured the board.
The Port Chester Village Planning Board will re-address the possible opening of The Lobby Bar at The Capitol Theatre at its meeting at 7 p.m. Jan. 3 at the Port Chester Village Court, 350 N. Main St., Port Chester.