The QueQue: Southtown's un-friendlies, Scientology case ends with a whimper, Awkward timing for a bond ruling
Published: May 2, 2012
In court Monday, Daniel Boone, 76, spoke of peering over the fence at his Southtown neighbor armed with a Radio Shack-purchased sound meter itching to call the fuzz. For Boone, the Friendly Spot has proved such an irritant that he says he's taken to calling the cops three, four, even five times weekly for much of the past year. Last week and again Monday, Boone, owner of the Alamo Street Victorian Inn next door, was among eight neighbors pushing to end the Spot's successful, three-year tenure as a Southtown hub and watering hole, arguing that a judge should deny the popular icehouse's application to renew its Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission license to serve beer and wine.
The hubhub is particularly bad during Spurs games, and the sound of dumpsters being emptied in the morning wakes them. Poor things. "Alamo Street is a commercial street, isn't it?" Friendly Spot attorney Albert Van Huff asked Boone.
Notable among the bench of detractors is Rene Guerrero, former Madhatter's Tea House owner and the Friendly Spot's former manager who left under fishy circumstances, according to co-owner Jody Newman. Guerrero wouldn't comment after Monday's hearing on why his relationship with Friendly Spot management deteriorated, but wrote in his petition with the TABC, "I am emabarresed (sic) that my name is still associated with The Friendly Spot." In his letter, Guerrero says he was "pushed out/bought out."
According to testimony before Judge William Donovan, a Bexar County JP, the Friendly Spot has been cited only once within the past year for violating the city's noise ordinance, while the TABC writes there had been some 20 calls for service at the location, largely due to noise. "Although we understand your concerns regarding more traffic, nuisance, and noise issues, TABC rarely joins a protest due to noise issues alone," the agency wrote in a letter to neighbors. "Accordingly, without some evidence that public safety is at risk, TABC will not join in this protest of the application."
Compared to the select neighborhood detractors, Newman has scored a remarkable showing of electeds and local notables in her fight to keep the Friendly Spot open. Downtown Councilman Diego Bernal called the Friendly Spot "a bookend in tandem with the Blue Star Arts Complex for First Friday" and a prime example of the kind of downtown development the city hopes to encourage. Similar letters poured in from County Commissioner Tommy Adkisson, SA 2020 CEO Daryll Byrd, and Downtown Alliance San Antonio President Ben Brewer III. State Rep. Mike Villarreal showed at last week's hearing in a show of support. As did chefs Andrew Weissman and Jason Dady, and Monterey co-owner Chad Carey. "They were there to send a message that the chef community wants progress," Newman said. We haven't heard the judge laughing it out yet, but QueQue expects the whole matter to be tossed any minute. Then we'll be peddling down for a (moderately quiet) bite and a sip.