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Oyster Bar proposes enhancements at pier location

BRADENTON BEACH – The Anna Maria Oyster Bar (AMOB) wants to enhance and expand its operations at and around the Bradenton Beach Pier.

The desired enhancements include alcohol consumption being allowed on the public fishing pier at the end of Bridge Street.

AMOB leases the main restaurant building at the foot of the pier from the city of Bradenton Beach. AMOB also leases the adjacent smaller city-owned structures subleased to Paradise Boat Tours and formerly subleased to the Tide & Moon and Room With A Hue retail operators.

AMOB CEO John Horne presented the proposed enhancements to the Bradenton Beach Community Redevelopment Agency (CRA) on Jan. 11.

The improvements include a walk-up bar and a to-go food kiosk to be located in the space previously occupied by Tide & Moon and Room With A Hue. Horne said the walk-up bar would be used by restaurant customers while waiting for a table. During morning hours, the walk-up bar would offer coffee and other morning items.

Oyster Bar proposes enhancements at pier location
AMOB plans to convert this leased structure into a walk-up bar and to-go food kiosk. – Joe Hendricks | Sun

The proposed enhancements include tiki hut-like covered tables along the pier entrance railing south of the restaurant building; a decorative crab trap and buoy-themed fence located between the pier parking lot and the neighboring Pines Trailer Park; photo-op frames that offer a view of the mooring field and Intracoastal Waterway as backdrops; the reconfiguration of the main entryway and the expansion of the public restrooms.

When presenting the proposed modifications, Horne requested that alcohol purchased at the restaurant or the new walk-up bar be allowed to be consumed on the pier. Alcohol is currently allowed on the AMOB patio but not on the pier itself. If the alcohol allowance is approved, alcoholic beverages purchased elsewhere would still not be allowed on the pier.

Oyster Bar proposes enhancements at pier location
Alcohol consumption is already allowed on the AMOB patio that faces the Bridge Street Pier. – Joe Hendricks | Sun
Oyster Bar proposes enhancements at pier location
Alcohol consumption is currently prohibited on the Bridge Street Pier. – Joe Hendricks | Sun

CRA members John Chappie, Jan Vosburgh and Marilyn Maro expressed some concerns and possible opposition to the proposed alcohol allowance. Chappie said later he’d consider allowing alcohol consumption on a trial basis. CRA member Ralph Cole said he’s okay with alcohol being consumed on the pier because the pier features safety rails, but is concerned about alcohol consumption on the adjacent floating day dock that doesn’t have safety rails. CRA members Jake Spooner and David Bell expressed support for the proposed alcohol allowance and Police Chief John Cosby said it would not create significant enforcement issues.

Oyster Bar plans enhancements for it's pier location
The improvements include a crab trap-themed fence like this fence in Islamorada. – AMOB | Submitted

Horne said the crab trap and buoy-themed fence was inspired by a fence he saw in the city of Islamorada. He said the crab traps and buoys would be attached to the AMOB side of the cypress wood fence that would replace the existing chain link and vinyl fencing. The Pines residents would only see a new wooden fence on their side.

Horne asked the CRA members to consider sharing the estimated $56,252 cost to install the new decorative fencing. The CRA members express preliminary support for the funding request and directed Chappie and City Attorney Ricinda Perry to speak with county staff about seeking a Tourist Development Council (TDC) recommendation and Manatee County Commission approval for the county to cover 25% ($14,063) of the estimated fence expenses using tourist tax revenues. The CRA would then cover 25% of the fencing costs and AMOB would cover 50% ($28,126). Perry said the county might also be willing to help fund some of the other proposed modifications that would improve the pier experience for visitors, including the expanded public restrooms.

As the discussion concluded, the CRA members expressed initial consensus support for the proposed enhancements but they agreed that more discussion is needed regarding alcohol consumption on the fishing pier.

Perry said she would draft a modified concessionaire’s agreement that reflects the proposed enhancements and uses. She said the modified agreement and the desired alcohol allowance will require city commission approval because the city, not the CRA, leases the pier buildings and the surrounding spaces to AMOB.

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