Englewood Embraces Late-Night Music



A change in rules to let loud music play later into the evening would fill many public meetings with discord, but Sarasota County Commissioners were greeted with harmony on Tuesday as they considered a change to rules in the Old Englewood Village allowing entertainment venues to stay open until 11pm on Friday and Saturday nights. “If you are competing with people in Charlotte County and on Manasota Key, at least three or four establishments there have music until midnight,” said Joyce Colmar, owner of Vino Loco Wine & Gourmet Bottle Shop. “If you are competing with those people, you need to have competitive hours.”

The change in the noise ordinance for the village was being considered by county commissioners along with a loosening of signage restrictions, allowing the indoor sale of vehicles and better defining what vendors are allowed to sell at a farmers’ market. Business owners and supporters filled the commission chambers at the Robert L. Anderson Administration Center in Venice, sometimes standing on top of chairs while applauding calls for the lifting of certain restrictions. That part prompted Commission Chairman Alan Maio to call for order a couple times, but commissioners expressed satisfaction to see a community in near unanimity regarding changes to the Main Street Overlay District rules. “Normally when you have a room this full of people, this side is against this side,” said Commissioner Charles Hines. “I appreciate the way you have done this.” The Old Englewood Village Association gathered input and proposed changes to county officials to start the public process.

Within the crowd, the growing business and entertainment success seemed a driving force in the conversation. Several noted the success of establishments like Englewoods on Dearborn Restaurant and Bar in turning the community into a must-stop for blues musicians on tour. With celebrated acts like Selwyn Birchwood and Albert Castiglia coming to the region in recent months, residents reveled in the growth of Englewood as a blues capital in the world. “We have people coming in after the sun sets at 8:30, just getting a drink at 9 and then the music stops at 10,” said Merrill Hollinger, co-owner of Englewoods on Dearborn. “People want to stay where the music stays.”

A final vote on the changes to the Overlay District is scheduled for June 7.

Photo courtesy Englewoods on Dearborn

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