Carmel to force controversial tavern on Monon Trail to close by 2 p.m. daily

The city of Carmel announced Tuesday that it will now enforce a previously overlooked zoning variance that prohibits The GOAT bar and restaurant from operating after 2 p.m., a move that comes after months of complaints about noise and public indecency at and around the tavern.

When The GOAT opened in the former Bub’s Café at 220 2nd St. SW in August, it replaced a restaurant that had long-catered to breakfast and lunch crowds. Bub’s was granted special zoning in 2007 for the restaurant to locate in what was then a largely residential area. The variance, which allowed the restaurant to operate until 2 p.m. daily, transferred to the The GOAT when it moved into the property.

But Carmel Mayor Jim Brainard said during a Monday city council meeting that city staff had overlooked the requirement when The GOAT first opened. And as a result, The GOAT “was inadvertently allowed to operate with a closing time of 3 a.m.,” the city said in a statement Tuesday afternoon.

The tavern has since upset neighbors with its late-night noise and unruly patrons, so much so that the city council approved new public urination and defecation fines Monday night to start addressing the issue. Now, city staff said it will enforce the previously overlooked requirement that any restaurant on the property close each day by 2 pm.

“Continued complaints from neighbors and businesses about how the venue was operating made it clear that the current variance had to be enforced,” the city said in a statement. “Until now, it was hoped that operations at the GOAT could continue while the request for a change in zoning went through the proper process but based on the continued and numerous complaints and the number of police calls, that is no longer possible.”

The GOAT is owned by Kevin and Megan Paul, who also own the Brockway Pub and Danny Boy Beer Works in Carmel. Kevin Paul told IBJ that the tavern’s hours have been 3 p.m. to 1 a.m., but for now, it will open for lunch only. He did not provide details.

“I’ve got to sit tight and see what it means,” he said.

The Pauls have built a fence between their property and an adjacent neighborhood, Brainard told the council on Monday night, and are committed to hiring plainclothes security to patrol the area. Brainard also adi the owners are planning to build additional restrooms to accommodate demand.

The council is set to review a proposed noise ordinance and a potential rezone of the property to allow The GOAT to continue as a traditional bar, but the tavern won’t be able to serve its late-night clientele until new zoning is approved.

However, council member Adam Aasen said Monday night that he’s not in favor of a rezoning because he doesn’t think the owners have shown a willingness to make changes to reduce complaints.

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27 thoughts on “Carmel to force controversial tavern on Monon Trail to close by 2 p.m. daily

  1. The fact that zoning rules can dictate the hours a business stays open is ridiculous and a case against very specific zoning to begin with. There is nothing that screams “free market” more than zoning rules that dictate the type of businesses that are allowed to operate in certain areas…

    1. Great idea Robert. I’ll plan to open a top less/ strip club bar and 24 hour go cart racing track next to your home. Because that would be the free market at work. Just let me know where you live..,

    2. TIM S. – Let me know when you do and I will patronize both locations with as many friends as I can bring along.

    3. TIM S. Please do. It’d probably go out of business – I’m not sure a strip club could stay afloat at 75th/College. But if it does, more power to you.

    4. Seemed like a good idea at the time 🤷‍♂️🤦‍♂️zoning reneg…
      Beer for breakfast, why not!

  2. Wow, that is one surefire way to make a bar go out of business. Not surprised to see that pro-business Carmel is actually business friendly for only the folks they like.

    1. Yep… Overlooking details on the zoning variance is one sure way for a bar owner to mess up his own business model.

      Carmel is pro-business to the point that it attracts more residents. When a poorly run business starts to drive residents away, I suspect that is when the pro-business stance ends.

  3. This has nothing to do with free markets and everything to do with zoning. The business is improperly zoned. Had the rules been followed this would have never been an issue. The city owns this one…

    1. Someone in Carmel’s government gave them a Certificate of Occupancy, now Carmel wants to change the rules.
      1. Did Carmel tell them that the location was zoned for a 2pm closing time. Apparently not the they didn’t open until 3 pm.
      2. Did Carmel post for public review that a liquor permit was being issued and provide a forum for public comment.
      3. Did the public comment and did Carmel assess the comments of the residents.
      4. Did Carmel issue a Building permit to renovate the space.
      5. Did Carmel issue a Certificate of Occupancy.

      I understand the residents issue, but governments can’t make the rules and then change them without due compensation. Even if the owner has done well since the opening. Carmel can take that in consideration when negotiating compensation.

    2. Steve R., liquor license issued by City Council in 2019 via ordinance D-2470-19. There was no discussion and council waived rules and issued on first reading. They submitted plans to building department and got state fire approval, but I do not see a CO. Not sure if those are regularly part of the file. Brainard admits city staff is somewhat to blame, therefore someone should be fired.

  4. Just more government overreach!
    Carmel is 1 billion in the hole with government bonds to the federal government. It will be in default the next few years. Carmel better collect all the taxes private company’s can pay them.

    1. Not any more. Yes defecation in public was happening in the yards by the bar, but the new ordinance makes that finable now. You can say the show on public defecation is now over… – or at least it is unless you want a $250 fine. 🙂

    2. Brad J. – But we can say urination match between the owners, and neighborhood has only begun.

  5. The original zoning variance was protection for the nearby houses to make sure no nuisances moved into that spot. It was a concession by the business owner to be allowed to operate a brunch place next to the homes. It is a perfectly reasonable stipulation given the proximity to the homes.

    The new owner was an idiot, or willfully ignored the stipulation. Even when faced with pages and pages of police runs, he did nothing to control things, I suspect he willfully ignored the 2pm closing requirement.

    Good for Carmel and good for the neighbors that had to endure this nuisance all summer.

  6. He made millions the last 6 months while the rest of bars in Indy shuttered. He’ll be just fine for the next few weeks while he files appeals. Kinda like his style. It was absolutely the way to attack the shutdown. Bled Marion County drinkers and collegiate kids when no one was risking it.

    1. I’m sure the owner, and his accountant would be surprised to know he “made millions” in the last six months.

  7. I can be flat out drunk by 2 PM! Show up early pound them down drive drunk during rush hour or just as schools are getting out.

    Idiots all of these bureaucrats!

  8. You can’t have people urinating and defecating in the streets, folks. What kind of “pub” clientele does that? Are you kidding me?!?! Perhaps Carmel doesn’t want to go the way of San Francisco (or Indianapolis for that matter – did you see the mentions in the Indianapolis Star about the increasing instances of people pissing and crapping on the sidewalks downtown?) Carmel is enforcing the rules – rules you may or may not agree with, but they are the rules and the rules pre-dated the current owner (who, by the way, is no neophyte re the bar business…) Robert H, I think Tim, Dan, and Stephen have adequately addressed the flaws in your stated position. Cody, whether you like it or not, Carmel has a “brand”, and they work to maintain it from a variety of perspectives, including the businesses they encourage and discourage. And if you look at per capita income, they seem to be doing OK in terms of the residents/taxpayers they are attracting. Dan M is exactly right. The business was zoned in a compromise manner when it was Bub’s. If the new buyer wanted something different, he should have pursued it before buying the property. Carmel was belated in enforcing the zoning that was in place, but if the speed limit is 55 and you do 65 every day for a year and never get a ticket, and then the state police start writing tickets every day, who is in the wrong – the state police, or you for violating the speed limit [whether you agree with the speed limit or not]? Craig T, not sure that everything is government overreach – I doubt the many residents in the are would think enforcing the existing zoning rule(s) is overreach. That’s why we have zoning, so people know what may or may not be allowed in a given area. It is especially important to those who live in residential areas to be protected from undesirable usage – imagine no zoning and someone buys land next to a subdivision and puts in a pig farm, or a junkyard. In this case, the neighbors objected to drunken jackasses carrying on (including pissing and crapping outside like animals) til 3am. And yes, Carmel does have a lot of debt – not sure what taxes the GOAT pays, but we can see over and over what happens when a residential area starts to go downhill (read: Indianapolis near east side). It becomes a downward spiral that is pretty ugly. Donald H – seriously?

    1. Since when does allowing bars turn a place into “San Francisco?” San Francisco has the most restrictive zoning laws in the country. It’s a terrible example for you. Houston has no zoning laws and is perfectly fine.

  9. One last comment before I leave this article alone:
    America: LaNd Of CaPiTaLisM
    Also America: crazy zoning rules in most cities, crazy NIMBYism, food production is HEAVILY subsidized and planned by the feds, c

    We would definitely be better off as a country if we stopped acting like socialists and stopped trying to plan the economy like the Soviets.

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