SNOWMASS VILLAGE - The Local Liquor Authority on Feb. 11 approved a common drinking area in Base Village Plaza to be managed by four surrounding restaurants.
Sneaky's Tavern, Base Camp Bar and Grill, Slice, and Burger Bar and Fish submitted a joint application to designate the area under the entertainment district ordinance approved by the Town Council last fall. The approval will allow patrons to pour their drinks into specific cups and carry them into the plaza during the events, the first of which is Feb. 16.
Much of the discussion centered around the insurance for the events, which include two Aspen Skiing Co.-sponsored concerts and a closing-day party. Base Village Co. Inc., which owns the common area in the plaza, is allowing the promotional association to use the space on the condition that it is included on the insurance policy.
However, the Capitol Peak Homeowners' Association wants to be listed as "additional insured" on the policy.
"They want to make sure they're protected, and the promotional association has agreed to do that," Simecek said. "The control and safety is their biggest concern. Being listed as additional insured is one piece of that."
The promotional association is not required by town ordinance to have additional insurance for surrounding properties, Town Attorney John Dresser said.
"The council did not see fit to include that as a requirement," he said.
Another concern for the homeowners was the entrance and exit points of the area, including onto their property.
"Well, of course we have to do something for insuring the ingress and egress," as well as the restrooms on the plaza, said Scott Calliham, owner of Base Camp and Slice. Calliham also responded to a question from a board member that those restrooms would be adequate for the events, scheduled for a short period during apres-ski hours.
Dresser said the merchants have done these events before in the plaza and that the concerts have already been approved by the Planning Department. Patrons in the past were able to purchase beer at a tent supplied by an outside provider and drink those in the plaza.
The difference with this application is that "alcohol has to come from licensed premises, not an outside provider," Dresser said.
He also explained that the establishments are liable for incidents off the plaza, such as an overserved guest driving and having an accident, in the same way they already are as a licensed premises.
"Really ... it makes their premises bigger," Dresser said. "It's really in their best interest to ensure that this is a civilized affair."
Patrons will not be allowed to drink in the plaza after 6:30 p.m. when the approved event is over, Dresser said. Because of the time of year, most people will probably move inside anyway, Calliham said.
Guests legally allowed to drink will be given wristbands, too.
"Anyone without a wristband would not be served," said Glen Wood, president of the promotional association and manager of Sneaky's Tavern.
Smoking of any substance will still be banned according to town ordinance. Security officials are expected to enforce that and can notify Snowmass police if patrons don't comply, Dresser said.
The town is an additional insured as required by ordinance.
"You take out a family of four, you're over," said Liquor Authority member Phil McKeague.
Calliham said that by his understanding, the common consumption area is "just an extension of each one of our licensed premises, and they overlap.
"We are really under the same obligation where if we overserved Dad and he loads up his family. ... That's something that's certainly possible, just from owning a bar. That's an obligation we have to be aware of."
Any similar events with the same timeframe and the same management plan could be added to the permit administratively, Dresser told the board. However, if it's a different timeframe, such as an event in the summer that would most likely run later, the merchants would have to come before the board again.
"Frankly, I think one of the things we've discussed is whether this is financially in our best interest," Calliham said. "(It's) in the interest of a more enjoyable guest experience. I don't see this turning into a free-for-all."
"I commend you guys for trying to add vitality," board member Deidre Boineau said.
The Liquor Authority approved the permit unanimously on the condition that all four participating restaurants submit their proof of insurance by Feb. 15 at noon, ahead of the first concert on the license, which is Easy Star All-Stars at 3 p.m. Feb. 16. The other concert, by Brett Dennen, is 5 p.m. March 22, and the closing party is scheduled for April 14.