Stonington issues violation notice to Handlebar Cafe

StoningtonFirst Selectman Ed Haberek has said that the town has issued a notice of violation to Handlebar Cafe for erecting an illegal sign and set of large handlebars over the entrance to the Route 1 bar as part of its reality television show makeover.

Haberek said the bar owner has met with town officials and agreed to take down the handlebars and file an application for the sign and alternate use for the handlebars.

Two weeks ago, Planning and Zoning Commission member John Prue accused the town of employing a double standard by allowing the bar to put up a new sign without first getting a permit, as is normally required.

But Haberek, who is the town’s acting director of planning, had said the Handlebar was in a unique situation because the point of the Spike TV show “Bar Rescue” is to surprise the public with the makeover. He said there were contractual requirements between the show and 201 S. Broad St. bar regarding the secrecy of the changes.

As part of the makeover, “Bar Rescue” painted a new, large mural on the side of Handlebar Cafe and erected a pair of large handlebars on an overhang over the front entrance. The mural requires a sign permit while the handlebars are not allowed because of safety concerns.

— Joe Wojtas

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