New tavern to replace Westrums

A group of Kingfield residents plans to turn the defunct Westrum’s Tavern at 4415 Nicollet Ave. into a new restaurant and bar called Driftwood Tavern.

Roughly 40 neighborhood residents showed up at a public hearing about the new establishment’s liquor license application July 18 at Martin Luther King Park. Many were concerned that the new business would revive the loud noise, drug dealing and other problems they say subsided when Westrum’s closed.

The city shut down Westrum’s because of those issues and numerous liquor license violations. Kingfield residents and business partners Heidi Fields and Bryce Anderson purchased the business and property and brought on neighborhood resident Bob Damberger as a cook. Fields said their establishment would be managed better than Westrum’s was.

According to their license conditions, the business would:

Close at 1 a.m. daily. Alcohol would be served until 12:30 a.m. daily, food would be offered until 11 p.m. weekdays and midnight on Friday and Saturday. An outdoor seating section would close at 10 p.m. daily.

Maintain a contract with a security company to keep crime off the premises.

Maintain an owner or manager on premises during all business hours.

Not provide any drink specials past 8 p.m.

Fields and city licensing inspector George Pridmore answered questions from hearing attendees for

about an hour before the city’s lead licensing inspector, Linda Roberts, who oversaw the closing of Westrum’s, proposed creating a list of addition license conditions.

Some of the conditions recommended included having another public hearing in three months to discuss the business’ progress, requiring the Tavern to trespass troublemakers and installing speed bumps in the alley behind the restaurant.

Fields hopes to open in August or September. Her license application was expected to go before the City Council’s Public Safety and Regulatory Services Committee July 25. If approved, it would go to the full council Aug. 3.