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Asylum Restaurant Opens in East Atlanta

Despite controversy over liquor license, Asylum features full bar and promises live entertainment.

The Asylum Restaurant & Lounge, the East Atlanta bar that hit a bit of controversy over its plans for live entertainment and liquor sales, opened this weekend.

And though its license allows it to sell beer, wine and hard liquor, the Asylum plans to have live entertainment, which seems to contradict city rules that regulate such sales.

City codes allow an establishment to have live entertainment and sell beer and wine. But if that establishment wants to sell hard liquors like whiskey and vodka and have live entertainment, it can't be within 300 feet of the nearest residential property.

Entertainment is defined as a live performance by any person or persons, whether they're musicians, dancers or otherwise on the property of the liquor licensed establishment.

Jonathan Hammond, the Asylum's general manager, told East Atlanta Patch Sunday the bar has the go-ahead from the city to operate and have live entertainment with liquor.

The 300-feet rule is measured from the front door, Hammond said.

The Asylum property, which is at 543 Flat Shoals Ave., sits roughly between May and Stokeswood avenues. It abuts a single-family house at 568 Stokeswood.

When questioned at a _, Brian Michael Sawyer, Asylum's owner, said his bar exceeds the 300-foot requirement, measuring front door to front door.

But NPU-W challenged those measurements, .

NPU-W voted against approving Sawyer's request for support of his liquor license application with the city, saying it did not meet the 300-foot standard.

"Not according to the city and state," Hammond countered, saying some NPU-W members have already dined there. "Everything got cleared. That was the city's decision."

Nevertheless, Ed Gilgor, NPU-W chairman, said Asylum still must comply with the ordinance's ban on live entertainment if it is selling hard liquors.

"I'm thrilled they're open," Gilgor told Patch. "I understand their food is excellent and I'm confident they'll comply with the ordinance."

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