for Montclair Local

Montclair Social Club owner Jason Miller is remodeling his 499-501 Bloomfield Ave. business and wants to expand his liquor license to include the second floor and a sidewalk café at 499-501 Bloomfield Ave. 

Miller, and his Roseland-based attorney Doug Sherman, appeared before the Mayor and Council at the Feb. 4 conference meeting to ask the governing body for approval. 

A resolution to approve the expansion could be on the next council meeting agenda.  

“The property owner [Dick Grabowsky] has new space leasing upstairs. We’re seeking to expand the liquor license to include the second floor for event space and to cover sidewalk space,” said Sherman. 

Miller said the permit for a sidewalk café has been issued, but he needs the expanded liquor license in order to serve alcohol there as well as in the upstairs space. The outdoor dining will include seven tables and seating for 24. 

“Before we opened, we planned to have an event space. The construction process is under way and 98 percent of the permits have been approved. The design renderings show that as you enter upstairs, the wall on the left is at Bloomfield Avenue, and at the rear of space we incorporate the original deejay booth which was there when this was a nightclub,” Miller said. 

The second floor will be used strictly for events not restaurant use, he noted, adding that It can accommodate weddings, bar and bat mitzvahs, birthday parties and charitable functions. “When we did the original buildout, we put in staircases connecting the downstairs kitchen to an upstairs finishing kitchen so it’s seamless,” Miller said.

Event occupancy could be for 60 to 200, and the club will provide catering. 

The Planning Board approved the renovations on Feb. 26, 2018. Miller said he is in phase two of renovations, and that the use is not nearly as intensive as the 15,000 square foot property’s  pre-existing use.

Occupying a space that was vacant for a decade after Rascals Comedy Club closed, Montclair Social Club opened in 2018. It was marketed as a supper club and lounge with live entertainment and a speakeasy vibe.

Township attorney Ira Karasick recused himself from the discussion since he has done business with the property owner.