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Lake Placid business owner seeks OK for new nightclub

LAKE PLACID — A local businessowner has asked for authorization to operate a nightclub on Main Street, and the town-village Joint Review Board has set a public hearing on the request.

Sonja Barney, the owner of Bowlwinkles, a bowling alley and family fun center, submitted an application to the review board asking for authorization to operate a new nightclub inside her Main Street building. The club would be called “The Other Side.” Barney has also requested permission to repaint the building and the business’s existing signs black and red and to update the signs to include the new club’s name.

The public hearing is slated for Wednesday, Aug. 18. The board’s meeting starts at 5:30 p.m., and the public hearing will be on its agenda.

It appears The Other Side is already open. A soft opening was advertised on July 3, and photos of people at the club have been posted on the business’s social media pages. The Building & Planning Department is working with Barney to bring the business into compliance, according to Code Enforcement Officer Michael Orticelle.

Because of capacity restrictions related to the coronavirus pandemic, Bowlwinkles could not open its arcade or bouncy houses for over a year, according to Barney’s application. For some time, only a portion of its bar seats could be used, and only half of its bowling lanes. When the weather got colder and there was nowhere for bowlers to sit and wait for their lanes, they decided to clear out the arcade and turn it into a lounge. They eventually added a bar. Now, Barney is seeking permission to use that space as a lounge in the day and as a nightclub at night. She hopes to also be able to host some private events there.

“Some nights we will close by midnight, some nights 3 a.m.,” the application reads.

During the review board’s July 21 meeting, Chairman Rick Thompson asked Barney if the business had a full sound system.

“Yeah, pretty much,” she said. “It’s kind of like a juke box with a sound system attached to it.”

Thompson asked if the bowling alley would be open while the club is open.

Barney said the bowling alley would be open for part of time toward the beginning of the night. There might be some instances when the bowling alley is open a bit later, she said, like when the business hosts special nights for service industry workers.

Thompson asked if Barney planned to do some soundproofing. She said the new club area is at the center of the building with the bowling alley in the back. She added that there haven’t been issues with noise in the past.

The review board asked Barney to notify neighbors of her application and set the public hearing.

Barney, reached by phone Monday, declined to comment for this story.

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