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BIRBA Wine Bar Moving Forward Without Patio (For Now)

BIRBA Wine Bar Moving Forward Without Patio (For Now)
Photo: Jared Schwartz/Hoodline
By Rose Garrett - Published on September 25, 2014.
Back in April, we shared the news that BIRBA, a new wine bar with a back patio, was on its way to 458 Grove Street. The project, which comes from former Slanted Door and Bar Jules sommelier Angie Valusti, successfully reached its Kickstarter goal in May, but the project was stalled after running into some permitting issues over the summer. 
Though many were pleased with the idea of an outdoor "wine garden" in back, some neighbors raised concerns over the possibility of late-night noise and activity from the restaurant, and especially the patio, prompting a discretionary review of the project's building permit on September 11th. 

The public meeting earlier this month drew concerned neighbors as well as supporters of the project, including representatives from local businesses like Souvla, Brass Tacks and Oxenrose Salon. Though most of the issues raised had to do with the back patio, the project sponsors clarified that the application had been revised to cover only the interior restaurant space, rendering the patio issue moot for the time being. 

"We are not applying for use of the garden in this application," stated John Hood, the project architect, who noted that "we want to be good neighbors, and our intent is to be a neighborhood restaurant."

All told, the committee unanimously approved BIRBA's plans, with the condition that the patio door be locked during business hours and a community liason be readily available to respond to neighbor complaints. After six months in operation, BIRBA will return to the committee for a review on how things are going, and will then be able to apply for a conditional use permit to operate the patio.

"I am so excited to be in the Hayes Valley neighborhood," Angie told us after passing the permitting hurdle. "I've been dreaming of a space like this for a very long time." 

Though Angie had wanted to be well on her way towards opening BIRBA by now, she says she's now aiming for a winter opening date. We'll keep you posted.