January 22, 2014 - A entrepreneur's idea for a bring-your-own-booze art studio in downtown Clarkston was denied by Clarkston City Council, Jan. 13, but proprietor Leanna Haun said she isn't giving up.
Haun wants to open Picasso's Grapevine, a studio that would allow patrons to bring in beer and wine. The studio would provide art instruction and supplies--the alcohol is part of marketing and a nice incentive for customers, she said.
City resident Tom Stone asked what precedence it would set to approve such a business.
"Does this mean visitors to the café or the bakery can bring in a bottle of wine," asked Stone.
Councilwoman Sharron Catallo asked who would check identification to verify patrons are old enough to drink.
"I would," said Haun.
She added that although patrons can bring in their own alcohol, they are usually so busy listening to instructions and painting that they don't drink a lot.
Haun said while at the studio most people are so busy they often forget all about their drink, so they end up not drinking that much.
If opened Haun said she would welcome private parties as well as birthday, bachelorette, church groups, family reunions, junior leagues, sororities, girl scouts, Red Hat Ladies or whoever else wants to come.
Haun said alcoholic beverages will never be permitted when children's classes are being held.
City Manager Carol Eberhardt said the Michigan Liquor Control Commission (MLCC) has no jurisdiction over businesses like Picasso's Grapevine and the decision has been left up to individual communities.
City Attorney Tom Ryan said although the MLCC has no jurisdiction to deny such a business, it is an issue local police can enforce.
Similar establishments have been opened in communities like Ferndale. Other communities have said no to similar types of businesses.
Mayor Joe Luginski said he believed the business would be a nice venue for the city. Although Luginski said he was not against the idea—he voted no during the meeting.
Haun said visitors to downtown waiting in line for a restaurant can a come in and paint a small painting that will only take about 45 minutes to complete.
"It will give people something to do if they have a long wait," she said.
Councilwoman Peg Roth, who was absent during the meeting, said she would have no problem approving the business.
Staff writer covering Independence Township and Clarkston area.