Downtown San Marcos brewpub construction could begin in January

A restaurant and brewery could come to downtown San Marcos after receiving a permit from the city's Planning and Zoning Commission on Dec. 9.

On Dec. 9 the commission approved the renewal of a permit allowing the sale and consumption of mixed beverages for a restaurant to be built at 150 S. LBJ Drive.

The restaurant, to be called AquaBrew, is being planned by San Marcos resident Carlos Russo. Russo said if the business is able to get a building permit in December, construction will likely start in early 2015, and an opening could follow in the summer.

Russo said the restaurant will employ a brewmaster to create a variety of different beers as well as feature a full menu and rooftop deck.

"[San Marcos' dining scene] has been dominated by the national and regional chains for decades," Russo said. "The economic result is that most of the profits generated by the restaurant industry here are exported out of town, leaving little capital to be reinvested in new restaurants."

Russo said the restaurant's food menu will be curated by three chefs and will feature healthy and indulgent items.

John Hohn is an attorney with an office at 110 E. San Antonio St., about one block from the proposed business. At the Dec. 9 meeting, Hohn said he and his business partner purchased their building in 1991 and spent years building it into a successful law practice. A bar moving in down the street—with potential for live music and loud crowds—could threaten the relative peace of the area, which also houses other businesses, he said.

Hohn said the new restaurant would be similar to Zelick's, a bar that opened in 2011 on West Hopkins Street. Neighbors have said the bar has disturbed the relative quiet of the area.

"We all know what negative effect that type of outdoor venue has on some of its immediate neighbors," Hohn said. "That's what I'm here to prevent and to ask you to apply your reasoning to."

Hohn said he and his neighbors do not object to the property's proposed use as a bar, but outdoor live music was concerning to him.

"It's like a noise shotgun, and it's pointed directly at us," Hohn said.

Hohn suggested P&Z consider requiring the property owner build a noise-deflecting wall to prevent live music from disturbing neighbors.

Justin May owns properties between 151 and 157 S. LBJ Drive. May said he and the businesses in his properties support the proposed brewpub and hope it will lead to a revitalization of the area.

In the first year of business, the restaurant will be allowed to host live music from 11 a.m. to midnight. That can be revisited when the Russo goes before the commission again for a renewal of his permit.

AquaBrew's hours of operation are proposed for Tue.–Thu. 3 p.m.–1 a.m. and Fri.–Sun. 11 a.m.–2 a.m. Food service will run from opening until 11 p.m. each night.


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