The Camel won approval from the city Planning Commission today to allow bands to play until 2 a.m. any night of the week.
The West Broad Street music venue's request now goes before City Council for final consideration.
Twenty supporters spoke at a public hearing, including musicians, fans and staff members at the bar and restaurant, which currently must stop music at 11 p.m. from Monday to Thursday and 1 a.m. on Fridays and Saturdays.
“It doesn’t sound like a big deal, but for someone who is a professional musician, ... this extra hour, I’ve seen how it can effect how much money I can make there as a business, and I’m one person,” said Adrianne Ciucci, a member of the Southern Belles, which plays shows at the venue.
Owner Rand Burgess says that the limited hours have prevented him from booking certain acts because headlining bands typically want to start their set between 11 p.m. and midnight. Earlier shows don’t bring in as much revenue, he says.
Supporters say the Camel has served as an incubator for the city’s growing music scene, and more than that is just a great place to hang out. “I don’t like seeing drunken buffoons falling all over the place,” one patron told the commission. “It’s a place where I can go have one or two beers and not feel like I’m in a room full of debauchery.”
More than one supporter invited the commission to come out to a show, where they promised to treat the board members to a good time.
Two residents and one lawyer spoke against approving the request. The primary objections came from Dan Shorkey, who owns and lives in the apartment above the tanning salon next door.
Likewise, city staff members who reviewed Burgess' application recommended the commission deny the request. The staff members wrote that under the new rules, the Camel would qualify as a night club, a use that's not permitted on the block under the city's master plan.
City Council’s next meeting is July 14.