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Carmel bar at center of controversy moves closer to reopening

CARMEL, Ind. (WISH) — A Carmel bar that has been shut down for almost a year is a step closer to reopening.

The Goat, or the Greatest of all Taverns, has been at the center of controversy since it first opened in 2020.

This week, the Carmel City Council approved a request to rezone the property. It changes the bar from a residential use to a business one.

In Carmel’s Midtown, the Goat closed about a year ago after the city received numerous complaints including loud noise, trespassing on neighboring properties, and people urinating outside the bar.

During that time, the city and the owner discovered the bar had been improperly zoned.

Carmel City Councilor Jeff Worrell voted in favor of the rezone. Worrell said it came with several restrictions, including renovations to the bar such as adding additional restrooms, enclosing the outdoor area, and doing away with outdoor speakers.

“I feel like we’re giving them a second chance, but we really tightened down some restrictive covenants in order to make this work. Very, very different kind of operation than what the Goat was and what we all remember and what turned out to be not what our community wanted,” Worrell said Friday.

Councilor Adam Aasen was on the fence at first, but said, after hearing the updates, he ended up voting “yes” to the rezone.

“I actually voted ‘no’ at the committee level because I wanted to see a little more when it comes to shortening hours and making sure that we really noise-proof the place. So, I really do have to give credit to the petitioner for their willingness to work with the city and their desire to make something that would be a community asset,” Aasen said Friday.

Tim Hannon was the one councilor to vote against the rezone. He said the bar does not belong in the area. He said its reopening could impact not just neighbors but several city departments such as police and code enforcement.

“I’m certainly empathetic to the owners, but what my fellow councilors did is try to put in commitments that hopefully will be met by the owner but here again, back to that square peg in a round hole, had this been a good fit, we wouldn’t have had to do all that work,” Hannon said Friday.

As for what happens next, neighbor Spencer Daymude says only time will tell.

“I think adding more bathrooms will make a difference as that will give people more options to go to the bathroom instead of just running outside when they’re drunk or whatever may happen. I think closing the porch will help somewhat; however, it probably won’t stop many people. It’s just an enclosed porch, and you can just walk outside either way,” Daymude said Friday.

The bar will also have new hours. Alcohol will only be served until 11:30 p.m. Sunday-Thursday and 12:30 a.m. Friday and Saturday. In the past, The Goat was open until 3 a.m., a common closing time for bars.