HUNTINGTON - A new bar is coming to 4th Avenue, but don't expect to get in if you are under 25 years old.
That's because owner Charon Reese wants to attract a more mature crowd, providing space for those who seek a calm environment, free from blaring music and rowdiness.
Reese presented her concept Tuesday night to members of the Huntington Board of Zoning Appeals, which unanimously approved granting her a special permit. Board members earlier had expressed a reluctance to approve opening new bars downtown, but were reassured by Reese's promise that her bar will be a private establishment.
The bar will be called Kulture, located at 1113 4th Ave. It will have live bands on certain nights, karaoke, Wi-Fi, seven TV screens and an Xbox Live setup.
Reese, 40, said she got the idea to open her own bar for the older crowd after having trouble finding places for her band to play.
"It's a Huntington-based band. However, I am the youngest member," Reese said. "We never have anywhere to go. There are always kids there and they are always naked and twerking. I wanted to have somewhere comfortable to go for people 25 and older."
The difference between a private bar and a public bar was defined by the Secretary of State's Office's business licensing division, Reese said. Private bars are allowed to lock their doors, enforce dress codes and require a buzzer to get in and out. There will be no membership to get into Kulture, but its patrons do have to adhere to the age restriction.
"I wanted to keep the young people farther down from our spot," Reese said. "We designated it as a private club so we could control who comes in and out."
The bar also will have posted security guards and security cameras once it is opened.
Reese said one of the factors behind opening the bar is to generate more income to supplement other programs she's creating. She's raised seven children who were left behind by parents battling drug addictions.
"I understand Huntington has a lot of drug programs, but I want to do more for the children who are being left behind. I actually have one right now," she said. "I would like to generate more income so I can do that. If I get the bar going, I could do more for the programs I have set in place for the children."
Board member Howard Anderson said he was opposed to opening more bars downtown, but was reassured that it was a private establishment.
Board member Lee Canup said she was concerned the bar would disturb a tabletop card gaming business located next door. However, Reese said she's talked to them and they are excited to come into her bar and play video games. A nearby video game store closed more than a year ago.
"I don't want the rap music banging in my ears. I just want to have a calm location," she said. "Everyone who I know and who I come in contact with all agree there's nowhere for us to be."
City Planner Shae Strait said businesses and apartments within a 400-foot radius were notified that the bar is coming. No one called the city to speak out against it and no one spoke out against it during Tuesday's meeting.
Also during the meeting, board members approved giving a special permit for the Elks of the USA to open a private bar at its 3rd Avenue building. The bar would only be for its members and the members' guests.
They also approved rezoning the Quicksilver Arcade Bar at Pullman Square. The storefront had been zoned as a restaurant before Max and Erma's restaurant closed late last year. Since then, the arcade bar moved in but hasn't opened its kitchen yet. Owner Benjamin Morgan said he will serve food once getting equipment and permits squared away.
Travis Crum is a reporter for The Herald-Dispatch. He may be reached by phone at 304-526-2801.