More than a month after the owners of The GOAT tavern agreed to a lengthy list of commitments they must follow to be allowed to remain open past 2 p.m., some neighbors say they are still experiencing trespassing by bar patrons and other issues while others have seen improvement and believe the establishment is a benefit to the area.
The GOAT opened in a building at 220 2nd St. SW that previously housed Bub’s Cafe. The cafe received a variance to operate in a residentially zoned area if it limited its hours to between 7 a.m. and 2 p.m., but city officials say they inadvertently overlooked the variance — which still applies to the site — when they approved plans for the tavern.
The tavern opened in July 2020, and soon after, city officials began receiving complaints from neighbors about loud noise late into the night, urination and vomiting on adjacent private property and other issues. In December, the city ordered The GOAT to abide by the existing variance but reversed course two days later, allowing the tavern to operate past 2 p.m. if it reduced its hours, provided security to prevent many of the recurring problems and agreed to several other measures.
Alan Cohen, who owns the home adjacent to The GOAT on 2nd St. SW, said matters improved at first but that trespassing has become a problem again. Security cameras on his home have captured footage of people urinating and vomiting on his property in recent weeks.
“(The GOAT’s owner) has shown no indication he’s capable of controlling the situation, either by not serving people so they get so drunk they’ll do these crazy things or having the proper kind of facilities that can handle apparently what’s going on over there,” said Cohen, whose primary home is elsewhere.
Kevin Paul, owner of The GOAT, did not respond to a request for comment as of press time.
Others with homes in the area say they’ve seen The GOAT make progress to become a better neighbor and enjoy having it as part of the community.
Pete Hilger, CEO of Allied Solutions, lives in Florida but when in Carmel stays in an apartment in The Railyard, which is across the Monon Greenway from his company’s headquarters and just south of The GOAT. He said he’s enjoyed spending time at The GOAT and that it’s the kind of establishment needed to help draw young professionals to the area.
“The one thing we need to do is figure out a way we can attract people we can hire. There’s just not enough people applying for jobs right now,” Hilger said. “Is The GOAT why people are all going to come work for us? No, but it’s bars and restaurants like The GOAT, Sun King and Fork + Ale.”
Carmel Mayor Jim Brainard said he is still hearing of a few issues generated by activities at The GOAT but that the volume of complaints has significantly dropped.
“I think they’re trying hard. They need to continue to work on a few things, but overall, I think they’ve expressed a great willingness and demonstrated a willingness by the changes they’ve made to be a good neighbor in the Midtown area,” he said.
City councilor Jeff Worrell is not as convinced. He said he is frustrated to see that the same problems continue to happen, even with The GOAT closing earlier.
“I falsely believed this was an after 1 o’clock in the morning problem, but the videos I’m seeing now are at 10 o’clock, so that’s another concern for me,” said Worrell, one of two councilors who initially met with Paul in December to discuss commitments.
The Carmel Board of Zoning Appeals is set to discuss a proposed variance for The GOAT at a virtual meeting set for 6 p.m. Jan. 25.