Carmel City Council gives The GOAT a ‘second chance’ by approving rezone request


The Carmel City Council voted 7-1 on March 7 to approve rezoning for the site of The GOAT, which paves the way for the tavern to begin the process of reopening.

The tavern has been closed since April 2021 after Carmel’s board of zoning appeals denied a use variance for it to operate on a residentially zoned site. Since then, a judge ordered the BZA to take another look at the matter, but the petitioner decided to seek a rezone instead, which the Carmel Plan Commission approved in December.

The rezone from residential to business comes with a list of extensive commitments, which include ending outdoor service by 7 p.m. daily and moving all patrons indoors by 7:45 p.m., ending alcohol service at 11:30 p.m. Sundays to Thursdays and 12:30 a.m. Fridays and Saturdays and closing the facility 30 minutes later, and establishing a hotline for neighbors to report concerns and complaints, which will be reported to the city weekly for the first three months of operations.

“This is not a perfect situation, but I’m going to trust that the operator will abide by these commitments, that we can still provide an entertainment venue that is reasonable in Carmel and not what we had (previously). Therefore I’m going to give you a second chance,” Carmel City Councilor Jeff Worrell said during the meeting to Kevin Paul, owner of The GOAT, and his team.

Councilor Tim Hannon cast the lone vote against the rezone, saying he was not convinced that a tavern is an appropriate use adjacent to a residential neighborhood.

The site at 220 2nd St. SW previously housed Bub’s Cafe, which was permitted to operate there through a use variance limiting its hours to between 7 a.m. and 2 p.m. City officials said they inadvertently overlooked the variance when they approved plans for the tavern, which opened in July 2020.

Soon after opening, the city began receiving complaints about noise late into the night and patrons trespassing on adjacent residential property to urinate and vomit. The GOAT’s owner worked with city officials to address the problems, and complaints decreased before the BZA vote caused the tavern to cease operations.

Paul worked with an architect in recent months to address many of the complaints by enclosing much of the open space and adding restrooms. Construction to enclose the open space and add restrooms will be complete before the tavern is permitted to reopen.

  • The Carmel City Council’s approval of The GOAT’s rezone is based on its ownership committing to:

    • Expand and enclose portions of the building, subject to city approval, before resuming business operations.
    • End outside and pergola patio food and bar service at 7 p.m. daily and remove patrons from the outdoor area by 7:45 p.m.; the city’s director of community services may periodically review outdoor services to determine whether it needs to become enclosed.
    • Maintain a hotline for neighbors to call to report concerns and provide a weekly report to the city council regarding calls to the hotline for the first three months.
    • Prohibit grab and go service and require patrons to consume purchased alcohol on the property.
    • End alcohol service at 11:30 p.m. Sundays through Thursdays and 12:30 a.m. Fridays, Saturdays and holidays and close the facility 30 minutes thereafter. If a majority of other restaurants that service alcohol within a two-block radius adopt earlier closing hours, The GOAT will adjust its hours.
    • Prohibit outdoor speakers.