MacDowell’s Beach is Back

The beach at MacDowell Brew Kitchen is back open, thanks to some cajoling by council members and leniency by town staff.

Owner Gordon MacDowell said he got the news in a phone call from Mayor Dave Butler late Friday afternoon.

“I got the call at 4:30 or 4:40,” MacDowell said. “I was like, are you serious?”

The sandy outdoor bar, known to regulars as “the beach,” has been closed since July 12 while MacDowell Brew Kitchen makes improvements on-site and builds proffered sidewalks and storm drainage off-site.

[Read more about the snafu here.]

“There’s enthusiasm on the council,” said Butler. “A majority of council was willing to consider having him open again, but really the authority lies with town staff and not the council, because this is a court order, and the council can’t just vote to countermand a court order.”

The authority to allow the beach to open, he said, lies with the zoning administrator and town attorney, who decided to bend.

“Gordon had done a lot of work in trying to get at least as many of the items as they could, and one of the things we said to Gordon is, there absolutely can’t be a safety hazard,” Butler said.

The beach was open Friday night, and will be open Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays while work is ongoing, including for First Friday. Butler said he stopped by Friday evening to see the regulars.

“What stunned me was how many people were there, when Gordon only knew he was going to be open about three hours before,” Butler said, estimating over 100 people were there.

“It’s really good people that came last night and always come, so we’re very thrilled to be reopened, MacDowell said.

rgreene@loudounnow.com
@RenssGreene