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Emily Hartley, Forum staff writer, Published June 15 2010

Empire Tavern gets approval for outdoor concerts

An effort to broaden the scope of entertainment in downtown Fargo is a step closer to fruition.

The Fargo City Commission approved a request Monday by Empire Tavern Downtown for an extension of the city’s noise ordinance to 11 p.m. on nine nights throughout the summer for outdoor concerts.

Empire Tavern owner Jeremy Tjon said the bar at 424 Broadway plans to host concerts for “Cruisin Broadway” events on the first Thursday of every month and during the Downtown Street Fair and the weeks when students return to area college campuses.

He said he checked with tenants living in the Empire Tavern building before making the request because city ordinance calls for “reasonable” noise levels between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m.

Tjon sees the concerts as an opportunity to bring more people downtown, and with the end of last year’s Thursday-night outdoor concerts at the American Legion, which the city allowed to run until 11 p.m., he hopes to fill a missing niche.

“I was just asking for the same because the precedent had already been set,” Tjon said. “We’re just trying to give downtown a different venue with a little music.”

Jed Pahan of the Downtown Community Partnership said the Empire Tavern’s concerts will add to the partnership’s continued efforts to boost attendance at downtown events.

“It’ll be a great addition,” he said. “Outdoor music always is a positive thing that people enjoy – more options for bringing people downtown.”

In addition to “Cruisin’ Broadway,” the DCP has promoted a handful of other downtown events, including “Corks and Canvas: Art and Wine Walks” and the continuation of the Fargo Downtowner, a website that represents downtown businesses and provides a retail and walking map of the area.

With other downtown events already lined up, Tjon said the Empire Tavern’s concerts will help attract more and different types of people to the area.

“There is no outdoor venue right now besides ours,” he said.

Readers can reach Forum reporter Emily Hartley at (701) 241-5583