Sidecar Slider Bar was unanimously approved at the Birmingham city commission meeting on Monday, June 24, to take some of the space from adjacent Mexican restaurant Rojo in order for it to expand its seating.
Sidecar Slider Bar and Rojo, 250 and 280 E. Merrill Street in downtown Birmingham, are both owned by Stephen Simon, and share a Class C liquor license and kitchen. By city ordinance, in order to change the configuration of the two restaurants, Simon had to request a special land use permit amendment.
Planning director Jana Ecker explained that there is a wall between the two restaurants. Sidecar is long and narrow, she explained, with Rojo a larger restaurant. While the exterior walls would stay the same, the wall between the two spaces would shorten, allowing more tables and chairs to be added to the Sidecar space.
“The kitchen and restrooms stay the same,” Ecker said. “The outdoor dining stays,” although Sidecar will add to its outdoor seating, from 12 current outdoor seats to 36, while Rojo will drop from 22 outdoor seats to eight, for a total of 44, up from 34.
Indoors, the expansion will add 50 new floor seats, in the form five booths and seven tables, as well as six new bar seats, to Sidecar, while subtracting 48 seats from Rojo. There are a current total of 220 seats between the two restaurants; there will be 223 when the renovation is complete.
“The menus will stay the same in both places,” Simon said. “We're just trying to make Sidecar more family-friendly and even out the seating.”
Commissioners approved the request, 6-0, with commissioner Andy Harris absent.