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Cardroom at former Napa restaurant to go before city planners

Cardroom at former Napa restaurant to go before city planners


The proposal to create Napa’s first card room in more than a decade will be reviewed by city land-use authorities on Thursday.

The Planning Commission will discuss Ace & Vine, a combination card-playing parlor and restaurant operators hope to open inside the building at 505 Lincoln Ave. that housed Compadres Rio Grille until that eatery closed in February.

Plans filed with the city call for dividing the space into a 4,715-square-foot restaurant and a 2,192-square-foot card room, which would offer pai gow, poker, Texas hold ’em, baccarat and blackjack.

Applicants Gabe Pattee and Mike LeBlanc are seeking to open Ace & Vine using the same city card-club license long held by Hemphill’s Card Room, which did business on California Boulevard for more than three decades before closing in 2005.

For their new card parlor, LeBlanc and Pattee are asking for license changes that would increase the maximum number of card tables in use from five to nine, with 15 guests allowed at each table instead of 10. The operators also seek to lift a ban on consuming alcohol inside a card room, although the business would still be required to turn away anyone seeking to play while visibly intoxicated.

Twelve gaming tables would be installed at the Lincoln Avenue building, but at least three would be covered and inactive at all times, city senior planner Michael Allen wrote in a pre-meeting memorandum.

Both the card room and restaurant would operate 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Visitors younger than 21 would be allowed into the eatery but kept out of the card parlor.

In a June interview with the Napa Valley Register, LeBlanc called a card room the key to paying for needed repairs and upkeep at the former Compadres, which sits on a 1.76-acre parcel and includes a deck facing the Napa River.

While LeBlanc expected about 70 percent of Ace & Vine’s operations to be centered on its restaurant, bar and patio, “the card room provides the financial engine to make the repairs, improvements and reopen to the public,” he said at the time.

The card room project also will go before the Napa City Council, and also requires approval from the state Board of Gambling Control.

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Public Safety Reporter

Howard Yune covers public safety for the Napa Valley Register. He has been a reporter and photographer for the Register since 2011, and previously wrote for the Marysville Appeal-Democrat, Anaheim Bulletin and Coos Bay (Oregon) World.

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