OGDEN -- For Earnest McKown, guitar, drums and bass have never sounded so sweet.
After months of battling it out with Ogden city over whether live music should be allowed at his Paris Cafe social hall, live acts are now steadily filling his venue each weekend.
Located in what had long been an abandoned storefront in the Harrison Shopping Plaza near 32nd Street and Harrison Boulevard, the Paris Cafe offers live music from local and regional acts on Friday and Saturday evenings. The venue does not allow alcohol and targets teens and younger adults.
The road to filling his space with hundreds of clapping hands and stomping feet each weekend has been a long one.
"It's been quite the process, but we've finally got live acts coming in here consistently," McKown said.
In late October 2012, after McKown filed a petition to change the city's definition of a lodge or social hall, the city council voted to uphold a recommendation by the city's planning commission to deny changing a zoning ordinance so it would allow live bands, dancing and other entertainment at his venue.
After the first denial and some subsequent prodding from McKown, a request came from the council for the city to create clearer definitions and standards for approval for the lodge and social hall uses, and the issue resurfaced.
In March, the council voted to amend city code to provide new definitions to the terms "lodge" and "social hall" to allow their use in C-1, C-2 and C-3 zones on a case-by-case basis and with a city-issued conditional-use permit.
Under the proposal, a social hall can be allowed in the aforementioned zones if the facility features live music at a maximum of only two days per week and closes at 10 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and at midnight Friday and Saturday.
Several other stipulations, such as a ban on alcohol, are required as well.
Although the council decision was a huge victory for McKown, he was then required to submit an application for a conditional-use permit to the city planning commission, lengthening his quest to bring live music to the plaza.
The commission finally gave McKown approval on May 1, and Paris Cafe regulars couldn't be happier.
"I always wanted a place like this, but it never really existed," said Trent Adam, a Kaysville resident. "It brings people in (to Ogden) from other places. I live in Kaysville, but I'll drive up here to see my friends play. It's a really cool and positive environment."
Ogden resident Katherine Jester said the venue provides an alternative means of entertainment for young people in the area.
"A lot of teenagers aren't the sporty type," she said. "So kids can go to the cafe and learn guitar, enjoy the live music, do some painting -- just do something different."
McKown said he would like to eventually expand his operation. He's thinking about approaching the city again, this time asking them to extend the nights he's allowed to feature live music.
"Now we can only have it on the weekends -- and that's great -- but we are losing out on some major revenue-producing opportunities," he said. "We've got some acts that might be coming through Ogden and willing to play here, but they might only be able to do it on a Wednesday or Thursday. So we're having to turn them down."
Until that happens though, McKown says he'll try to keep weekends hopping along Harrison Boulevard.
"We think this is a positive thing for the community," he said. "It gives kids who might not otherwise have a place to go, a pretty good place to go."