Round Rock almost maxed out on the number of bars allowed in downtown district

Williamson County

ROUND ROCK, Texas (KXAN) — You won’t see too many more bars opening in downtown Round Rock.

The city has almost reached a self-imposed limit for development there.

This week a new bar called The Flats opened its doors at the corner of Mays Street and Liberty Avenue. Owner Michelle Ly worked for 10 months to convert a building that previously housed a convenience store and a photography studio into a fun nightlife space with arcade games and a large outdoor patio.

“You can see the Round Rock water tower from here, so it’s a very Round Rock feel,” Ly said.

She grew up in Round Rock, and her bar coming in alongside other businesses nearby is now changing the “quiet” downtown she once knew.

“With the bars coming in, it definitely offers a nightlife to Round Rock, which, in years past, Round Rock was not known for nightlife at all. With the bars and downtown, Round Rock can now compete with that, and people don’t have to leave Round Rock to have nightlife.”

She agrees, however, with the city’s moves to limit that change.

Two years ago, the Round Rock City Council capped the number of bars allowed in downtown at 12.

Ly’s business, The Flats, leaves room for only more bar in the area, but the city said that spot is reserved for a bar that the new public library will displace. City leaders made this initial deal to limit the number of bars in downtown for the people who still live near this growing area.

“I think that was smart of the city to do that to say, ‘Hey, we understand.
We do like the additional business coming in, but at the same time we understand you guys have been here for decades and generations,’
” Ly said, “and that was their compromise.”

The City of Round Rock sent a statement to KXAN Thursday regarding downtown and the entertainment options available there.

“Downtown Round Rock continues to be an exciting destination for our growing population, with new options for dining, shopping and entertainment. We are also proud to host many family-friendly events downtown that bring our community together in the heart of our city. We’ve worked diligently over the years to maintain an environment downtown that makes it both business-friendly and a great place to live.”

The overall growth downtown has impressed frequent visitors, like Marla Taylor-Landers from Leander.

“It’s cute, and it’s got a lot of shops here,” Taylor-Landers said Thursday. “It’s really coming along very nicely. It’s beautiful, a beautiful area.”

The City of Round Rock passed changes to its downtown noise ordinance, which took effect in April after complaints from neighbors who live near downtown. It does not allow noise above 50 decibels, measured at the property line, after 10 p.m. during the week and after midnight on the weekend. The daytime noise limit has also been lowered from 80 decibels to 75. 

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