Alder Mark Clear
210 Martin Luther King, Jr. Blvd
Madison, WI 53703
Phone: (608) 266-4071
Fax: (608) 267-8669
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About Little Manhattan
Last week the Council okayed a liquor license renewal with a number of conditions for Little Manhattan on Odana Road.
Since opening in February, Little Manhattan, a karaoke and pool bar, has had several troubling incidents:
- On March 17, the establishment held a private party, was over capacity and was selling hard alcohol (they are licensed for beer and wine only). Police closed the bar, but a fight broke out in the parking lot before the crowd dispersed. Some of the same crowd was later linked to gunfire in the Park Edge neighborhood.
- On May 11, a DJ night ended up with two people shot (one inside, one in the parking lot).
After the March incident, the district police captain, an assistant city attorney and I met with the manager to discuss what happened and outline ways to prevent further trouble. Unfortunately, the manager did not follow all of our recommendations, resulting in the May 11 incident.
After the May incident, I took immediate action to separate out their liquor license renewal which was due on June 30. At the same time, the city attorney's office filed a complaint for non-renewal.
After an initial hearing before the city's Alcohol License Review Commission, the city attorney and the owner's attorney worked out a settlement with a number of conditions for renewal that include increased security measures and an earlier closing time.
I reluctantly but hopefully supported the renewal with these conditions. If the management complies, I believe Little Manhattan can operate safely and be an asset to the neighborhood. However, if the conditions are violated, I will not hesitate to do everything I can to close it down.
Nothing is more important to me than the safety of our neighborhoods. The location of Little Manhattan has a troubled history of a series of nightclubs that were closed down by the city, the last in 2007 shortly after I came into office. In the interim, the building has been empty and has been a blight on an otherwise very vital and active retail area. When Little Manhattan was proposed last year, I cautiously supported the license, hoping that a new business model could be safe and sustainable at this location. So far that hasn't worked so well, but the city is giving it one more chance. I hope this time can be successful.
I welcome your questions and comments about this or any other city issue. Please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or 608-695-5709.
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