Janesville64.7°

Corvina's closes; new bar may open in same location

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FRANK J. SCHULTZ
September 1, 2009
— A downtown bar that attracted unfavorable attention in recent months apparently is closed, and the building's owners are looking to reopen it under new management.

The city declared the liquor license for Corvina's bar null and void on Aug. 20, city Clerk/Treasurer Jean Wulf said.


The city received a letter on that date from Amir Sharifi, who was a partner with Janelle Barlass in running Corvina's. The letter stated that Sharifi is no longer a partner in the enterprise.


If ownership of a bar changes by more than 20 percent, the liquor license automatically is voided, Wulf said.


Corvina's has not been open for more than a week.


Owners of the building at 123 E. Milwaukee Street, Fred Shahlapour and Jaleh Dabiri, have applied for a liquor license. Their request goes to the city's Alcohol License Advisory Committee this morning.


Dabiri and Shahlapour had leased the bar to Barlass and Sharifi. Now the owners want to take over the operation, Dabiri said.


Dabiri said she hopes to receive the bar's keys from Barlass soon.


Dabiri said she would consider leasing the bar to a new operator or take it over herself. A new name has not been chosen.


"My intention is to run a clean, decent bar that people can enjoy and be safe and that will be an addition to the community," Dabiri said.


Dabiri and Shahlapour bought the building in the middle 1990s when the bar was known as the London Pub. They ran it for years as the Hilltop Café, a bar and restaurant. They later leased it to people who ran it as Karma's in 2007, and then leased it to Barlass and a partner last year. Sharifi entered the picture later.


Police brought concerns to the alcohol license committee when the committee renewed the bar's license in May.


Police said they saw or received complaints from neighbors about crowds gathering outside the bar, violent behavior and underage drinking.


Barlass told the committee she was being unfairly targeted because of her clientele, which included many black people. Police strongly denied that was the case, saying they target behavior, not skin color.


Police reported to the committee Aug. 4 that conditions had improved, and Barlass said she had increased security.


But Shahlapour and Dabiri started an eviction process, which apparently will not continue, as Barlass is no longer operating the bar.


Barlass' failure to pay her bills was one reason for the eviction, Shahlapour said earlier. Barlass was arrested Aug. 21 on a charge of writing a worthless check for $5,000. Police are investigating an additional bad-check complaint, this one for $6,925.



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