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Whitewater bar loses liquor license for summer

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STANLEY B. MILAM
April 26, 2012
— The owner of a Whitewater bar popular with UW-Whitewater students will have to wait until September before alcohol can be sold there.

The Whitewater City Council unanimously approved the suspension of the license issued to Downstairs Sports Bar, 204 W. Main St., based on a unanimous recommendation from the alcohol licensing review committee.


"This is definitely a student issue," said Alderwoman Stephanie Abbott, whose district includes the campus and off-campus student housing. "It's a popular place for students to hang out, especially on the weekends, but the severity of the infractions could not be ignored."


The bar was cited seven times in the 11 months for allowing underage people on the premises.


"We learned that the owner, Robert Sweet, was not there when these incidents occurred, but he is ultimately responsible for what goes on," Abbott said. "In some instances, the bouncers knew the underage students but let them in anyway.


"I voted to suspend the license in committee," she said, "and I would have voted with the majority had I been at the council meeting."


Abbott, a junior at UW-Whitewater, was working on a research project out of state and could not attend the council meeting at which the license was suspended.


CONDITIONS IMPOSED

Before he can begin selling alcoholic beverages in September, Downstairs Sports Bar owner Robert Sweet must agree to the following conditions:


-- Installation of digital video cameras.


-- Written training and policy manuals related to providing alcohol to persons under the influence.


-- Court record checks on all bartenders and bouncers.


-- Requirement that all patrons under the age of 30 show official identification, and the IDs must be scanned through a device to determine if they are valid.


Alderman Stephanie Abbott, whose council district includes the UW-Whitewater campus and surrounding student housing areas, said the conditions are warranted.


"For the most part, all establishments in the city must comply with these conditions with the exception of the video cameras and scanners, but the severity of the infractions warrants those additional safeguards."



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