Janesville police and owners of The Back Bar, 1900 Beloit Ave., have come to an agreement on a liquor-license suspension.


A music venue where shots were fired last fall has agreed to a one-month suspension of its liquor license.

The Janesville Police Department on Monday announced the agreement worked out between Chief Dave Moore and the owners of The Back Bar, 1901 Beloit Ave.

Moore had brought complaints about a Nov. 23 private party to the city’s Alcohol License Advisory Committee, which recommended Jan. 17 that the license be suspended.

The city council was to consider taking action, but Moore instead withdrew his request and worked out an agreement with owners Diane and Robert Kerman.

The suspension will be from 2 a.m. April 1 to 7 a.m. May 1.

The shots were fired Nov. 23 from an SUV on a road next to The Back Bar as guests were leaving just before 2 a.m.

Police investigated and also found a strong odor of marijuana in the bar, private security guards carrying firearms, lax guarding of exits and numerous people outside the bar carrying plastic cups that might have contained alcohol, a violation of city ordinances.

The agreement states The Back Bar can host events in April with no alcohol and with the bar’s alcoholic beverages locked away, but owners must inform police in advance, and no hip-hop/rap events can be held during the month.

The agreement also says The Back Bar will:

  • Post signs stating that no guns are allowed. Robert Kerman said Monday guns have never been allowed.
  • Hire all security staff, with exceptions for a national touring act that requires its own security, if police approve.
  • Keep a record of all guards hired and their experience and training. The business had no record of the names or addresses of the private guards hired by the private party Nov. 23.
  • Create a process for private parties that includes enough information that the applicant’s criminal background can be checked on the state courts website. The venue must forward an application for the party to police for screening and comment.
  • Establish rules for all events that include no smoking, drug use or guns and no alcohol leaving or entering the establishment.

Robert Kerman said Monday he plans to schedule all-ages concerts every Friday and Saturday night during April. He said it will be an opportunity for younger people to experience local, regional or national music acts in that setting. Only those ages 18 and older will be allowed in after 11 p.m., he said.

Moore said it didn’t occur to him to specify hip-hop or rap music in the agreement, but Robert Kerman suggested it.

The Nov. 23 party included a DJ playing hip-hop.

Kerman said Monday that the only times the city has threatened his liquor license in the 18 years that he and his wife have owned the place came after hip-hop events.

“The money is good. The people are good. But there’s always somebody at the end of these events that causes something outside of the club that upsets the city,” he said. “So I let the chief know in that agreement that we recognize that fact.”

In 2012, the venue hosted a hip-hop artist who brought along armed security. A fight erupted in the early-morning hours, moved outdoors, and then someone fired a gun from a car.

An after-hours sexual assault was also reported after a different event that year.