The Whitewater City Council on Tuesday approved the settlement agreement the city’s police department reached with Pumpers & Mitchell’s bar to renew its liquor license and serve a two-month suspension.
Tuesday’s unanimous vote was the last step for the bar to get its Class B liquor license for the next year starting July 1.
Council member James Allen, one of the three members who also sits on the committee that reviewed the matter last month, said Tuesday the city doesn’t take suspensions lightly.
Still, he said the bar was making a “laughingstock” of other businesses that were following the city’s rules. He said this new agreement would be a “clean slate.”
No other council members spoke on the matter at Tuesday’s meeting, which was the first one held in person at City Hall since the pandemic began last year.
A month ago, the city’s police department filed a complaint that listed 70 incidents over the last year that were one way or another connected to the bar, including underage drinking, fights and sexual assaults.
Management from the bar strongly pushed back against the complaint, saying several of the incidents were too loosely tied to the bar. One example was someone who urinated in front of a UW-Whitewater building after reportedly being at the bar earlier.
The parties met during a contentious Alcohol Licensing Review Committee meeting and eventually scheduled a trial where both sides were going to more formally make their case. But on May 20, days before that trial, the committee voted in favor of the settlement agreement.
The main element in that settlement is a two-month license suspension that will run from Sept. 1 through and including Nov. 2. That is near the beginning of the UW-W school year through the Tuesday after Halloween weekend.
Other conditions listed in the settlement include:
- Mounting digital cameras to cover the bar and storing footage on-site that can be made available to the police department no more than a week after a request is made.
- Complying with responsible practices for selling alcohol, including statutory requirements for selling to intoxicated people.
- Implementing written training for the responsible sale of alcohol, including how to use ID scanners and determine if someone is underage.
- Performing background checks for any potential bartender and member of security.
- Requiring anyone who looks like they are younger than 30 to show an ID, using the bar’s latest ID scanning system and keeping records of scanned IDs for 30 days in case police request information.
- Giving the police department power to close the bar if it is over capacity.