January 25, 2010

City may give new bars, restaurants a deadline to use liquor licenses

Alderman Aron Wisneski and City Clerk Janice Johnson-Martin
at Monday night's Public Safety and Licensing Committee meeting.

Restaurant and bar owners who get a liquor license approved by the city may soon face a deadline to put the license the work.

The Public Safety and Licensing Committee deferred action Monday night on a proposal that would give liquor license holders nine months to open their doors or return to the city for a six-month extension. Despite the delay, committee members appeared to be leaning in favor of the proposal.

Alderman Aron Wisneski, chairman of the committee, said city-imposed deadlines are important following the City Council's recent decision to charge entrepreneurs $10,000 for a "reserve" liquor license.

Reserve licenses are granted when the city reaches its state-imposed quota of 128 Class B liquor licenses in the city. The city is at that limit right now, which means it will cost anyone $10,000 just to get a permit to serve liquor in a bar or restaurant.

However, if a regular license becomes available - meaning the city falls below the state-imposed quota - the license would only cost $500.

For that reason, Wisneski said, it's important for the city to encourage businesses to use their licenses or turn them back in so others can put them to use.

Three specific businesses in Racine were mentioned during the committee's discussion. Grumpy's on Lathrop Ave., Gerald's in Uptown, and Envi, on Main Street, all received liquor licenses, but have yet to open.

The Public Safety and Licensing Committee will take the matter up at its next meeting and possibly forward a recommendation to the full City Council for a vote.


  1. Fire all these out of touch idiots! Why don't you ban all bars in Racine after all Wisneski and Helding are so concerned over alcohol and it's affects on our community. What a bunch of horse crap, please aldermen work on something that really matters, damnit!

  2. Wisneski is up for re-election right now and no one had the stones to run against him. Helding has run essentially unopposed three times. You have to actually run for office to get people kicked out - of course, you would have to do a little work then.

  3. Just a few weeks ago, when justifying a $10,000 tax on new restaurants, Alderman Wisneski argued that alcohol contributed to our crime problem. Now he is applying pressure to license holders so that they sell alcohol. Doesn't make sense.

  4. We are in Wisconsin, this absolutely doesn't make sense. This is not the bible belt. We don't have a dry county. You can still bring your children in bars here and offer them a drink. This is just funny.

  5. It's really not funny though, This keeps potential business owners OUT of Racine. WHat are these guys doing?!?

  6. They will go to Kenosha. When people of Kenosha want to see an art gallery they will come here. What a vision.

  7. Anon 1:07

    Kenosha already has two museums and a Trolly! Although coming into Racine via Sheridan is attractive, Racine street is Beautiful!

  8. I have to agree. Licenses should have an expiration if not used. It's a no-brainer. If someone has the money and open now and put people to work they should be able to obtain a license that is beeing hoarded by someone else.

    I never understood how the city got away with that.

  9. How about Grumpy's - do they have a license? That place wil "Never" open they don't even have the money to get the kitchen to meet code. Take their's away.

  10. Racine street is pretty unattractive. I bet though that the people living there haven't made a conscious decision to have ugly properties. It takes time and money. Higher paying jobs would make it much easier. Rather than sending the unit after them.