August 9, 2010

City will try to take Ginger's liquor license; Bar attached to Sticky Rice under scrutiny

The city is trying to take away another Downtown bar's liquor license.

The Public Safety and Licensing Committee voted Monday night to take Sticky Rice/Ginger's lounge to a due process hearing. That means the committee will attempt to build a case against the bar at 337 S. Main St. to remove their ability to sell alcohol.

Monday's action followed a lengthy discussion with owner Pythaphone Khampane over an underage drinking violation and fights in the bar. Khampone said the underager was the sister of a bartender who vouched for the girl. The bartender has since been fired. But he didn't have a clear answer for the fights reported in his bar. 

The committee asked about Khampone about incidents at Ginger's showing up on the Downtown Racine Corp.'s monthly reports. Khampone said he's tried to ease crowding in the bar with a new layout. The bar also hires security staff on weekends. He added that most of the problems come with a young crowd that's prone to fights over a guy hitting on another guy's girl, or girls getting into fights. 

Ald. Jim Kaplan noted the bar is closing a half hour later than it was a year ago, and Khampone said that last half hour is important. When they had last call at 1 a.m. they weren't meeting their expenses, he said. Last call at 1:30 a.m. helped bring in more money, Khampone said. 

Khampone then told the committee he never received a letter to appear before the Public Safety and Licensing Committee on Monday night. He said he only knew to appear at the meeting because Keith Fair called to let him know he was on the meeting's agenda. 

Ald. Eric Marcus asked if there were problem at Ginger's in the last two weeks. Khampone said there were minor incidents that his bar staff was able to address. But Marcus said it looked to him like the bar's crowd was out of hand and needed to be reigned in. 

Following the discussion, the committee voted to send Ginger's to the due process hearing. The committee is also holding a due process hearing for Park 6, a bar at the corner of Park and Sixth streets, in Downtown Racine.

The committee is getting increasingly tough on bars in the city. It recently led efforts to revoke a liquor license from the Blind Alligator, a bar on Taylor Avenue, and turned down a man's request Monday to open a bar on Washington Avenue at the former location of the Salt & Pepper Lounge.

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