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Sunday, May 19, 2024

State Justice Center could feature nightclub as tenant

Dry martinis and live jazz quintets could join state statute volumes and roving Supreme Court justices in the new Risser Justice Center, 17 W. Main St., if a proposal to open a restaurant, wine bar and nightclub on the building's first floor wins support from city officials. 




Local businessperson Kathleen Ann McCarney plans to bring the proposal, which would add to the growing list of night spots near the Capitol Square, to the city's Alcohol License Review Committee next Wednesday. 




The establishment, to be called Vintage, would sit in a 1,700-square-foot space on Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard. If approved by the ALRC, Vintage could be open by March. 




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While the restaurant would offer soups, salads and sandwiches during the day, Vintage would have more of a bar/nightclub atmosphere in the evening, according to Ald. Mike Verveer, District 4. Wednesday through Saturday nights would then bring a mixture of live performance and DJ-played music with a jazz and blues focus. 




Verveer, whose district includes the proposed location, said he believes Vintage would be an asset to the Capitol Square, bringing more people down to the once-dead area during the night hours. 




'I'm very excited and optimistic that the ALRC will be supportive of this new endeavor,' he added. 




The ALRC will be the next hurdle for McCarney's project, as she now relies on the committee's approval of her application for a liquor and cabaret license for the facility. 




The toughest nut to crack, according to Ald. Kent Palmer, District 15, a member of the ALRC, will be the cabaret license'a privilege the committee has granted sparingly in recent years. 




A cabaret license is necessary for the nightclub to allow dancing in the establishment. 




Palmer said he has little concern about granting the licenses to Vintage, and that he will likely support the McCarney's concept on Wednesday. 




'I'm willing to give them a shot, at least,' Palmer said, adding that, however, other ALRC members, are likely to voice concerns about a saturation of clubs and bars in the West Main Street area. 'I'm sure there'll be members of the committee who will start looking at it in that manner.' 




Ald. Tim Bruer, District 14, chair of the ALRC, told The Capital Times Thursday that he has some apprehension about granting the license. 




'We already have a large concentration of licenses in this immediate area, and I think we'll be particularly interested and concerned in providing another dance hall facility or another entertainment license in the area,' he said.

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