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Tuesday, November 28, 2023

Alcohol License Review Committee approves new Madhatter Bar owner

Susan McKinney will be the new official officer of Madhatter Bar, pending approval from Common Council.

The Alcohol License Review Committee approved of McKinney—who has been the general manager—taking over ownership of the bar Wednesday night. However, the committee denied her request to expand maximum capacity from 200 to 320.

The city took action in December and closed Madhatter from Jan. 14-28 for serving to underage customers and going over capacity multiple times. On Jan. 31 Madison Police Department did a compliance check, where they found multiple underagers, according to MPD Captain Carl Gloede.

Gloede also noted they had limited staffing that night and had there been more staffing to contact more individuals, more underage individuals would have been cited.

McKinney said during the meeting that she demoted the manager from that evening and fired the worker responsible for letting in underage customers with fake IDs. According to the committee, the bar had fired workers after similar incidents in the past.

There was another bar check on Feb. 6 in which no underage customers were found.

“Five officers came in, so nobody was scooting out past them,” McKinney said. “And they found zero underagers. And that’s our norm.”

Ald. Mike Verveer, District 4, whose district Madhatter is located in, asked McKinney if she could give assurances that she would prevent similar future incidents.

“Yes I can,” she answered. “It’s part of my job. I’ve been doing it and I’ll continue to do so.”

Verveer eventually moved to approve the transfer of ownership, but also moved to deny the increase in capacity.

Gloede said the increase in capacity was originally contingent on an addition of serving food and increase of space into the former Silver Mine Subs shop. Neither has happened yet.

Just before the committee voted on Verveer’s motion, Madison Director of Food and Alcohol Policy Mark Woulf made it clear that the bar is on a “short leash” and would not receive warnings as it has in the past.

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