A Kenosha bar and restaurant that has been the site of safety and noise complaints is receiving a full, one-year cabaret license, based on the owner’s pledges to work collaboratively with city officials.
The City Council on Monday narrowly voted, 8-6, in favor of issuing the cabaret license to RedZone Sports Bar & Grill, 4814 Sheridan Road.
The license, which is required to host live entertainment, comes on the heels of two nearly simultaneous fights over the weekend that occurred outside the establishment and resulted in two felony charges.
Despite the most recent high-profile incident, proponents said they were comfortable issuing RedZone the license because owner Duvall Coates has created an action plan.
“It is not easy having a (cabaret) license in the city of Kenosha. It is not easy serving a younger clientele,” said council president Anthony Kennedy, who voted in favor of the license. “If there’s negligence, we can talk about that. But I don’t see negligence here.”
Before going to the council, the city’s Licenses and Permits Committee met to hash over incidents that have occurred at RedZone — including the fights that resulted in officers being called to the bar at 1:22 a.m. Saturday.
Kenosha Police Lt. James Beller said officers arriving at the club described it as a “chaotic scene,” with large numbers of people blocking traffic.
Attorney Michael McTernan, who represented Coates at the committee and council meetings Monday, said denying RedZone’s cabaret license is not going to eradicate criminal acts, such as the fights that broke out this past weekend.
McTernan compared instances at RedZone to the recent highly publicized mob scene at Prime Outlets in Pleasant Prairie and fights that have broken out at Chicago Cubs games.
“You don’t just shut it down. You find a solution,” McTernan said. “My client’s been responsible.”
Prior to receiving the cabaret license, Coates said he is willing to continue refining his business plan.
He said changes could include increasing the minimum age limit when live entertainment is taking place and targeting a more upscale clientele.
“All I ask is this business to be treated fairly,” Coates said. “I’m taking extra steps to be proactive with the Police Department. I’m just trying to give it my all and best.”
The Licenses and Permits Committee voted 2-2 on the cabaret license. The split vote meant a formal recommendation did not go to the council.
In addition to Kennedy, Ald. Curt Wilson voted in favor of the license, but did issue some caveats.
“A cat has nine lives,” Wilson said. “RedZone has burned up about seven of them — maybe eight. Keep in mind public safety is No. 1.”
Other committee members had stronger commentary, including Ald. Dominic Ruffalo, who said the weekend incidents were a tipping point.
“There’s not enough officers to go around,” Ruffalo said at the council meeting. “I was on the fence until (the weekend incidents) happened. That changed my mind.”
Ald. Patrick Juliana, the other committee dissenter said, “Evidently, (the safeguards in place) are not working. Right now, at this point, I can’t vote for it. I’m sorry.”