A local nightclub that believes it was singled out because of its diverse clientele and hip-hop music was overwhelmingly denied its annual cabaret license by the Common Council on Wednesday at City Hall.
RedZone Sports Bar & Grill, 4814 Sheridan Road, will no longer be able to host live bands or DJs following a 14-2 decision to deny its annual cabaret license.
In what was believed to be an unprecedented move, the council discussed a possible agreement to extend the bar’s probationary license for another six months following nearly two hours of back-and-forth discussion.
Attorney Anthony Nudo, who represents the bar, shot it down. He said they will immediately begin the process of filing a federal lawsuit against the city for a violation of civil rights.
“What they offered was not a compromise,” Nudo said. “What they want to do is absolutely surrender our license and take away our ability to move forward on this so they can maybe consider a probationary license. It’s never happened. Everything we’ve done so far has been all unprecedented. Never have they offered or even tried to do two probationary licenses. It doesn’t make sense.”
The recommendation to deny the license was originally presented in front of the city’s License and Permit Committee. The license was denied “based on a dishonest representation when the probationary cabaret license was granted and the substantial negative impact on the surrounding neighborhood.”
The committee was initially informed the bar would host occasional live bands and not primarily DJs.
According to public records, Kenosha Police have responded to the RedZone over 20 times since Nov. 18 for a variety of complaints including noise, suspicious activity, traffic stops, fights and battery. Kenosha Police cited a number of anonymous complaints from nearby residents concerned about disorderly behavior, littering, parking issues and trespassing.
“The area residents aren’t here today because they’re afraid,” said Ald. John Fox, who represents the bar’s district. “I’m speaking on their behalf. If you don’t live in the neighborhood, you don’t understand what’s happening.”
Nudo, a former Kenosha alderman, said he wasn’t surprised by the council’s decision to deny.
“I fully expected this,” Nudo said. “They can say whatever they want, but if this was a country bar we would not have been here tonight. I guarantee it.”