The Madison City Council lifted a drink-special ban on King Club Tuesday night, proving the ongoing battle over whether to enforce or dispel drink-special bans will continue to drag on into the near future.
King Club, after changing ownership to Dandyfire, Inc., was granted approval of a new liquor license without any of the previous restrictions on drink specials during the meeting.
The action was taken in an attempt to level the business playing field after a recommendation by the Alcohol License Review Committee. The fate of several downtown bars has been in jeopardy due to current restrictions on alcohol sales and specials.
Over recent months, six Madison bars became burdened with drink-special restrictions. These bars include Hawk’s on State Street, Regent Street Retreat, Crave Restaurant and Lounge, Bucks, Madison’s and King Club.
The ALRC originally issued a voluntary ban to restrict drink specials on certain nights. However, a number of the bans are now being removed after students, businesses and the city expressed dissatisfaction.
Ald. Mike Verveer, District 4, said the council is acting to remove further restrictions on a number of the bars at the next City Council meeting Sept. 21.
Barring drink specials to students and residents might not have the positive impact the city and drink-special-ban supporters might be looking for, according to Verveer.
“Statistics have shown that there actually was a slight increase in drinking-related violence [during drink-special bans],” Verveer said.
Regarding citywide drink-special bans, there remains unsure support within the Common Council. Yet, there still is a chance an overall ban could be passed, if it was to target specific bars in the campus area in an effort to reduce student binge-drinking.
Ald. Austin King, District 8, noted there is a lot of support for a campus-specific ban of that kind, although he does not advocate such a measure.
“I’m strongly opposed to [a widespread drink special ban],” King said.
A ban of this type is supported by members of the UW Policy, Alternatives, Community and Education Project, which has been battling binge-drinking on campus for some time.
The support for this ban remains unclear at this time. More focus, for the time being, is being placed on discussions regarding the possibility of lifting current bans.
King said the council is slowly attempting to remove drink-special restrictions from existing alcohol licenses rather than adding new bans for the time being.
“[The Council] is making pretty good steps in the right direction,” he said.
The fate of drink special bans will be discussed at tonight’s ALRC meeting. Restrictions on Crave Restaurant and Lounge, Buck’s and Madison’s are expected to be removed at the meeting, according to Verveer.