The Stadium Bar and Grill is under fire from the Zoning Administration and the Madison Plan Commission after claims that they violated rules regarding their popular game day beer garden.
The two parties are caught in a disagreement as to the terms of the campus-area bar’s conditional use permit.
“We have our interpretation of it, and they have theirs,” said Jim Luedtke, Stadium Bar operator and head manager. “We have years of doing this where they’ve never bothered us.”
One of the complaints filed by Zoning Administrator Matt Tucker says the bar operated its beer garden past designated hours with loud music.
Ald. Robbie Webber, District 5, said she has met with management at the Stadium Bar and the Zoning Administration “a number of times over a year and a half” and no agreements have been made.
“We have tried to solve these issues through meetings,” Webber said.
Luedtke said the accusations came as a surprise because they have never had any fines or tickets.
The issues raised include people leaving the beer garden with open containers of alcohol. However, Luedtke said they have always had two Dane County officers at each entrance to the garden to check IDs and make sure no one leaves with alcohol.
“There’s people eating and drinking all around us,” Luedtke said. “There can be confusion.”
Ald. Tim Gruber, District 11, a Plan Commission member, said it was clear in the Zoning Administration’s reports that there have been some violations of the conditional use permit.
However, Gruber added the Plan Commission will make the final decision on what the outcome of these alleged violations are.
“It’s not like we want to shut them down,” Gruber said. “It’s not like we don’t want people to have fun.”
The possible consequences could range from a simple warning to a fine or to the revocation of the permit that allows the bar to operate a beer garden on game day.
According to Luedtke, the beer garden is set up for football Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. if the game is before 5 p.m. or in the case of a night game, from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Webber said all of the bars around Camp Randall have to abide by the same regulations.
“In any type of case like this, the plan commission will look at the Zoning Administration’s list of concerns, and they will decide what actions should be taken,” Webber said.
Luedtke said they were requested to and have submitted a list of what they believe their rights are with the conditional use permit, including details such as what events in Camp Randall are considered “special events.”
The various parties will be meeting several times before their public hearing on either Dec. 1 or Dec. 14, and Luedtke said he hopes these meetings could end up in agreement, therefore avoiding the hearing all together.
Webber said the bar itself will continue to operate as usual and has no direct violations. Luedtke added customers should not worry about the future of the bar and its popular game day beer garden.
“Everything will be business as usual,” Luedtke said, emphasizing the complaints came out of the dark. “We are a good operator. We are not here to cause trouble with the city.”