Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald


Quinton’s: Pushing 50

In yet another example of Madison?s stark intolerance of
alcohol consumption in the downtown area, the Alcohol License Review Committee
will soon consider whether to revoke the liquor license for Quinton?s Bar and
Deli, 319 W. Gorham St., at the urging of Capitol Neighborhoods, Inc.

If you weren?t familiar with Madison?s tyrannical tendency
to try to stomp out alcohol consumption and taverns in the downtown area, you
might assume the worst about Quinton?s. After all, losing a liquor license ?
for any period of time ? could very well put an establishment out of business,
and who would want that? You?d think they must have a poor habit of attracting
violent crowds and putting the public safety at risk. Or, perhaps more
innocuously, maybe you?d assume they put little effort toward verifying the age
of the drinkers they serve.

But, no. This is Madison, after all ? the same city that
last year passed a counterproductive, anti-business resolution banning any new
bars or liquor stores from setting up shop in the downtown area.


Quinton?s crime? Their liquor license mandates the majority
of their business transactions to be of the nonalcoholic variety and, over the
past six months, alcoholic beverages amounted to 50.82 percent of their total
sales. Oh, the humanity!

To be fair, it is indisputable that Quinton?s violated the
letter of the law. But in cases like these, is it not the spirit of the law
that is more important? Surely, it would be an absurdity for a person to lose
his driver?s license when he drives 56 mph in a 55-mph zone. There is a certain
recognizance by traffic police that the line needs to be drawn somewhere, and
narrow violations of the boundary need not be prosecuted. Is that same sort of
judgment not applicable here?

What?s more, we firmly believe that if city leaders feel a
need to address the overconsumption of alcohol downtown, they should cut
responsible bar owners some slack just as they punish the owners who breed
trouble. If Quinton?s has been particularly problematic to the public quality
of life ? which doesn?t seem to be the case ? then bring that evidence to light
and use that as justification to consider the revocation of its liquor license.

In fact, it is clear to us that Quinton?s is striving to
obey the terms of its license, while still maximizing profits. That is no vice;
it?s what every business is trying to do, and the city should expect no less.
We?re sure that, in retrospect, Quinton?s wishes they had pushed those nachos a
little harder and fallen on the right side of 50 percent. But, even if they had
brought up the food sales a percentage point, it?s hard to see what that would
have done to placate any of the city?s underlying drinking concerns.

The obvious solution to this debacle would be for Quinton?s
and the ALRC to agree a full liquor license would be most appropriate.
Unfortunately, such a sensible resolution would actually be illegal given the
harebrained Alcohol Density Plan mentioned above. The sad truth is that, even if
Quinton?s somehow emerges from the vulturine claws of Madison?s City Council
with a liquor license intact, they?ll essentially be forced to continue pushing
the alcohol sales speedometer as close as possible to 50 percent, without ever
going over. What a waste.

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