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Is Another Bar Necessary in Port Washington?

As hopeful business owner Troy Koput continues to meet opposition from city officials on the opening of Deville's Lounge in the former Foxys Bar location, the question arises: how many bars are too many?

Troy Koput has found many obstacles in the path to open tries Deville's Lounge in Port Washington — from building code violations to a long police call history at the former Foxys Bar location to an outright recommendation from the police chief that a liquor license be denied.

City Administrator Mark Grams has also suggested that officials are looking for a different type of business to fill the spot.

"How many (bars) does a city of our size have to have?" Grams said, adding he would prefer a restaurant-type bar where the primary focus would be on food to open in the now vacant space.

To attempt to answer such a question, here's a look at how many liquor licenses exist in Port Washington and surrounding areas compared to the population of each municipality. These totals include all licenses, such as those for a retail establishments or bar-restaurant.

  • Port Washington: There are 35 licenses approved for the city, with a population of 11,201 — that makes 1 license for every 320 people.
  • Grafton: There are 30 licenses approved for the city, with a population of 11,392 — that makes 1 license for every 380 people.
  • Saukville: There are 24 licenses approved for the city, with a population of 4,424 — that makes 1 license for every 184 people. 
  • Cedarburg: There are 46 licenses approved for the city, with a population of 11,417 — that makes 1 license for every 248 people.

Population data from the U.S. Census Bureau from 2010. Alcohol license data taken from a Green Bay Press-Gazette database on statewide license holders.

Numbers aside, many of those in support of Deville's Lounge have argued that Foxys Bar fit a niche for the younger crowd — and with that bar gone, there is now a gaping hole that needs to be filled.

"Between Saukville and Port were are 'we' the late 20 and 30 year old and up group suppose to laugh and talk and 'Dance' and 'UNWIND' with (our) friends on a Friday and Saturday night when there is NO night club around," user sadparent commented on an article about the city opposing the bar. "Are we to go to the 'Railroad Station' were fights usually occur ... or are we to head to Milwaukee to give them (our) business?"

A public session will be held to discuss whether to grant Deville's Lounge the needed alcohol license at the Port Washington Common Council meeting at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday at City Hall.

Does Port need another bar?

Tell us why or why not in the comments.

Greg Huegerich December 14, 2012 at 08:50 PM
Looks like Saukville is winning! :) Though that helps explain why they needed state legislative approval to get Messina's a full license a few years back. In the interest of holding elected officials accountable for their behavior and rhetoric: my questions are these: 1) With so many unoccupied restaurant spaces currently in Port, why is there an emphasis on converting a bar to yet another restaurant? 2) What justification does the City Administrator have for suggesting a restaurant when so many have failed recently? 3) Did the common council discuss any concerns about there being a bar at the Foxy's location before or during the sale process for the business? Again, it seems wrong to be changing the rules so late in the game. I do believe the administrator and the council should be challenged more aggressively for their behavior and shifting language through this process. To the original question: Its great to have choices. I think an upscale, lounge type environment would be great for the city (not going to use the name of the former business, because it was very different than what's being proposed). Its also very different theme than the "townie-style" bars currently open, and doesn't seem like it would be all that much trouble. Variety is a good thing, and ideally helps promote folks wandering between the various establishments in town.
Greg Huegerich December 14, 2012 at 08:54 PM
PS. One more question: 4) Is it right to lump all "bars" into the same category? Bars that are well lit and have room for live music tend to be different than dark ones with 4 video slot machines, which tend to be different than ones with low lighting and 347 lcd screens.
Rik Kluessendorf December 14, 2012 at 09:01 PM
I think a far better question is this: should the city be determining what type of businesses come into the town or is that something best left up to the consumers and populous?
Greg December 14, 2012 at 09:59 PM
Zoning is important, but you would think that these issues would be guided by some sort of a land use plan or an overlay district. I don't think that businesses should have to rely on the whims of a city administrator and how he is feeling, on any particular day. If they come back and say that they want to put in a Mexican restaurant will Grams override that because he doesn't like tacos or because there are already places that serve Mexican food in PW. Adding people to patronize existing restaurants or those that are closed is primary. One could easily make the argument that Deville's will be the chicken to that egg. Personally adding a bar to an existing location is a no brainer, but I'm not a city administrator.
Andy Lanza December 14, 2012 at 10:08 PM
Just so its known, the former bar business (Foxys) wasnt sold or transferred to the new potential tenant. All equiptment etc from Foxys were sold privately and the new business only took over the empty space itself.
Andy Lanza December 14, 2012 at 10:10 PM
@ Greg H.----> I do greatly appreciate all your comments you have made on all the articles throughout all of this !! I appreciate everyone's comments either way because it shows care and support for business downtown.
Tom Kamenick December 15, 2012 at 01:25 PM
"Is Another Bar Necessary in Port Washington?" Whether or not other people think any particular use of private property is "necessary" should have absolutely no bearing on what the owner of that property is allowed to do with their own land.
PWGirl December 18, 2012 at 03:59 PM
i believe that if you are going to take the time, the effort, and the money to do something.. you should be allowed to do it without the city harassing you and making sure that you do it "their" way. I agree with Gregs comment about the tacos... maybe this guy just doesn't like to enjoy a drink or two, so he would prefer not to have a bar in there. Well 90% of port washington likes to drink so if he has an issue with it, he can go to the library for fun then. There are no places for people in their 20s or 30s to even go past 8 o'clock pm in this town besides a bar because everything is deserted. I believe a lounge would be a wonderful place for people just getting into the bar scene and people who have been around for years to come and hang out with loved ones and friends and have a good time.

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