A new beginning for the bar formerly known as Foxy’s has gotten off to a rocky start in gaining necessary city approvals.
The business owner, Troy Pokut of West Bend, has filed a change of occupancy permit with the city and is pursuing licenses to open a new bar and restaurant, Deville’s Lounge.
However, Pokut and his business partner Christian Zaja of Port Washington are encountering difficulties overcoming Foxy’s reputation.
“I don’t think the council wants another Foxy’s-type of bar in the downtown, especially next to a building that will be the cornerstone for future downtown development,” City Administrator Mark Grams said in a report to the Port Washington Common Council.
Tuesday night, the common council’s finance committee tabled action on the licenses for Deville’s Lounge based on the recommendation of City Attorney Eric Eberhardt.
Eberhardt said that, according to city ordinance, the police and fire chiefs and the building inspector need to complete inspections and investigations before the city approves or denies the licenses. Inspections still need to be completed by the fire and building inspectors, Eberhardt said.
Grams and Police Chief Kevin Hingiss recommended denying the license, according to Gram’s report.
Pokut and Zaja say the new bar will be different than Foxy’s.
Deville’s will have a more of a lounge atmosphere, Zaja said, and will include couches, chairs and tables. They're redecorating, hanging chandeliers, sanding and painting.
“With the changes in the décor, we’re making it nicer, I think,” he said. Zaja said their target clientele is all ages, “older 20’s and all the way up.”
“We want everyone – all ages – to enjoy themselves,” he said.
Zaja acknowledges that there’s been “a lot of concern” by the public but that they are working to get rid of the old reputation.
To address concerns, they’re adding a 24-hour surveillance system with night vision and security staff, Zaja said.
“We want people to have a fun time but we also want them to stay safe,” he said.
That Zaja is a former bartender of Foxy’s which might be one stumbling block but Zaja said he was only an employee and didn’t have a say in how it was run.
He also said that his experience with Foxy’s has been useful in improving the bar: “I know what needs to be changed.”
Zaja said he and Koput respect the community and the downtown area and want to see it improved, too.
“My goal is that I want to be of good stature in the community,” Koput told the finance committee.
“Main Street has been doing a lot and we want to be right there with them,” Zaja said.