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Milwaukee's Daily Magazine for Wednesday, April 16, 2014

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In Bars & Clubs

618 Live on Water, better known as the Ladybug Club, is closed through Feb. 15.

Ladybug Club closed through mid-February; Silk deal pending


The Ladybug nightclub, officially called 618 Live on Water, at 618 N. Water St., will be closed until Feb. 15, after Circuit Court Judge Richard Sankovitz upheld a suspension Friday ordered by the Milwaukee Common Council.

The council ordered the suspension after reports of violence and gunfire and complaints from area residents and businesses over activity at the club.

The council also approved a new tavern and public entertainment license for the club. That license will be in effect if or when the club reopens.

Habib Manjee, owner of the club, has signed a letter of understanding with Silk Exotic owner Jon Ferraro, who wants to open a strip club in Downtown Milwaukee. That letter of understanding is contingent upon Ferraro reaching a lease agreement with John Burke, owner of the building, and getting a license for his club from the Common Council.

Ferraro said he was pleased with the letter of understanding and that he had heard encouraging words from businesses near the club, on Water Street between Wisconsin Avenue and Michigan Street.

"But I still think the best place for our club is across from the Bradley Center on 4th street," he said. "It's an ideal spot and I think the entertainment district for the city is going to end up in that area when we get a new arena for the Bucks. We want to be part of that entertainment district.

"All these people who are complaining about a strip club have probably never even been to one. Take a look at Art's Performing Center on Juneau and Water," he added.

"There's a church three doors down from that club and nobody has ever complained. You wouldn't know it has dancers unless you stopped, walked in the door and paid the cover charge.

"That's what we at Silk are like," he said. "We would open on 4th street and there is no way that you are going to know what kind of a club it is. I just don't think the argument that people will stay away from the Bradley Center if we are there holds any water."

The bouncing ball on this club seems now to have landed squarely in the lap of Ald. Bob Bauman, who represents Downtown. Donovan told OnMilwaukee.com last week that he supports a Silk location in the Ladybug club space.


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