By Doug Hissom Special to Published Apr 24, 2007 at 4:52 PM

The City of Milwaukee Licenses Committee handed down one of its harshest punishments of the year on Tuesday, possibly stepping into broader turf for the committee that regulates the city’s tavern industry.

The committee voted to recommend a 15-day license suspension for The Red Dot, 2498 N. Bartlett St., to prevent the bar from using its patio, and restrict the East Side tavern’s closing hours to 10 p.m. on weekdays and midnight on weekends. The committee generally doesn’t stretch its authority to restricting tavern hours of an ongoing operation nor strip a bar of its working patio.   

The restrictions were placed on the bar after the committee heard extensive and detailed complaints about noise, public urination, public sex, and pot smoking about patrons from neighbors of the bar. What seemed to cinch the bar’s fate was a videotape of noise and street activity outside the bar made by The Red Dot’s next-door neighbors. The bulk of Tuesdays’ testimony, however, came from supporters of the bar, including other neighbors, who said the noise wasn’t any different than that of other East Side neighborhoods. Several attributed the noise to a party house across the street.

The support list even featured neighborhood resident and Miramar Theatre owner Bill Stace, who testified that he frequented the tavern after his theater closes at night and noticed nothing out of the ordinary. Red Dot owner Martin Beaudoin was also supported by Mitchell Wakefield, owner of Tess, and Bobby Greenya of Champion’s Pub, who said Beaudoin was working hard to resolve noise issues that exude from the patio and the bar. Police had cited the tavern in the past year for noise issues.

Beaudoin said he was planning on insulating the patio to control the noise further and that he was behind in making improvements to the place because he had to meet mortgage payments, among other issues.

Ald. Mike D’Amato didn’t express opposition to the presence of the tavern and called it a “delicate balance” between the bar and the neighbors. Before the committee vote he indicated that Beaudoin was ready to improve the situation.

The Red Dot opened in 2005 in the space former occupied by the Calderone Club.

The committee’s recommendation heads to the full Common Council on May 8.

Doug Hissom Special to
Doug Hissom has covered local and state politics for 20 years. Over the course of that time he was publisher, editor, news editor, managing editor and senior writer at the Shepherd Express weekly paper in Milwaukee. He also covered education and environmental issues extensively. He ran the UWM Post in the mid-1980s, winning a Society of Professional Journalists award as best non-daily college newspaper.

An avid outdoors person he regularly takes extended paddling trips in the wilderness, preferring the hinterlands of northern Canada and Alaska. After a bet with a bunch of sailors, he paddled across Lake Michigan in a canoe.

He lives in Bay View.