Council To Consider Closing VIP Lounge
Milwaukee Police Department backing bar's closure.
A Walker’s Point nightclub may soon be no more.
The Milwaukee Common Council and Milwaukee Police Department have served written notice to VIP Lounge owner Miguel Martinez that a special meeting has been called for June 1st to consider revoking his liquor license for a “disregard for public safety.”
At the September hearing, MPD District 2 captain David Salazar warned that locations with this level of gunfire often end up being the site of a homicide if the situation is not addressed.
But after the suspension, VIP Lounge, 828 S. 1st St., kept running into trouble.
The business knowingly exceeded COVID-19 capacity limits on December 31st, January 3rd, January 8th and January 15th according to a 93-page MPD and council report.
On January 29th and February 20th, MPD and Milwaukee Health Department personnel observed the business allowing patrons to violate the city’s health order regarding mask wearing, patrons being seated and social distancing. More than $15,000 in citations were issued, with the bar being the first to receive the new $5,000 maximum fine.
Then things escalated.
The problems for VIP Lounge aren’t all related to the pandemic. The council issued a formal warning to Martinez in 2019 and a 10-day suspension in 2018 as part of the annual renewal process.
It would not be the first bar the city has closed in the past year. The council denied license renewals for Gene’s Supper Club in February and Junior’s Cocktail Lounge in April, closing both bars. SITE owner Aaron Ohlsson surrendered the license for his nightclub before the council could revoke it, avoiding a public hearing on a fatal shooting between two individuals that Ohlsson was shown interacting with shortly before it occurred.