Sophie Bolich

City Approves Hampton Avenue Tavern

Common Council unanimously approves license for Excluzive Bar N Lounge in Wahl Park neighborhood.

By - Jul 9th, 2024 02:31 pm
Site of future Viral Lounge, 5403 W. Hampton Ave. Photo taken Oct. 18, 2023 by Sophie Bolich.

5403 W. Hampton Ave. Photo taken Oct. 18, 2023 by Sophie Bolich.

A new bar and lounge is progressing on the Northwest Side after receiving a stamp of approval from the Milwaukee Common Council last week.

Excluzive Bar N Lounge, a project of sisters Natasha and Crystal Moore, is slated to open in the coming months at 5403 W. Hampton Ave.

The business plans to offer alcoholic beverages, entertainment and a limited food program including appetizers, salads and more, while providing a “laid-back” destination for older community members, the owners said.

“We planned on opening up a bar slash lounge, really for the older crowd,” Natasha told the Licenses Committee during a June 18 hearing. “We’re not catering to the younger crowd.”

But those terms are relative. According to a license application, the tavern plans to restrict entry to those 25 and up on weekdays; patrons must be 30 or older to visit on Saturdays and Sundays.

The sisters estimate that most of the business’s revenue, or 70%, will come from alcohol sales, with 20% from food sales and 10% from entertainment.

Excluzive Bar N Lounge plans to host comedy acts, poetry readings and karaoke nights, and will feature a jukebox. A floor plan also shows a stage along a wall opposite the bar.

The upcoming business would occupy 2,400 square feet within a 1955 building located at the edge of the Hampton Heights neighborhood. An affiliate of T Moore Investments LLC purchased the property for $325,000 in August 2022, according to city assessment records.

Once open, the business’s proposed hours of operation are Monday through Thursday from 11 a.m. to midnight; Friday through Sunday from 11 a.m. to 2:30 a.m.; and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 2 a.m.

Previous Plans

Last fall, entrepreneur Kelton Buford applied to open Viral Lounge, a bar and hookah establishment, in the Hampton Avenue building.

He later backed away from those plans, after the city discovered videos on social media — now deleted — of patrons partying inside the unlicensed establishment.

Although the committee never voted on the previous proposal, Viral Lounge was a topic of conversation during the sisters’ license hearing, where they were accompanied by Attorney John Kenyatta Riley.

In addition to questioning from committee members, the sisters fielded objections from Dr. Richard Winter, who suggested the new business could be affiliated with Buford.

“I’m not convinced that Mr. Buford is not involved,” said Winter, who operates a dental office at 5323 W. Hampton Ave., less than a block away from the upcoming tavern.

The sisters emphasized that they are not associated with Buford or Viral Lounge. “We have no affiliation with them at all, none, never did,” Crystal said.

Winter, who also testified against Viral Lounge in March, said his goal is to “protect the neighborhood.”

“We do not need any more alcohol in the Wahl [Park] neighborhood, the Sherman Park neighborhood,” he said. “There are already six places that sell alcohol within a half a mile of my dental practice. We need places that are going to have fresh fruits and vegetables, not other places for alcohol.”

When prompted, Winter told committee members that he had refused a meeting with the sisters prior to the hearing, and told Alderman DiAndre Jackson he thought it was more important to attend the city hearing and “let them know how I was feeling.”

“I didn’t want to get into any negative dialogue with them,” he said of the sisters.

Jackson said that his aldermanic district, the 7th, has the lowest number of liquor licenses in the city. “I believe I’ve done my due diligence,” he said, noting that he supports the license.

Alderman Jonathan Brostoff moved to approve. There were no objections. By a unanimous vote the full council approved the license.

The applicant did not respond to a request for comment by the time of publication.

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Categories: Food & Drink

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