The number of times Waupaca police were called to a single tavern in the last year was brought to the attention of the Waupaca Common Council.
“You can see how it compares to others. I’d like the council to take notice of that,” Police Chief Tim Goke said during the council’s June 4 meeting.
His comment was in reference to Waupaca SpeakEasy, where there have been more than 20 complaints since July 1, 2012.
That includes two drug complaints, 12 disorderly/intoxicated complaints, one underage on premise, one furnishing alcohol to an underage person, one weapon complaint, one battery/assault, one noise complaint. one open intoxicant, a warning issued for being open after hours and a warning issued for the sale of alcohol to an intoxicated person.
The number of contacts the police department had at all licensed establishments in the last year was presented to the council as part of Goke’s annual inspection report.
Liquor licenses run from July 1 through June 30. The report is presented to the council prior to the end of that period.
Last week, the renewal of liquor, beer and wine licenses for a number of establishments were approved by the council.
The renewal application from Waupaca SpeakEasy was among them.
The applications were part of the council’s consent agenda, which was voted on before Goke’s annual inspection report.
“This is unacceptable,” Ald. Deb Fenske said of the number of complaints at Waupaca SpeakEasy.
The police chief said he wants the council to seriously consider the options it has, such as suspension or revocation of the license.
City Attorney John Hart said a complaint would first have to be filed. Then, a public hearing would be scheduled, with a notice sent to the licensee.
Goke said he will probably file a complaint in July.
Larz Jaworski, owner of Waupaca SpeakEasy, told the County Post he is surprised there have been that many more complaints at his business than at others.
Other licensed establishments which had complaints in the last year were:
• Paca Pub: four disturbance/intoxicated persons.
• D’Fuego Mexican Grill & Seafood: one intoxicated person.
• JR’s Sportsman’s Bar and Grill: two disturbance/intoxicated persons.
• Weasel’s: cited for underage on premise, cited for sale to underage, one disturbance/intoxicated person.
• Ballpark: cited for underage on premise.
• Three Squares Restaurant: two disturbances/intoxicated subjects.
• Nelson’s Strike Zone: one disorderly/intoxicated subject.
• Courtside Sports Bar & Restaurant: one cited for disorderly conduct, one cited for sale of tobacco to minor.
• Beer Barrel: one complaint of sale to a minor.
Jaworski addressed a number of the complaints that took place at Waupaca SpeakEasy.
In regard to the underage on premise and furnishing alcohol to an underage person, he said a bartender figured out a person had a fake ID. That happened after a different bartender had already served alcohol to the person. The police were called.
Jaworski believes those charges were dropped.
Of the disorderly/intoxicated complaints, he said the problem is a lot of those incidents happened outside the bar.
“When I first bought the bar, we were having problems,” he said.
That was two years ago.
As a result, he had bouncers.
When the problems stopped, he started having bouncers only when he had special events at the bar.
After problems resumed, he decided to have bouncers again and said for the last month and a half, he has had bouncers there on Friday and Saturday nights.
“I don’t want the fights here. It’s not good for business,” Jaworski said. “I’m trying to prevent them.”
He said people go from bar to bar, and not being a Waupaca native, he does not know everyone who walks into his business.
Jaworski moved to Waupaca nine years ago when he took a position with Strongwood Log Homes as a senior architectural designer.
“I’m not allowing people back in who have started fights,” he said. “I have a list in the back, behind the bar.”
If someone starts an argument or fight or breaks something in his bar, that person gets a warning the first time it happens.
“The second time, they are banned for a month. The third time, they are banned for life,” he said. “There are a couple people banned for a month right now.”
Jaworski said in some instances, they kick someone out of the bar who has had too much to drink and that person starts a fight.
As for the noise complaint, he said that happened after he built a deck on the back of the bar.
“I got a complaint. I talked to the chief and built a volume wall above the gate to stop the noise from traveling down the corridor,” Jaworski said.
In regard to the open intoxicant complaint, he said a sign is posted on the front door saying alcohol cannot be taken onto the sidewalk. If a bartender sees someone walking outside with alcohol, they tell the person they cannot do so.
When Waupaca SpeakEasy received a warning for being open after hours, Jaworski said in that instance, the bartender had difficulty getting people to leave.
“It was about two to five minutes after bartime,” he said.