Mr. J's Lounge to close indefinitely after appeal to renew liquor license fails

MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) -- The Milwaukee Common Council has voted unanimously to not renew the liquor license for Mr. J's Lounge.

This, after the club appealed a decision not to renew the license from earlier this month, citing numerous violent incidents that neighbors have complained about.

"Are there neighbors in this group? Or are there just supporters?" asked Milwaukee 1st District Alderman Ashanti Hamilton during the City Council hearing Tuesday morning, March 1. 

Hands of people in support of Mr. J's Lounge shot up. Despite that, the vote to not renew was uncontested.

At Mr. J's, a banner with a phone number is on the building. Officials say it's for the furniture store in the same building -- for now.

Officials didn't outline plans, but said this isn't the end of their efforts.

Longtime patron, P. Thomas Thadison III, said what's being lost isn't just a place to drink.

"From the banquets, the scholarships, the awards, the family repasses, the special events, as well as the live culture of jazz, blues, and R&B," said Thadison.

Thadison said when the Water Street shooting caught live on TV during the Bucks run happened, liquor licenses weren't on the chopping block.

"[No one asked] whether they would be responsible for those situations," said Thadison.

Lorraine Moore lives behind Mr. J's Lounge.

"I'm not excited about somebody losing their business, because everyone has to make a living," said Moore.

Moore said she and neighbors are hoping this will help with issues they've faced.

"Cars being broken into, glass being left in front of our homes that we have to clean up, people being shot, we're hearing guns, people being loud at 1, 2, 3...in the morning," Moore said.

Moore suggested maybe upping the age of entry from 30 to 35, having security on site longer, or better soundproofing could make the business work for the neighborhood.

Both sides said more support and collaboration from Milwaukee police would be a big help to the situation.

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