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Palace Bar licenses may not be renewed

Superior Police Chief Nicholas Alexanders asked the city council to take action against what he feels is a 'disorderly or riotous' establishment.

Palace Bar at 1108 Tower Avenue
Palace Bar at 1108 Tower Ave. in Superior on Tuesday, May 17, 2022.
Jed Carlson / Superior Telegram
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SUPERIOR — After more than 150 calls for police services since January 2021 — including fights, battery, disturbances, a weapons violation last year and a shooting in the early morning hours of March 18 this year — the Superior City Council is considering action against the Palace Bar, 1108 Tower Ave.

Those incidents and more than 100 bar checks by the Superior Police Department in the same time frame revealed five liquor law violations, according to police department data.

The council on Tuesday, May 17, set a public hearing for June 7 to consider nonrenewal of the Palace Bar’s liquor and amusement device licenses at the request of Superior Police Chief Nicholas Alexander.

The reason for the nonrenewal is based on violations of Wisconsin law for maintaining a “disorderly or riotous, indecent or improper house” and similar violations of city ordinances related to license establishments, Alexander wrote in a memo to the council.

“The establishment known as the Palace Bar has been the source of repeated, continuous and ongoing calls for police service for incidents involving drunkenness and violence in recent months,” Alexander wrote. “Just since April of 2021, the city’s police department has documented numerous incidents of physical confrontation at the Palace Bar, including several one-on-one and large group fights that have occurred both within the bar and/or have spilled out onto the bar’s parking lot. Several people involved in the incidents of violence were proven to be underage.”

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Fights at the bar have resulted in battery charges, and the March altercation involved two people drawing firearms and one person discharging the weapon toward a group of people attempting to flee, the chief said.

Councilor Mark Johnson, who holds a conceal and carry permit, questioned the legality of having a firearm in a tavern.

It is legal to have a firearm in a tavern, Alexander said, but the individual possessing the firearm would not be permitted to drink alcohol. He said if an establishment posts that no firearms are allowed on premises, they would be prohibited.

“I was thinking about our other establishments that we have throughout the city and wondering if we could put a memo out that is just a reminder … of the statutes and ordinances?” Johnson asked.

Mayor Jim Paine said after speaking about it earlier in the day, he started a draft to remind license holders of the relevant laws that govern their license. Paine said while the city will remain strict about safe environments, it’s also the city’s role to help create safe environments.

“They know their establishments best and if they need help, they can reach out to us, and we are always willing—and in fact eager—to work with businesses that want to improve or are dealing with a problem,” Paine said. “The police have a number of resources that they can use to help.”

In fact, among the calls police responded to at the Palace Bar were 16 incidents of suspicious activity and 10 incidents of unwanted guests on the premises.

“I believe that the establishment known as the Palace Bar constitutes a ‘disorderly or riotous, indecent or improper house’ that threatens public health and safety, as well as enjoyment of the surrounding neighborhood,” Alexander stated.

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The council will consider nonrenewal of the Palace Bar's licenses at 6:30 p.m. June 7 in Room 201 of the Government Center.

Telegram reporter Maria Lockwood contributed to this report.

MORE FROM SHELLEY NELSON:
Councilors were not inclined to appoint someone to fill the 3rd District vacancy prior to the April 4 election.

Shelley Nelson is a reporter with the Duluth Media Group since 1997, and has covered Superior and Douglas County communities and government for the Duluth News Tribune from 1999 to 2006, and the Superior Telegram since 2006. Contact her at 715-395-5022 or snelson@superiortelegram.com.
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