West Allis tries to find way to allow café to serve cocktails

March 19, 2014

Urban Joe's Café, which opened six months ago in downtown West Allis, could end up serving cocktails after all — that is, if the city can narrow the parameters enough so that it won't be deluged by similar requests for liquor licenses, which have already surpassed a self-imposed limit.

The Common Council originally denied the request by Urban Joe's owner Pullum Tairi for a liquor license, but pleas at the council meeting two weeks ago led to the request being sent back to the License and Health Committee, which met Tuesday night.

The committee was sympathetic, but told Tairi that if it goes further over the limit for him it will have to do so for anyone asking for a liquor license, thereby crippling the city's effort to reduce the number of taverns. (The city current has allowed 124 such licenses, four more than it wants.)

But noting that Urban Joe's is the kind of business the city wants to attract, especially to the downtown, the committee did some creative thinking, resulting in it finding a way to narrow the parameters for granting a license so much so that others would be unlikely to qualify. The Community Development Department is now working on the details and will come back to the committee and the Common Council.

Urban Joe's has become a popular breakfast and lunch spot. Tairi wants to serve cocktails to make the shop an attractive night time destination for business people and couples.

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