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Posted on Thu, Mar 17, 2011 : 6:15 p.m.

City still considering non-renewal of Fifth Quarter liquor license; Dream Niteclub will pay taxes

By Paula Gardner

One of two downtown Ann Arbor bars facing a recommendation for liquor license non-renewal has reached a compromise with city officials, while a decision hasn’t yet been reached for the second bar.

Dream Niteclub is setting up a payment schedule for $4,841, according to information cited Thursday at a Liquor Control Commission committee meeting.

That agreement will head to City Council for a final vote, committee chair Tony Derezinski said.

The rest of Thursday’s three-hour meeting was dedicated to a hearing for the Fifth Quarter, the final bar remaining on the city’s list of establishments targeted for a possible non-renewal recommendation for its annual liquor license renewal.

Assistant City Attorney Bob West called several police witnesses to detail their experiences with calls to the bar since 2009, including fights, assaults and unruly behavior.

Much of the testimony and the process of the hearing was challenged by attorney David Rosenberg, representing Fifth Quarter owners Andrus McDonald and Jeff Starman. The attorney complained about the process and the validity of the testimony.

Rosenberg also said that the owners have made several changes to the operations since late October, when multiple police departments were called to the bar at 210 S. Fifth Ave. for a fight. They include initiating a dress code and making staff changes.

“The number of serious complaints have dwindled,” Rosenberg said.

He also said that threatening the bar’s liquor license could destroy the owners’ hopes of selling it — it was listed last week. A potential buyer may turn it into a sports bar, Rosenberg added.

“Denial at this point would kill the deal and cause a $2 million loss,” he said.

Yet the police witnesses emphasized that the number of calls and police response required at the Fifth Quarter exceeds other bars in the city.

Derezinski gave West and Rosenberg until City Hall closes on Friday to submit additional evidence, so that a recommendation could go before City Council for a final vote Monday.

That vote will result in a recommendation that would be forwarded to the Michigan Liquor Control Commission, which would make the final determination on any action regarding the license.

Paula Gardner is Business News Director of Contact her at 734-623-2586 or by email. Sign up for the weekly Business Review newsletter, distributed every Thursday, here.


Bob Martel

Thu, Mar 17, 2011 : 11:26 p.m.

I seriously question the economic viability of a business of this nature that needs a payment plan for a $4,800 debt. If the existence of the payment plan is indeed true, the story of Dream Niteclub's demise is not finished.


Thu, Mar 17, 2011 : 10:45 p.m.

Bob West is not the City Attorney of Ann Arbor, he is only an assistant city attorney. It is ironic that he, of all members of the legal department of the City of Ann Arbor, be assigned to elicit testimony of drunken or unruly behavior. The video of his drunken driving arrest and behavior toward the investigating deputy sheriff in Scio Township had thousands of hits on YouTube; the incident resulted in a well-deserved unpaid suspension from Steve Postema - the REAL City Attorney. That said, the Fifth Quarter has undoubtedly had its problems and there is no doubt that denying a renewal would be a very popular move in many quarters but certainly not the Fifth Quarter.