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Owner sells Et Cetera bar

BY DANNY VALENTINE | JANUARY 28, 2010 7:30 AM

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Goodbye Et Cetera. Hello, Slippery Petes.

An owner of 3rd Base, 111 E. College St, along with the bar’s general manager and a third party, recently purchased the bar Et Cetera, 118 S. Dubuque St., after its owner decided it was time to leave the bar scene.

On Monday, the Iowa City City Council unanimously approved the liquor license and dance permit for the new bar, Slippery Petes. The liquor license will go into effect Feb. 1, but it was not immediately clear when the new establishment would open.

Owners did not return phone calls on Thursday.

Et Cetera owner George Etre, who also owns Iowa City Fitness, 221 E. College St., and Takanami, 219 Iowa Ave., said he cemented the deal around a week ago.

Several factors contributed to his decision for closing, but he said one of the primary reasons was that the bar received a ticket for serving an underage patron this fall.

“If I can’t run it perfectly the way I want, I don’t want anything to do with that,” Etre said.

Et Cetera was one of seven bars whose employees failed an alcohol-compliance check in November 2009, according to Iowa City police.

Etre said he wasn’t at the bar as much as he wanted to be and the hours were starting to grind on him.

“There’s a lot of money in these bars, but there is also a lot of responsibility and liability,” he said. “I’m ready to mature and move on.”

He said slow business — one of the bar’s worst fall semesters — was also a factor in his decision to leave, but “financially, we could have weathered that storm.”

Etre said he didn’t have any difficulty selling the bar, and he noted that smaller bars are profitable and easier to manage. “Controlling people in a big bar is much harder,” he said.

Current Et Cetera employees have the opportunity to work at his other businesses, he said. He is also working on a project, possibly another restaurant, that could staff Et Cetera employees.

Owning a bar today takes more time and effort than it did when he first started six years ago, Etre said.

His priorities have changed a lot compared with when he first began. For the first five years, the No. 1 goal was making sure bartenders didn’t serve underage patrons, he said. Now, employees need to focus on making sure drinks don’t get handed to an underage patron.

Erin Moreau, a UI student and Et Cetera employee, said Etre made the announcement to staff Wednesday night, but there had been rumors circling around the bar, and she wasn’t surprised.

“The city has just been on his back about his liquor license,” she said. “He probably wants a new start.”

Earlier this fall, the City Council recommended stripping Et Cetera’s and 3rd Base’s liquor licenses because of underage drinking ticket ratios over one per police visit.

However, an administrative judge overturned the decision. The city has appealed.


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