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Council grants Jakes, Sidelines liquor licenses

BY KATHRYN STINSON | FEBRUARY 17, 2010 7:30 AM

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Keeping a liquor license hasn’t been an easy task for some Iowa City bar owners these days. In five months, Iowa City officials have recommended denying them to five establishments.

But two of those found a different fate on Tuesday night. The Iowa City City Council granted a liquor-license renewal for downtown bar One-Eyed Jakes and a new license for the yet-to-open Sidelines.

Councilors approved both unanimously without any discussion.

Mike Porter, who owns One-Eyed Jakes, 18-20 S. Clinton St., was denied a license two weeks ago at the advice of Iowa City Fire Chief Andrew Rocca.

Rocca said the establishment failed to meet the stairway-width standards of the International Fire Code. Since then, Porter has widened the staircase to meet the requirement.

Heather German, the former owner of the bar Los Cocos, 1921 Keokuk St., which closed after a stabbing in its parking lot, was denied a license for her new establishment, Sidelines, last month.

Iowa City Police Chief Sam Hargadine had submitted the negative recommendation to the council because German didn’t fit the Iowa Code’s “good moral character” criteria.

Despite past offenses, Porter and German’s liquor-license requests were approved because of their willingness to comply with the requests of city officials.

“Both of those denials were basically contingencies,” Councilor Mike Wright said on Tuesday afternoon. “And both were resolved.”

To qualify as a person of good moral character, the applicant must have a solid financial standing and a good reputation, according to the Iowa Alcoholic Beverages Division.

German had an outstanding court fee and banking debt. Though the license approved Tuesday was in Oscar German’s name, City Clerk Marian Karr said both applications were the same.

Iowa City police Sgt. Denise Brotherton said the financial obligation the Germans had was taken care of. The Germans were free to reapply after paying any outstanding fees, Brotherton said.

Though issues at Los Cocos provided trouble for the city, Wright said he doesn’t foresee any problems with the Germans’ new establishment, Sidelines, 320 E. Burlington St.

“She voluntarily surrendered her license for Los Cocos,” he said. “Barring any new evidence, in my opinion, I don’t think there would be any new problems.”


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