After Mike Meier, owner of The Klinic Bar on South Park Street, preemptively canceled all of the bar's hip-hop shows earlier in May, rumors about the fate of the bar, its unsteady financial situation and troubles with the Alcohol License Review Committee led to speculation that it would soon close.
These rumors became reality last week when the Klinic's management posted on a note on the bar's website that it would close today, Monday, May 19.
Meier could not be reached for comment, but a bartender, who did not wish to be named, said, "I think it had something to do with landlords. They raised the rent and the music just wasn't cutting it."
The Klinic's booking manager, Jacob Stadfeld, wrote in e-mails to performers that the cancellation of hip-hop shows were a precautionary measure. The bar has attracted police attention recently due to violence erupting at two hip-hop shows, according to Madison Police Department South District Capt. Jim Wheeler.
"It is true that the owner of the bar, whose license is up for review at the end of this month, has been told that if there are any problems -- again, I say any problems -- he will be shut down," Stadfeld wrote in a May 6 e-mail to Pascal Bayley, or DJ Pain 1, who was scheduled to perform with hip-hop group L.O.S.T. S.O.U.L.S. Friday, May 9. "The owner of the club is not willing to risk his livelihood for one show."
Madison City Attorney Steven Brist said other problems, aside from violence at hip-hop shows, plagued the Klinic. Meier missed an April 11 warning meeting with the ALRC, after the bar was prosecuted in January for having an intoxicated bartender on duty.
This trouble came after the Klinic had its liquor license suspended and then reinstated in the summer of 2006, following similar trouble in 1996, 2002 and 2003. Brist stressed that as far as he knew, this week's shutdown was voluntary and not mandated by the ALRC or the city.
Madison Ald. Julia Kerr, whose district includes the Klinic, said she would have known if the ALRC had revoked the Klinic's license. She does not feel the bar's closure represents any great cultural loss for her district.
Despite the bar's legal and financial trouble in the past, landlord Adam Boyle said he believes Stadfeld is doing his best to make contact with all the bands and DJs who were booked to play the Klinic through the summer.
"[Meier] just took off," Boyle says. "Supposedly he's going to Florida, but I guess he's still in town now."