Madison’s ‘Smut ‘n’ Eggs’ Venue Retains Its License

MADISON, Wisc.—According to Bennett’s Meadowood Country Club manager Ashley Martino, for at least the past 15 years, on the Sunday afternoon before each Super Bowl, the bar and grill has brought in a troupe of strippers to entertain its guests, who presumably have just finished their “Smut ‘n’ Eggs” brunch. Trouble is, according to Assistant City Attorney Jennifer Zilavy, not to mention the city’s Alcohol License and Review Committee (ALRC), none of those stripper shows were legal under the club’s adult entertainment license, which allows Bennett’s to show “Porn in the Morn”—hardcore videos to its breakfast/brunch customers—on weekend mornings, as it has done for the past 40 years. The strip first hit the fan in late May, when Zilavy brought the issue before the committee for the first time, though she claimed that she’d sent a “cease and desist letter” for a similar event in 2018. Bennett’s attorney Joseph Klein, who represents the establishment and did at that time as well, claimed to be unaware of the letter—and also claimed that this year’s stripping event was the only one that had occurred, contradicting the bar’s manager. However, at a June 17 committee meeting, Bennett’s owner James Bennett affirmed that the stripper shows were indeed a yearly event. Worse, at the May meeting, Zilavy called the committee’s attention to Bennett’s Facebook page, which contained a post dated December 2019 which advertised that another stripper event, this time with all male dancers, would be taking place a few weeks after the January show. “There’s been no more advertisements … in any way shape or form that has included strippers as a promotion, and there will be no more,” Klein retorted. No male review took place. The trouble with the May 28 hearing was, the committee had a legally imposed deadline of June 15 by which it had to approve renewals for alcohol licenses, which meant that the City Council had to approve such renewals at its June 2 meeting. On advice from Assistant City Attorney Steven Brist—who noted that if committee members did not want to renew, their only option was to pursue revocation at a later date, as well as other city attorneys’ advice—both the City Council and the ALRC voted to renew the license. The committee members were a bit put out, however, to learn that James Bennett is what the Wisconsin State Journal termed a “snow bird,” meaning that he often spends his winters in Florida, and that the reason he failed to attend the May 28 ALRC meeting was because of pandemic-related travel problems. That led Zilavy to suggest that Bennett consider assigning someone else to act as an agent to oversee the restaurant’s liquor license instead of Bennett himself, adding that that person should be “someone who is truly involved in the day-to-day operation.” And while ALRC members agreed that that would be a good change, it declined to deny the bar its liquor license because of that. Of course, thanks to the current pandemic, Bennett’s is now only open for takeout, so customers will have to find their porn elsewhere, but Martino said he hopes to get back in business as soon as it’s safe to do so.

written by: Mark Kernes

source: Madison’s ‘Smut ‘n’ Eggs’ Venue Retains Its License | AVN