Permit for topless bar in West Michigan submitted by mistake

FILER TWP. — A permit for topless activities was filed by mistake for a Filer Township bar. That’s according to Les Van Alstine, a Manistee lawyer who represents the applicant, Kari Warren Holdings LLC. 

“The applicant asked for all of the permits that it could, that did not have any additional cost associated with it,” Van Alstine told the News Advocate in an email. 

That includes requests for adult entertainment permits.  

Initial paperwork for new extended hours, topless activity, dance entertainment and outdoor services were submitted to the Michigan Liquor Control Commission in July, with an inspection taking place in early August. 

Permits were filed in conjunction with a requested transfer of a liquor license for the Jail House Bar property located at 2707 Nelson St. in Filer Township. 

“The only concern is that folks will object to the transfer because of the perception that a topless entertainment facility is going to be opening there,” Van Alstine wrote. “It is not my client’s intention to open such a bar.” 

Van Alstine said that requests for topless activity and extended hours had been withdrawn. However, approval of these permits were still pending as of 2 p.m. on Sept. 15, according to the liquor commission’s website.  

“The Michigan Liquor Control Commission processes requests for retail licenses, such as restaurants, bars, hotels, convenience and grocery stores, as well as manufacturer and wholesaler licenses for breweries, distilleries, wineries and their salesperson,” the commission’s website states. 

The licensing division also administers the annual license renewal process for all licensees, verifies licensee insurance and processes requests for new and temporary permits. 

"The entire process from start to end may take several months, or longer, on average. At this time no decision has been rendered on this," said Jeannie Vogel, public relations officer for LARA and the Michigan Liquor Control Commission in a prior interview. 

As part of this process, the commission also sends information on these requests to local municipal bodies, which prompted the Filer Township Board of Trustees to take action. 

According to minutes from the township's Aug. 12 meeting, the board voted on a motion to direct the township attorney to draft a letter to the commission regarding their concerns about the permit. 

Van Alstine said it was unclear if the board was informed of the rescinded permit requests. 

“The inspection was completed last month, the applicant’s paperwork was due this week and it goes from there,” Van Alstine said. “Everything has been submitted to liquor control so we are waiting for approval from the commissioners and then the township will review and decide.” 

Other questions, including future plans for the bar, sent to Van Alstine’s office Wednesday morning were not answered by publication time that evening.  

Related: Topless activity permit pending for Filer Twp. bar