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Rehab tavern in Menomonie trying to save its liquor license 

Rehab tavern trying to save its liquor license amid community concerns

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    A special public hearing will be held by the Menomonie City Council on Monday to decide whether Rehab tavern loses its liquor license.

    Staff photo by Ben Rueter
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MENOMONIE — A special public hearing on Monday will decide whether Rehab tavern loses its liquor license, sees some type of suspension or escapes punishment after the tavern received multiple drinking citations in April.

Rehab, 631 Broadway St. S., has been a focal point for discussion about Menomonie’s downtown drinking culture. After April 12, 45 underage drinking infractions and other citations were issued at Rehab, which is owned by David Zempel.

The tavern applied to renew its Class B beer and Class B liquor licenses, which would go into effect July 1. But at the May 21 City Council meeting, the council unanimously favored notifying Rehab of its intention to not renew the liquor licenses.

“I want them to see that there is a human side to this,” said Zempel, who will be speaking for Rehab on Monday.

Since April, Zempel has said that a number of changes have been made to Rehab. He added an ID scanner, alarm to the rear door to prevent people from sneaking in, a second person to check IDs at the bar, and installed a camera to monitor the area where IDs are checked.

Zempel also hired a consulting service to administer training to better monitor underage drinking, which he said met this week.

He said he understands why people are upset, but wants to start a conversation about binge drinking in downtown Menomonie and find ways to prevent this from happening again. 

In a blog post this week, UW-Stout Chancellor Bob Meyer again addressed the council and urged members to “make a strong statement” by denying Rehab’s liquor licence.

He draws attention to Rehab’s 10th annual Intervention Fest held two weeks before graduation that invites people to start drinking at the tavern when it opens at 10 a.m. He also points out the tavern’s “all you can drink” and “Thirsty Thursday” specials.

“However, this owner has shown a brazen disregard for any semblance of the duty he has to serve alcohol according to state and local laws, as well as to operate his establishment as a responsible business owner and member of the community,” Meyer said in his blog.

The public hearing will begin at 6 p.m. Monday at the Dunn County Government Center, 800 Wilson Ave.

Contact: 715-830-5840,, @BenRueter on Twitter

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