Last week, the Wednesday night crowd at Walter's on North was about half the turnout that would have filled the bar six months ago, Alderman Bobby Pantuso said.
He speculated the statewide smoking ban that went into effect in July was keeping some customers away. A smoking patio might help bring back some business.
The Common Council on Tuesday voted unanimously to allow owner George "Butch" Grbich to construct a patio in the parking lot behind the business, 6930 W. North Ave., where patrons can take a cigarette break or order food and drink.
Pantuso said he's talked to Grbich and his staff and they realize the approval "is a privilege that can be yanked" if noise or other problems occur that disturb the surrounding residential neighborhood.
Grbich is not sure whether the patio will be constructed this fall or wait until spring. Before alcohol can be served outside, Walter's will need to obtain an extension to its liquor license.
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