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West Village’s Summer Wine and Beer Garden Hangout Isn’t Returning for 2019

The Villages Bier & Weingarten faced challenges with its seasonal liquor license

wine bottles Michelle and Chris Gerard

The West Village neighborhood’s popular seasonal outdoor drinking spot is shutting down for the 2019 season. The Villages Bier & Weingarten announced to Facebook followers on Friday, June 14 that the low-key, seasonal hangout would be closed for the summer. The organizers hope to eventually “open up in a new location that will have indoor and outdoor space for all.”

The Villages Bier & Weingarten was developed by several partners including the Villages Community Development Council, a resident Dr. Curt Wimmer, property developer Banyan Investments, and other community organizations in West Village, Indian Village, and East Village. In a separate statement released on Monday, the operators confirm that the pop-up faced challenges with its temporary nonprofit liquor license for the 2019 season due to an audit by state regulators at the Michigan Liquor Control Commission.

Throughout the past few years, the temporary nonprofit liquor license has become much more popular across Michigan, and with that growth in popularity, caught the attention of state regulators. In January of this year, we were notified that we were being audited by the Michigan Liquor Control Commission (MLCC). To date, we still have not yet been notified by the MLCC of the findings of their audit, though we have been in regular contact with them, and fully cooperative throughout the audit. In conjunction with our operator, Brut Detroit, we made the mutual decision to cancel the event this year. It now appears unlikely that we will receive approval for the liquor licenses, despite the lack of official audit findings and other information from MLCC staff.

The Villages Bier & Weingarten began popping up in the summer of 2016 in a grassy park area on Van Dyke Street behind Red Hook Coffee and Detroit Vegan Soul. It featured pop-up a wine bar Brut Detroit and food truck-turned-restaurant Yum Village made regular appearances for brunch. Each season, the space seemed to grow more popular for people simply grabbing a drink with their dog or dropping in to listen to live music.

In light of the liquor license issues, the organizers appear to be investigating new options for hosting events. Fans of Brut Detroit, meanwhile, can check out the bar at the Dequindre Cut Freight Yard near Eastern Market this summer.

All Pop-Ups Coverage [ED]