John Koop, aka Flo, the effervescent host of Flo's Cabaret at 1911 Main Street, wants to extend the bar's 1:30 a.m. license so he can stay open until 3 a.m.
Koop's crowds come from all over the Midwest to drink, dine and take in his outrageous drag show, he says, but once the performances end at midnight, folks leave Flo's for the 3 a.m. bars in the P&L District and midtown.
City employees at Regulated Industries told Koop that his 3 a.m. license application would be subject to a city ordinance passed last month. It requires bars and clubs to get the approval of churches or schools within 100 to 300 feet before they can upgrade their liquor license.
Fine, Koop figured. There aren't any churches in the Crossroads, right?
You see where this is going ...
Turns out, there's a church around the corner from Flo's Cabaret: New Life Ministries, which holds bible studies and services on the 4th floor of the office building at 1828 Walnut.
"I invited Pastor Troy (Campbell) over to have coffee and talk about it, " Koop tells The Pitch. "He said he'd have to think about it, so while he was thinking, I drew up a letter and walked it over to him."
Two weeks went by without any word from Campbell, Koop says, so he called the church. Campbell informed him that he wasn't comfortable with the idea of signing his consent to extend Flo's hours.
Campbell says it wasn't a fun decision for him to make. "I hate to be that guy that has to sign it," he says. "I told [Koop], it's a conscience issue for me. I don't feel like there's a lot of good things that happen for our city between 1:30 and 3 a.m. with alcohol involved. I would feel really, really bad if I heard about someone leaving Flo's, driving drunk at 2:30 and hurting someone. I'd feel like I allowed it to happen."
That's small consolation for Koop, who says that he's gone to great lengths to make sure his business is lawful. No one's ever called the cops on Flo's, he says, nor has he heard from the residents who live in the apartment building across the street. Not only that, Koop says, but his letter to Campbell outlined all of the philanthropic work that goes on at Flo's to prove that the business is a positive influence in the neighborhood.
"I'm really trying to see it from his point of view," Koop says. "I really am ... [but] I don't tell them what to preach on the pulpit on Sundays, so I certainly don't understand why they have any say over my business."
Campbell says he thought about checking with the KCPD or Regulated Industries to validate Koop's claim that his cabaret isn't one of the troublemakers. But even if Flo's record checked out, Campbell admits, it wouldn't solve his ethical dilemma. "I just struggle trying to see, what's the value in it?" he says. "I feel like I'm making enemies, and I don't want to. As great a guy as John is, I really don't know what the 'win' is in it for New Life."
Campbell said he doubts he's not the only one in the Crossroads who would turn Flo's 3 .a.m. license down. Then he turned his ethical dilemma around on me. But since I drowned my guilty conscience years ago, I'm gonna ask you, Plog readers: If you were Pastor Troy, what would you do?