New bar establishment coming to Dwight

January 23, 2019

The recent closure of Mike’s Bar and Grill has left a void in the Dwight community, but Duane Tejral and Clair Novacek plan to fill it with their new establishment, Pivo’s Tavern.

The building, 182 Second St. in Dwight, has served as a bar since the 1920s. Most recently, the venue was home to Mike’s Bar and Grill, which had been operated by Mike Cooker since 2012. On Oct. 9, 2018, the business’s liquor license was canceled by the Nebraska Liquor Control Commission (NLCC) and officially went into effect on Nov. 18, 2018..

According to a document from the NLCC, the reasoning behind the decision was due to an incident occurring around the time of April 5, 2018. The document states the bar refused to permit or unreasonably delayed the entry of law enforcement officers into the premises in order to determine if the bar had been in violation of the law by allowing patrons to have alcohol past 2:15 a.m.

While the investigation found this to not be the case, the interference resulted in the NLCC revoking the license due to a violation of state law. The business was also fined $115.50. The Banner-Press was unable to get in contact with Cooker for a comment for this story.

Novacek and Tejral are two longtime friends and said they have dreamed of owning a bar of their own. With Mike’s closing, they saw an opportunity and purchased the property.

“We’ve been considering it for a long time, and the timing was right I guess,” Novacek said. “We want to keep the bar in town. We think it’s a part of the community. It’s a gathering point.”

Currently, the owners are renovating the building and updating its kitchen. Tejral said they plan to replace the venue’s current bar with a horseshoe-shaped one, like on the classic TV show “Cheers.” The duo said they are excited to have the opportunity to own and operate an establishment at the center of their community’s social life.

“It’s fun meeting new people, I really enjoy that,” Tejral said.

The opening date will depend on when the business can get inspected by the fire marshal, health inspector and approved for a liquor license. The owners said they are hoping to have it up and running sometime around late February or in early March. Novacek said the new name of the business is a reference to the area’s Czech heritage.

“Pivo is the Czech name for beer,” Novacek said. “We have a Czech heritage here and we wanted to put a Czech name into it.”

The owners are considering having a steak or rib night on the weekends. Tejral said they would also like to have a fish fry and wing night. Since the two both work full-time jobs, they plan on hiring staff to operate the business when they are unavailable.

Dwight Village Board Chairman Steve Policky said the bar’s place in a small community is important, adding his excitement for the opening of the new venue.

“You need a hub and you need a place to go in town, and it’s important for any small business in any small community to survive and help the community grow and thrive,” Policky said.

Eric Schucht is a reporter for The Banner-Press. Reach him via email at eric.schcuht@lee.net.

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