Officials backpedal after bras hanging in bar ordered taken down

MILWAUKEE (WITI) -- A long-standing tradition at the Holler House bar, calling for visitors to leave a personal item of clothing behind, was recently in jeopardy for being a fire hazard.

"I got an order that I gotta take the bras down, they're a fire hazard," said the bar's owner, Marcy Skowronski.

87-year-old Skowronski remembers when the tradition started.

"About 45 years ago all the girls got together and we were drinking so we decided to take our bras off and hang them up," recalls Skowronski.

The hanging bras, as well as boxer shorts, became the bar's signature.

In April, Skowronski was told the dangling undergarments were violating fire codes. She was served an order to take them down.

"You know, I got a retired chief of police that comes in here and he was on an arson squad and he says 'I never heard of a fire starting with a bra,'" said Skowronski.

"Quite frankly, I think the city is overreaching on this whole thing," said Alderman Bob Donovan.

Donovan made several calls to the Department of Neighborhood Services asking them to reverse the order.

"I know Marcy is probably one of the best operators in my district," said Donovan.

On Thursday, May 16th, the city dismissed the order, allowing the bras and boxers to go back up.

"Put the bras back up, well that's great!" said Skowronski. "We're gonna have a party for that and call the girls!"

The Department of Neighborhood Services tells FOX6 that upon further review, the order was wrong. Based on the size of the bar and the location of its exit, the undergarments are not a fire hazard.

In a statement, the department explains they initially thought the hanging bras would make it easier for flames to spread from wall coverings and other wall decorations.