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The Stage club and lounge in the Einsiedlerhof section of Kaiserslautern has been put off-limits by Kaiserslautern military leadership for 45 days.

The Stage club and lounge in the Einsiedlerhof section of Kaiserslautern has been put off-limits by Kaiserslautern military leadership for 45 days. (Michael Abrams / S&S)

Because of safety concerns, the U.S. military has placed a Kaiserslautern, Germany, nightclub that is popular with Americans off limits to active-duty members.

The ban on patronizing Stage Club and Lounge started Friday and is in effect for 45 days, according to Ramstein Air Base spokesman Aaron Schoenfeld.

The restriction comes as local military leaders and safety experts conduct a comprehensive safety review of off-base clubs and bars, Schoenfeld said. More establishments could be banned in the future, he said.

"It’s part of an effort to ensure the overall safety and well-being of [Kaiserslautern military community] personnel," he said.

The concern with Stage Club and Lounge, which is in Einsiedlerhof, stems from overcrowding.

"It’s not supposed to have nearly as many people as they’ve been accommodating," Schoenfeld said. "In general, it’s a safety issue. Part of that are fire hazards that come with the overcrowding."

The local Armed Forces Disciplinary Control Board, led by Air Force and Army senior leaders, voted for the ban, Schoenfeld said. Brig. Gen. William Bender, the board’s president and 86th Airlift Wing and Kaiserslautern military community commander, issued the off-limits order last week in a memorandum addressed to "all KMC members."

Any military member caught entering or doing business with Stage Club and Lounge could be subject to punishment under the Uniform Code of Military Justice, according to the directive.

Dependents and civilians are encouraged to abide by the order, as well, Schoenfeld said. "This is geared towards everybody ... because it’s such a safety concern," he said.

The ban was not prompted by any incidents involving servicemembers, Schoenfeld said. The club was evaluated because of its popularity with Americans, he said.

A Kaiserslautern city spokeswoman said Monday city officials were not aware of the military’s ban on the club.

"The club has been checked by our authorities regularly as any other bar in K-town, but so far, no complaints have been made," she said.

Efforts to reach the club’s owner were unsuccessful. A neighboring business owner said the place was closed Friday and Saturday.

Schoenfeld said military representatives have visited the club several times to speak with the manager.

"A detailed explanation [for the ban] was provided to the owner. We’re hoping some of those improvements will be made," he said, adding if that happens, the ban could be lifted after 45 days.

Marcus Klöckner contributed to this story.

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Jennifer reports on the U.S. military from Kaiserslautern, Germany, where she writes about the Air Force, Army and DODEA schools. She’s had previous assignments for Stars and Stripes in Japan, reporting from Yokota and Misawa air bases. Before Stripes, she worked for daily newspapers in Wyoming and Colorado. She’s a graduate of the College of William and Mary in Virginia.
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