John Caron says he's at his wit's end: Guys keep making like "gorillas" and latching onto the pipes attached to his bar's low-ceilinged basement and plunging to the ground or starting fights, causing injuries and earning him yet another trip to the city's two licensing boards.
Today, Caron had to explain to Patricia Malone, director of the Mayor's Office of Consumer Affairs and Licensing, why she should believe his story that a patron was being escorted out of the Portland Street bar on April 14 for hanging from the pipes and that it was one of his pals who jumped a bouncer, causing a melee that left the guy with a shiner.
The patron, who did not attend the hearing, told police he'd gotten up on a bench to look for a friend when bouncers ordered him down and then one of them sucker punched him in the face.
Because this is Boston, Caron and police officers get to repeat their stories next week before the Boston Licensing Board, which operates independently of Malone's office.
Caron said he doesn't know why the pipes have proven such a magnet for his male customers, but that "for whatever reasons, it happens often."
"Kids today," he sighed.
Malone suggested he put up a sign warning people not to hang from the pipes.
"We take care of it as it happens," he replied. "With all due respect, I don't know what a sign would do." In the most recent incident, he said, the guy started swinging from the pipes despite the presence of 20 bouncers and other staffers.
"He was hanging like a gorilla," he said of the April 14 patron.
"Normal people, even if they've had one too many, don't hang on pipes, or maybe I live in a different world," Malone retorted.