Theater-district hotel now checks event Web sites to keep from getting caught again in the scourge of techie open bars

Officials at the Revere Hotel on Stuart Street told the Boston Licensing Board today they had no idea a group of companies that organized a Christmas party for local tech start-ups was selling tickets - a violation of the state law that prohibits open bars at events open to just anyone.

At a hearing this morning, hotel officials said they're now taking a tip from the BPD Licensed Premises Unit, whose detectives regularly scour sites such as EventBrite looking for potential upcoming violations of state and local liquor regulations - and then make a visit on the night of the events to write out citations.

Hotel attorney Dennis Quilty said that hotel officials thought the companies that reserved space for a Dec. 13 bash - with proceeds going to charity - were running a private event, with a guest list and everything, at which open bars are allowed. Quilty said nobody at the hotel knew just any Tom, Dick or Harriet could buy tickets online to the event online until detectives showed up, observed people getting drinks without forking over any money or credit cards and wrote out a citation.

Sgt. Det. Robert Mulvey said the hotel and bar staff were very cooperative and immediately converted the operation to a cash bar, as required under a state Alcoholic Beverages Control Commisison regulation, 204 CMR 4.03. He added the hotel manager to whom he gave the citation "seemed to be taken by surprise," when informed the party was not actually a private one.

In addition to monitoring the Internet, officials say they now go over state liquor regs with people renting rooms for alcohol-enhanced events, and require them to provide copies of their guest lists if they are throwing a private party.



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Wait but politicians can sell

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"Plates" for $35,000 and have a open bar........ Every Non-Profit dinner i'v ever attended requires you to purchase plate/seat/table and they all offer open bars. How is it any different than purchasing a ticket.



... doesn't the BPD contact the hotels (etc.) in advance -- and warn them that there is reason to believe they might be the setting for an upcoming "private party" that isn't really private?


So will.....

You see someone sleeping ( or closing their eyes) behind a station when you have no idea whether they are on duty, taking a rest I between shifts, etc,etc, and you bring this joke out every time you want to?

Imagine if hosting lousy trivia games were a crime? How many bars would be in trouble after that one? Would MA have to bring the death penalty back?


He's on station property....

On camera, and might not have his personal stuff with him. I've been behind that station a thousand times, I've seen sleeping cops maybe once or twice. Trust me, that's the last place a cop would go if he wants to sleep, most do it if they don't have other options.

Good question, stupid frickin' answer

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The detectives at the Licensed Premises Unit obviously knew in advance that this event was happening - they looked it up on EventBrite - but instead of calling the hotel manager to talk to him about it, waited until the night of the event and basically raided the place (at least they didn't shut the whole thing down and herd large numbers of miscreants into vans for transport down to booking).

Have you actually ever seen a BPD officer asleep in a cruiser somewhere?


Yea he has.

Behind the police station on City property, not even knowing if the cop was on duty or not.

It happens....

Like accountants, dentists, plumbers, schoolteachers, and any other professional group, the ranks of BPD officers contain a mix of angels, devils, hard workers, slackers, etc., with the vast majority being decent, ordinary people trying to do a good job.

Last time I saw a BPD officer sleeping in a cruiser was at least two years ago, at the corner of Washington and Essex streets downtown. I had to knock repeatedly on his window to wake him so he could deal with a drunk who was harassing people on the sidewalk.

I didn't report it or make a big deal out of it, nor do I claim it happens a lot. Pete, how about you quit claiming it never happens.

Because its my job to catch them.

And I report them. And I look for them. And I don't find them that often, in fact its very rare. And I wouldn't say crime is up because police are sleeping in their cars all the time. That's moronic and just a poster trolling.

To answer this question......

There are certain regulations that are easier to enforce by showing up than just tipping them off. You would be surprised at how many people will keep breaking the law (or trying to) until they get caught. It is the license holder who is responsible for knowing the laws ultimately.

Inadequate reason

In this case the BPD is in possession of _information_ that could HELP the license holder ensure the right things happen. Besides, if the license holder IS warnened -- and goes ahead, then there is grounds for really smacking them down.


Ok let me rephrase it.....

What happens is that the cops call and tip them off that what they are doing is wrong. The bar says ok, we won't do it again. Then they do it again and the cops don't catch them, except this time, someone gets over served and stabs someone in the bar. The next day the boss asks why this place wasn't cited the last time, and that they should have known that this bar was up to no good. If it was cited, no one would have gotten hurt this time. The city could be liable, or at the very least has to activate the lawyers to answer for frivolous lawsuits.

Long story short, the theory is that, tipping people off does not reduce future violations. That goes for most crimes in my opinion.

Not convincing me

The bar has done nothing wrong at the point we are talking about. It has agreed to host what has been represented to be a private party -- and has no reason to know the upcoming event is NOT one. Not a question of "doing it again", the problem can be prevented ahead of time. The party-givers have either got to prove their bona fides -- or the event's alcohol provision has to be made legit or the event canceled. On the other hand, if the venue blows off the warning, then the book can be thrown at them.


Tipping them off is a warning.

And warnings don't work. If someone gets hurt the next time, then the victim is going to want answers as to why the City isn't enforcing the liqueur laws that the bar is supposed to know.

Not paying attention at all, are you?

How does "knowing the liquor laws" tip off a bar that the event isn't acrually what it's sponsor represented it would be? What sort of proof is a bar supposed to get, in advance, to be assured that the event IS what was purported to be? Maybe the police ought to work WITH license holders, rather than playing "gotcha" -- at least unless a bar shows a pattern of deliberately trying to avoid the rules on a repeated basis.


I'll get some better answers for you later...

But it is their bar, they need to control the guest list, they need to make sure to do a head count and inform the groups hiring the bar about which pouring license requires. It isn't up to the group hiring the place to know the laws.

Maybe the bar didn't tell them?

Yes, it is.

It isn't up to the group hiring the place to know the laws.

The only failure by the bar/hotel was their in-house event booker, who didn't go over the contract line-by line with the organizers.

I've been an organizer for events like this; these regulations are IN THE CONTRACT. But they didn't a) use a lawyer and b) didn't read it themselves. It's likely the group's rep was someone who's booked company XMas parties at that hotel before; and simply didn't ever read the contract.

The contracts also include clauses like, "if you get us in trouble with the law, we will hold you financially responsible."

I use a lawyer only because I've been burned once, I'm a programmer, and legalese isn't one of my languages.


If hypotheticals...

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...were an Olympic sport, you'd be a gold medalist in Sochi.


Depends on the nature of the crime.

I pulled into an intersection and put on my left blinker. The police officer who was directing traffic blew his whistle and pointed to a "no left turn" sign that was mostly obscured by a tree. I turned off my blinker and proceeded straight ahead. By your logic he should have let me make the turn and given me a ticket.

I can't believe that there's

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I can't believe that there's a BPD officer(s) whose job is to do this. What a waste of public money.

I hope someone has an open party with $0.01 drinks just to fuck with this moronic law


This isn't the only thing they do

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They also regularly inspect restaurants and bars to make sure we never have another Cocoanut Grove (just today, there was a hearing on a restaurant that had an emergency exit bolted shut before all the customers had left), make sure bars aren't letting teens go berserk with their fake IDs or letting older customers go berserk with their fists and various other weapons, etc.


Which Restaurant?

What restaurant was the one that got accused of that? It's funny you should mention the Cocoanut Grove in this thread as that's the site the Revere Hotel is build on.


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That wouldn't happen either... can't have drink specials in MA either.

These units usually get more gangbangers than the gang unit....

Where there is illegal booze and violations of the alcohol laws, there are often criminals associated with these violations. Druggies, people with warrants, illegals with federal warrants, etc, etc are captured often by this enforcement, (or info leading to their arrest is obtained). Sometimes you might just find minor violations, and sometimes you find serious ones.


1 cent drinks? - serious question

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Could the hotel have switched to selling drinks for one penny each? Would that have satisfied the no open bar requirement? The law seems to say no.

What the promoter should have

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What the promoter should have done is sold drink tickets along with the admission - so with admission they get 3 or 4 drink tickets. the cost of the drink would have been included in the total price that the attendee pays for the event. Without that simple transaction of a symbol of perceived value they ended up breaking the law. The way the law is written it's on the premise that you cannot discount alcohol. if patron A pays $25 for a ticket, and consumes 3 drinks, but patron B pays the same and consumes 6 drinks, patron B essentially had discounted drinks. If they were given a set amount of drink tickets a piece, it doesn't matter how many they use on their own or how many they give away for others to consume.

1 cent drinks

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Under the law that governs happy hours, prices must remain consistent for 1 week (though this is loosly enforced). As a result, they could sell drinks for a penny, but would have to do it all week long.


If the cops have time for this?....

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Then why isn't hackney down at South Station busting Uber drivers for soliciting people getting off of the trains? Last Friday my client's train was over an hour late and while I was parked across from the cab stand around 2PM waiting, Uber drivers were literally standing in front of the cab stand actively soliciting fares. When I inquired why they would do that, one Uber driver of Russian descent told me," Hey, is slow now for Uber, won't pick up til rush hour". When I cautioned him that one of the cab drivers he was stealing from might hit him upside his head with a tire iron for stealing from them, he told me they didn't have the balls.



Good question, but A doesn't mean B

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Just because, as the Globe proved, the hackney unit is dysfunctional doesn't mean that another division (three full-time detectives) should just quit what it's doing.


on a completely unrelated topic

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Wanted to ask you if you know the rules around luggage and van taxis. Even though I hailed one, called for another and got the third at Logan each time they told me I had a luggage fee (I did have some large bags in tow each time one per person) but never requested a van. The bags would have been fine in an ordinary cab. This was just who showed up, next in line etc. Is there a baggage fee for that? Thought it was only on a radio call when u ask for a cab. Anyone else know the rule?


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Thought it was just if you request a van. I'll specifically request NOT to have a van - esp. to/from Logan in the future. I get they consume extra gas - but not going to pay for it if I don't need it.

Granted - I looked up the Uber prices to the airport and they were almost the same as a cab these days, especially with luggage fees.