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State Street bar vows to shape up before city shuts it down

Kitty O'Shea's

As several police officers recited a litany of problems at Kitty O'Shea's over the the past few months at a Boston Licensing Board hearing today - from fights and smoking patrons jamming up the sidewalk to blaring music audible down the block - bar attorney William Burke offered no defense, only a promise to do better:

"Clearly there was a problem here," Burke told the board. "Clearly things got out of hand and they got out of hand rather quickly."

Burke said bar owner Kevin Loughney is hiring all new managers and ditching a DJ and dancing to try to restore order. He's also retained Cohasset Police Chief Mark DeLuca to write a new security manual for employees, Burke said. The board decides Thursday what action to take about three formal complaints filed by police against Kitty O'Shea's for incidents in August, September and October.

The bar's nadir came early Sept. 26, when a pushing and shoving match between two groups on the dance floor ended in an all out brawl that left one patron knocked into unconsciousness and required pretty much every available officer in District A-1 to break up. Det. Eric Eversley said that when the man came to, officers were unable to get information out of him because of "his level of intoxication" - and were unable to get any useful information out of other patrons because they were all too busy just trying to clear the place out.

In another incident on Aug. 22, a patron and bar manager Jamie Chambers went tumbling down stairs after the guy and two friends were asked to leave for dancing "too aggressively." The guy's girlfriend started smacking a doorman with her shoe as this was going on, Chambers said.

Det. John Devaney told the licensing board he and his partner, Det. Kevin McGill, spent the summer "advising" restaurant manager Jamie Chambers on how to comply with city regulations, but things have gotten so bad that it's now out of their hands - the bar's reputation for violence and noise has traveled all the way to Roxbury, where brass at Boston Police headquarters are now monitoring the bar.

"We have been advising this guy all summer long," Devaney said. "We can't do any more advising."

Burke said things started going downhill about a year ago, when Loughney's wife died and he faced a bout with cancer, both of which kept him in his native Ireland. Loughney is now in recovery from the cancer and is pledging to spend at least one week a month in Boston overseeing the bar - he also owns Kitty O'Shea bars in Ireland.

People Loughney trusted to run the bar were not up to the task, he said, adding "there's also been a different crowd that's been coming into Kitty O'Shea's more recently." Burke said the elimination of dancing should help. "It's a failed business model, one that was just a prescription for a problem," especially on State Street, which has several bars that let out at the same time, he said.

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Comments

"Clearly there was a problem here," Burke told the board. "Clearly things got out of hand and they got out of hand rather quickly."

It really did, didn't it? There were horses, and a man on fire...and Brick killed a guy with a trident!

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Your comment made my night. Thank you.

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I saw that...Brick killed a guy!

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Sounds like Club Choices in Somerville, except the Licensing Board is probably going to drop on them a lot harder.

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I go to O'Shea's for lunch sometimes or an early dinner - so I can't speak to the atmosphere at night- but if you like Irish pub food (and lamb dishes) O'Shea's is pretty good grub.

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Wasn't this place seized for non payment of taxes a few years ago?

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How about the joint around the corner? What a bucket o blood..trinity's, cant believe this place is still open.

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This place was really great pub about 10 years ago, then management decided to make it a 20-something, and underage with fake id's, dance club. Give me a break! The losers i see hanging out there now are incredible. Close the place down...its an embarrassment now anyway.

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1) The owner lives in IRELAND? Wait, what? Of course the place went to (expletive)...there's no such thing as oversight when you're a five hour plane ride away. Most people, when tasked with responsibility for cash and liquor, would get carried away when the boss is in another country for extended periods. We call that "the fox guarding the henhouse."

2) Retaining a police chief to write a security manual = not something the bar did voluntarily.

3) Do you know why they serve intoxicated patrons? Because they gotta make downtown rents. I'm not excusing the bar...they signed the lease. But maybe we just shouldn't have bars in downtown Boston, because it seems apparent that none of these owners can sell responsibly and make a comfortable profit margin for themselves.

The landlords have gotten greedier...let them shoot themselves in the foot and learn the hard way that you can't overcharge for real estate.

4) "There's a different crowd that's been coming in?" Come on, you wuss, just say the n-word and be done with it.

5) "Several bars that let out at the same time?" Well, yeah, that's the city's fault.

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I'd say it's the state's fault, for making bars close at 2 AM.

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Interesting, loud music at a Fanueil bar. I suppose the other 10 out-of-town-d-bag/John Hancock-happy-hour-d-bag bars around there have never played loud music before.

Kitty's is actually one of the friendlier joints around there I would say.

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The way Devaney described it, the first time he went in to ask them to shut the windows to keep the sound off the streets, Chambers told him he couldn't because the air conditioning was broken.

Then he asked him again. Can't, air conditioning was broken. For three months, Devaney said, Chambers claimed the air conditioning was broken.

Combine that with the other issues and you can see how the cops might start to get annoyed.

Speaking of this hearing, the licensing board yesterday deferred any action on the alleged violations - something they usually do when they're seeking additional information.

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The secPrior to this employee 'change over' history shows the bar had 1 citation in 19 months.

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