Hey, there! Log in / Register

Bar to appeal license suspension over water pong

Goodbar will seek state review of a Boston Licensing Board decision that will force it to close for three days in part because patrons were caught holding beers and drinking from them while playing a game that involves tossing little balls into cups filled with water.

The State Street bar's attorney, Carolyn Conway, said today the bar is seeking clarification from the state Alcoholic Beverages Control Commission on water pong. Conway said that unlike with classic beer pong, as played in states with less stringent controls on bars, Goodbar's water pong involved no prizes or other incentives to swill beer: The bar simply made a water-pong table available for any customers who wanted to try their skill at tossing ping-pong balls into plastic cups.

On Thursday, the licensing board ordered the bar to shut for three days because of a November incident that involved both a minor caught with a beer and, separately, but at the same time, patrons observed holding beers and taking swigs from them as they played water pong.

Technically, the ABCC cannot overturn the license-suspension order by the licensing board, but Conway said she will ask the commission to urge the board to reconsider. Any ruling could also provide guidance for other cities and towns on water pong.

Neighborhoods: 
Topics: 
Free tagging: 

Ad:
Like the job UHub is doing? Consider a contribution. Thanks!

Comments

That could get ugly if they were drinking beer in bars, too!

Trivia nite?

Seems that leaving your neighborhood after dark and on weekends and any sort of fun in bars is banned in Boston.

up
Voting closed 0

it would be nice if they also directed the Boston Licensing Board to shut down for three days. And have them reimburse the ABCC for their costs in reviewing this matter as well.

up
Voting closed 0

Nanny state! Vote Ron Paul!

up
Voting closed 0

... at least when it comes to the contents of a woman's uterus.

Anti abortion libertarian my ass.

up
Voting closed 0

The man is an ob/gyn. Delivered thousands of babies in his lifetime. I can't blame the man for being anti-abortion. And that is not against libertarian principles; they aren't anarchists.

Besides, he would leave it up to the states to decide.

up
Voting closed 0

Unfortunately the gold side holds some positions that are just a little too looney to work IRL.

Gold standard and cutting the deficit overnight by 1 trillion while just out of a recession? There'd be calls for impeachment on both sides of the isle, and they'd be warranted.

He's right on some things, and principled. But his economics ideas have more to do with Christopher Nolan joker, then real world problems.

up
Voting closed 0

You must've been born after 1971 or don't understand world history very well. The world's money supply has historically been tied to precious metals such as gold and silver. RIght now, the United States' currency is tied to a promise. And that promise is being diluted every day with the issuance of more new dollars. Hyperinflation and the final collapse of currency is swift. And it's gonna' happen to the U.S. Dollar unless Ron Paul is elected.

up
Voting closed 0

I know how our money works.

Yes, going back to the gold standard is pretty loony and a recipe for disaster.

up
Voting closed 0

How well is fractional reserve banking going to work during a market collapse and subsequent bank run? Or hyperinflation caused by the continued printing of more new United States dollars? Oh, a bank run won't happen? Really? It just happened eighty years ago and will happen again in the future. It's just a matter of time.

up
Voting closed 0

how does a currency backed by gold work in a world economy of 9 billion people?

Answer: It doesn't. The runs, shocks, inflation and economical problems would be 10 fold.

The problem isn't the currency and monetary policy. It's the misuse of monetary policy and leaving the market to consume itself like a out of control fire.

up
Voting closed 0

Tying the dollar to competing standards would be the answer. Gold and silver are two excellent examples of competing standards.

up
Voting closed 0

Ah.

I see that I need to direct you to your nearest undergraduate Principles of Economics course. That and get you to join the latter half of the 20th century.

Precious metals based currency is ancient history.

up
Voting closed 0

We're all economists now!

(Too bad they didn't force them into Econ 201)

up
Voting closed 0

Ron Paul personally does not believe in the right of a woman to have an abortion but has not said that he would use the office of the presidency to legislate abortion rights. He's probably going to leave it to each individual state to legislate. Also, if abortion rights are your only gripe with Ron Paul then you're crazy not to vote for him. Unless you're a myopic one issue voter.

up
Voting closed 0

When it comes down to a vote, Dr. Paul places his personal moral beliefs about abortion above his commitment to constitutional principles. There's nothing wrong with that, except for the fact that he specifically states that, as President, he would be guided by constitutional principles rather than by his personal beliefs.

http://www.lewrockwell.com/paul/paul98.html

up
Voting closed 0

In 99.9% of cases, partial birth abortion is disgusting! There is abortion, then there is partial birth abortion. I don't agree with partial birth abortion and any human being with a heart and/or a brain should feel the same way. If you don't feel the same way then you probably hate kittens. I don't have any issue with Ron Paul putting partial birth abortion ahead of his libertarian viewpoints.

up
Voting closed 0

And since that's not a medical term that refers to anything, I know that you're spouting uninformed propaganda. Carry on.

up
Voting closed 0

I don't care if partial birth abortion is a medical term or not. And yes, it does refer to something. It refers to the killing of a fully formed baby that is partially born. Propaganda? No. Common sense? Yes.

up
Voting closed 0

That, and needless maiming of a woman who is losing a pregnancy. THAT is disgusting.

And none of your damn business as well. People don't have these sorts of procedures on a whim - these things happen when something has GONE VERY WRONG with a pregnancy and this is the SAFEST way to save a live and minimize the risk of physical damage or death to the woman involved.

Get some medical facts, please.

up
Voting closed 0

My point has nothing to do with partial birth abortion or about whether I support it, or find it disgusting, or even believe that the term is meaningful.

My only point is that Ron Paul is not true to his stated principles. He says he doesn't see Constitutional justification for the Federal government to regulate abortion and yet he votes for federal restrictions on abortion.

Look, I think child rape is disgusting, but if Congress tried to pass a federal law about it, I'd argue against it because it's the states' job to punish that kind of crime, not the Federal Goverenment.

up
Voting closed 0

I hadn't read that before but I can live with a Ron Paul that is against partial birth abortions if that is his only daliance away from the libertarian principles that he stands for, which it is.

up
Voting closed 0

I, too, have a problem with politicians passing laws against some term that isn't a technical term and that no one's really sure what it refers to.

Oh, wait, I have a problem with politicians deciding anything about how medical procedures may or may not be performed. I was pretty sure we had healthcare associations, ethics codes, researchers, government committees that approve/deny procedures based on current research, etc. that are actually qualified to decide such things.

up
Voting closed 0

I still don't get what the liquor licensing board has to do with aborting living infants in bars while playing beer pong.

up
Voting closed 0

Let's not allow any young person to have fun so we ensure they leave, so that only old people remain. Good plan.

up
Voting closed 0

its cues from Dean Wormer.

"No more fun of any kind"

up
Voting closed 0

Boston doesn't "need" water pong....just like Boston doesn't "need" any more bars, or late-nite dining options, or more liquor stores, or happy hour. I for one am quite glad the Boston Licensing Board exists, otherwise, I'd have no idea what I wanted/needed!

This city is a joke when it comes to entertainment.

up
Voting closed 0

The city banned beer pong because competitive drinking isn't the most responsible thing to be doing, and they didn't want businesses sanctioning such a thing.

Obviously the people running this bar knew that beer pong wasn't allowed, so they decided they'd put water in the cups and have people drink beer from a bottle rather than a cup. Because they knew having the beer in the cups was illegal. But no, they didn't decide that they'd respect the law by, say, NOT ENGAGING IN COMPETITIVE DRINKING IN A BAR; they decided they'd be childish and say "oh, no, this isn't the banned game; this is something totally different."

It's just like when your parent punishes you for taking money from their wallet without asking, so next time you take the money that's on the dresser next to the wallet. Clearly you know that they've conveyed that stealing is not acceptable, and you've completely disrespected them and their house and their rules. The next logical step is that they tell you you can't go in their room for any reason, and maybe put a lock on it, because you can't be trusted.

Similarly, the people who let you have alcohol establishments at all are going to react in the same way when you deliberately do pretty much exactly what they said not to do. Now they can't trust that you're going to follow their rules, so they decide maybe you can't be trusted with a bar just now, and you've lost the privilege of having one.

(And for the record, I'm in favor of European-style alcohol laws myself, but I'm just pointing out that when you act like a stupid spoiled child trying to argue semantics when you did something you clearly know is wrong, that tends to piss off the people in charge and make them think you're not capable of mature thinking, so they don't really want to extend privileges to you.)

up
Voting closed 0

Now if the bar only used those plastic practice golf balls instead of ping pong balls.....then the bar might have a good case.

up
Voting closed 0

Hey eeka,

I don't think you understand how the game is played. When there is beer in the cups it is a competitive drinking game because players are required to drink the beer in the cups. When there is water in the cups, players are not required to drink anything. They don't compensate by drinking beer from a bottle. When the game is played with water it's still a competitive game, but there is no required alcohol consumption whatsoever.

up
Voting closed 0

There are plenty of games which you would commonly drink alcohol after winning or losing a point/round/game. Some games players drink from specific cups in the game (beruit, flip-cup, beer-die and variations of these games).

A fun way to play beer pong (without having to clean off dirty pongballs after every throw) is to simply play the game and drink your own personal drink if someone else scores on you.

Sure, you could do the same thing with darts, pool, cards, scrabble, uno, go fish, or any other game. But beirut (or beer pong) is mainly associated with drinking, and often times binge drinking. Like it or not, it is the responsiblity of the ABC and the Boston licensing board to keep the integrity of the alcohol rules and laws in the City of Boston. They have investigators which write reports, and they have guidlines and laws to go by.

I agree with eeka that the board is simply doing their job, and common sense can go a long way with these situations.

up
Voting closed 0

it is the responsiblity of the ABC and the Boston licensing board to keep the integrity of the alcohol rules and laws in the City of Boston. They have investigators which write reports, and they have guidlines and laws to go by.

Yes, and there's laws on the books where establishments can't serve people that are severely intoxicated, or people who are abusing alcohol. Just as there's a two drinks per person limit. Enforce them.

There is no need for any distinction, because that type of consumption already isn't allowed per the law, either competitively or standing in a corner by yourself.

up
Voting closed 0

I agree with eeka that the board is simply doing their job, and common sense can go a long way with these situations.

Then the solution is to deprive them of this job?

up
Voting closed 0

So, should a bar be shut down if I throw a dart, miss, and proceed to take a sip of beer?

Clearly, that's a drinking game and I should be kicked out of the bar for my misconduct.

up
Voting closed 0

That's all fine and dandy, except the police citation says they saw them "sipping" from their beers. Not chugging, not pounding, not competitively drinking. They didn't break any law, and they weren't written up for over serving or serving to intoxicated patrons.

Competitive drinking involves more than just drinking a beer. And further, there's already laws against any sort of binge drinking in bars. Enforce those laws.

No law was broke. How is this any different than drinking you beer while play darts, billiards, or watching a game on TV? How about foosball and cornhole? How about watching a GOP debate?

I've played drinking games to their debates. I've also been in bars watching one, sipping on a beer. Should that be illegal, since your nonsense appears to suggest it?

Hell, We've made videogames into drinking games when we were bored back in the day. Doesn't mean we didn't enjoy them without pounding beers.

up
Voting closed 0

The bar was apparently sanctioning this. The bar had presumably supplied the cups and balls.

Yes, I've played drinking games for the State of The Union Address and election returns and other things too. There aren't laws against patrons of a bar organizing drinking games on their own. There is a law against the bar setting up beer pong, and clearly this bar realized this but thought they'd ignore that and say a big ol' "fuck you" to the party that allows them to have a bar and just have people drink out of a bottle instead of a cup, while obviously playing a game that's NOT ALLOWED IN BARS IN BOSTON whether you agree with the law or not.

("No officer, I swear I wasn't smoking crack. I was just burning the crack pipe, then we were all breathing the air next to it. But no one was smoking from the crack pipe.")

up
Voting closed 0

People drink beer at bars, true?
People drink while shooting pool, true?
Bars are allowed to have pool tables. <- Not illegal.

People drink beer at bars, true?
People drink while playing beirut whether there's beer in the cups or not, true?
Bars are allowed to have beirut tables. <- NO. Illegal.

It shouldn't make a difference whether they're playing beirut, pool, darts, or trivia. As long as the bar isn't encouraging extra drinking as part of the game and abiding by the rules about not serving overly intoxicated patrons or more than 1 beer per person, then what rule has been broken if they provide a pool table, beirut table, TVs, or a trivia host?

Football and beer are unwaveringly linked at every bar in the country. I'm willing to bet far more patrons get beyond drunk while watching Pats games every Sunday for months in the fall/winter than will ever get hammered at any allowed beirut/water pong games all year at every bar in town...but we don't outlaw drinking while football is on the TV. The idea that a game of skill/chance is somehow "linked" to excessive drinking...and thus can't ever be allowed to occur in a bar (even in a non-binging format) is pretty much treating it like a thought crime.

"We *know* that you'd be binging yourself to death at this bar if we let you put beer in the cups. SEE! LOOK! You have a beer in your hand right now!"

What if all of the guys at the table hadn't even had a beer among them? Would you still advocate that the bar had done something wrong? Why is that any different?

Crack is illegal as a substance. Beer isn't. Your analogies don't fly. This ruling is more like saying that people shouldn't be allowed to drink if they drove to the location they're drinking because we all KNOW you're just going to finish that beer and get in your car...probably drunk enough to kill someone! But guess what, it's the actual act of getting into the car drunk and driving away that's illegal, not the thought crime of second-guessing the motivation of the drinker before he's a driver. He could just as easily sober up before driving away again. These guys easily could have just been playing a table game while casually drinking a beer, no faster or slower than anyone else in the entire bar was drinking that night. Make the crime the binge drinking and the bar that enables it...not the game.

up
Voting closed 0

is if the investigator saw the person drinking after losing/winning a point/game. This would be a drinking game.

204 CMR 4.00 (of the Code of Massachusetts Regulations) states:

No licensee or empolyee shall:
encourage or permit a game or contest which involves drinking or the awarding of drinks as prizes

[(2) No licensee shall advertise or promote in any way, whether within or without the licensed premises, any of the practices prohibited under 204 CMR4.03.]

So sure, you could say that darts and pool are games and people drink while they play those games, but I the board has to consider the spirit of the law and the mitigating factors of the laws involved.

So I would say if people were playing darts or pool and then drinking after missing/making a shot, then maybe the bar would be violating this regualtion. I've been around a lot of bars that have pool and darts, and most players don't play these games as drinking games, and this is why you probably don't see any violations with these games.

You would probably have to be there to see if the bar was encouraging people to play, and seeing how there was an underage person there, that adds another factor. I think just by having that underage person around a game that is commonly used as a drinking game is what did this place in. And these alcohol boards simply don't like to hear excuses or people arguing semantics. Now that could be the unfair part, but the original complaint seems like a judgement call to me.

If we didn't have this law and I was a bar owner with some extra table space, this would be a great way to attract customers to my bar. Drinking games are fun, and as long as people didn't use dirty pong balls (which is probably agasint some health code), I could just make sure a few waitresses were in the pong area to keep my patrons happy. Then I would make sure no one got too drunk, and that any serious binge drinking took place here. I would also have to make sure underage people didn't get in, since they like drinking games, but I would want the younger crowd for my pong games, so it would be a smart business move for me to at least encourage these games somehow...etc, etc..

Isn't this possibly what the bar owners did in this place? Or maybe what they wanted to do down the road? (Except not making sure underage drinkers were in the bar, that is always bad news)

up
Voting closed 0

I can tell you, you sip your beer when you're in between turns because you're not concentrating on making a shot. That doesn't make it a drinking game.

I do the same thing in billiards, when it's not my turn I turn to my beer and drink before my turn comes up next. So, is that 204 CMR 4.00? I lost the round and went to my cup afterall.

If you're going to define 204 CMR 4.00 that broadly, suddenly most Massachusetts establishments have a really big liability. Any time their patrons drink while also playing a game of skill or chance , their liability becomes questionable.

And I love the implications for the soon to be casinos.

up
Voting closed 0

And don't get me wrong, drinking games can be fun, but you have to define what a drinking game is somehow don't you?. To me that line would be in a game where someone drinks after losing/winning a point/game. Wouldn't you define a drinking game that way? Enforcing that rule wouldn't be easy, but it wouldn't be that hard either if you were standing right next to the game. If someone lands a ball into one of your cups and you drink a beer after every time that happens, common sense would tell me that a drinking game is going on. That doesn't mean the person playing is going to binge drink, or is going to get sick or drunk drive after sipping/drinking after every point, but it still is a drinking game.

I've never played darts or pool where someone drank after missing a shot or losing a game. You could easily make rules to encourage drinking, but in general I have never been to a bar where people drink as a part of these games. Obviously when these games are in bars, people are going to be drinking as they play, and this has been a common practice for a long time. (There is actually a seperate comittee for pool tables and the like in Boston).

Google the words 'drinking games', and games like beer pong will show up. Pool and Darts won't.

I don't know. You can argue that the rule is silly, but I don't see how you can say that darts and pool are played the same way pongball games are played.

And Casinos will obviously have different rules for alcohol. (I think they already do)

up
Voting closed 0

Whoa there just a second.

You're referring to the licensing board as "the party that allows them to have a bar?"

I'm sorry, that's a level of "everything is forbidden unless the government specifically allows it" statism that I just can't endorse.

The licensing board does not grant the right to have a bar; what it does is deny the right to have a bar (which everyone would have if the licensing board did not exist). Then, if you meet certain criteria, the licensing board makes an exception and refrains from denying you the right to have a bar.

up
Voting closed 0

and sought out ridiculous loopholes to get out of accountability, what would all of Massachusetts' lawyers do with themselves?

up
Voting closed 0

It's not pong, darn it, it's Beirut! Pong involves paddles. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Beer_pong_(paddles)

up
Voting closed 0

Most of the club/bar/restaurant owners in this city are such cowards and never push back against the arcance, non sensical and downright puritan rules of the licensing boards here and the busy body police department that i guess has nothing else to do. There's a load of bullshit laws that do get enforced, and theirs load of bullshit laws that dont get enforced. The trick is figuring out which is which and who's pocket needs lining.

up
Voting closed 0

"No smoking in bars now, and soon, no drinking and no talking."

up
Voting closed 0