The Allston Tavern in the Square has changed its music late at night in an attempt to ward off "a different neighborhood crowd" that has been causing trouble, its lawyer told the Boston Licensing Board today.
Attorney Robert Allen made his comments during a hearing on one of four separate incidents between December and Feburary during which punches were thrown, people were taken to the hospital and shirts were ripped off.
Allen said the bar, which occupies the 160 Brighton Ave. space that once housed the troubled Kells, recently started noticing its crowd changing from mostly college-age people to "a little different element coming in the place."
He said the most successful step the bar has taken to reduce problems has been to play calmer music late in the evening. "Certain styles of music" were attracting a bad element late at night, he said, adding, "music soothes the savage beast, I guess." He added the bar is looking to hire more bouncers - but that good bouncers are hard to find.
Allen did not further identify the "neighborhood" or specific type of music causing problems. In 2010, managers of the Kells blamed hip-hop concerts across the street and a different crowd from more distant neighborhoods for a spate of violence.
On Thursday, the board decides what, if anything, to do about the four incidents:
Dec. 23: A bouncer either did or did not sucker-punch a patron, who either did or did not sucker punch the bouncer, after which the patron's girlfriend either did or did not try to punch the bouncer in the crotch, only if she did, she missed and punch his leg instead.
Jan. 12: A patron punched another patron in the face, then threw a chair at him, near the coatroom. Allen acknowledged nobody at the bar called police, as they should have, saying both sides left quickly. The victim needed surgery to repair a broken face bone, police said.
Feb. 16. A party bus pulled up, rowdy passengers started grabbing food off waitresses' trays and, when told to leave, started a fight that spilled outside and ended up with a manager punched in the face, one of his teeth knocked out and his shirt ripped open. Police said video showed the bouncers trying their best to contain the rowdy bus crowd, but that the bus riders kept up their offensive until police arrived.
Feb. 16. A patron was punched while dancing. He showed up at St. Elizabeth's with a hand laceration that might have been caused by him getting stabbed in the bar or from scaling a fence trying to escape several men he says chased him out of the bar - he was too drunk to be sure.