Columbia Billiard Co., 558 Columbia Rd., has trouble with a capital T and is currently shut as its new owner awaits word from the Boston Licensing Board both on a series of violations found in a February inspection and its requests for the licenses it should have had before that inspection.
The board decides Thursday what action to take about the beer from a bottle and prepared food two BPD detectives found on their inspection - both being offered for sale even though the place is only licensed to offer that game with the fifteen numbered balls, not Bevo and food.
At a hearing Tuesday, BPD Sgt. Det. Robert Mulvey said he and his partner, Det. Daniel MacDonald, responded on Feb. 25 to a complaint to the licensing board about some possible mass-teria going on inside the billiards parlor, accessed through the same entrance as Cafe Bida 123.
Mulvey said they were met by manager Thien Nguyen, with a lit cigarette in his mouth - something no amount of Sen-Sen could erase, and illegal because smoking is banned in commercial establishments in Boston.
The two detectives then spotted lots and lots of trouble; in all, one, two, three, four, five, six violations of various city regulations.
In addition to the smoking, the billards parlor now had a bar, with a "large commercial refrigerator" packed with Heineken - on offer for $2 a bottle, even though it has no beer license, Mulvey said. Further inspection revealed nine entire cases of the beer in a rear stairwell, he said, adding the place was also outfitted with "an unlicensed kitchen," in which food could be prepared.
Mulvey continued the parlor was also equipped with widescreen TVs and microphones for rag-time, shameless music, and other live entertainment - two more things for which it had no license.
At Tuesday's hearing, the terrible, terrible trouble continued when board Chairwoman Christine Pulgini asked why, if Nguyen is the manager, the place's license request from a year ago listed - and was signed by - Nicholas Verenis.
Verenis, who owns the building, attended the hearing and said he had rented the space to Nguyen a couple years ago. He could not explain why he'd signed the license renewal request last year, but said the beer and the food and widescreen TVs were all news to him and that he'd told Nguyen to knock it off.
Nguyen received similar advice from his own attorney, Michael Ford, who said he told him to just shut the place down until he could get all the licensing issues straightened out. Ford, who acknowledged the situation was not swell, begged the board for mercy and denied his client was saying "so's your old man" to the detectives when he re-opened last week with just billiards on offer even though the detectives had told him to close altogether last month.
"I have explained to him up and down you cannot do that," Ford told the board.