An unconscious man lying in a stairwell and an underage college student with fake Colombian IDs could prove the straw that breaks the camel's back for Bijou, 51 Stuart St., which had to make the case to the Boston Licensing Board that its 2 a.m. closing time not be rolled back.
At a hearing this morning, board Chairwoman Christine Pulgini read a list of police citations going back a year, including a March incident involving an underage drinker that led to a one-day suspension, patrons swigging from unsupervised champagne bottles in February that meant a one-day suspension and patrons having drinks poured into their mouths from a bottle in December that led to a four-day suspension of the club's right to offer bottle service.
On May 29, the board heard, a man being escorted out of the club for his part in a shouty pushing match, had to be transported to Tufts Medical Center when he fell 12 to 14 steps in a stairwell after he grabbed onto a hand rail, refused to go any further and three bouncers worked to separate his hands from the hand rail. Police, already on scene investigating a loud "girl fight" outside, found the man lying there, breathing, but unconscious.
Two days later, Sgt. Det. Robert Mulvey told the board, he and his partner were on a routine inspection when they found an almost 19-year-old student at Babson who got in with fake Colombian IDs and then used her credit card to buy $103 in vodka drinks for her table.
Mulvey acknowledged he did not spy the woman, whom he initially spotted puffing on an e-cigarette, with a drink in her hand, but that when he ordered her to stand up, she appeared drunk, swaying from side to side. Club attorney Stephen Miller, however, said she appeared sober when she entered and that her swaying may have been because she was trying to hide the e-cigarette between her legs. The woman was charged with various fake-ID charges and with smoking inside a public establishment.
The board decides what to do about both incidents at a meeting on Thursday, after which it will decide whether to roll back Bijou's actions or take other steps to curb problems there.
Miller and owner George Aboujaoude said they have done everything police have asked them to do after problems are uncovered and that they are willing to go even farther, such as through helping to fund new security cameras in the area and increased police details at closing time on weekend nights. The club already helps to pay for one dedicated cruiser in the area then. Aboujaoude said his security staff - as many as 35 people - flood Stuart Street to help get people, including people coming out of other clubs, out of the area, and that they work closely with the security staff at the neighboring Ava building
But Pulgini and District A-1 Sgt. William Gallagher said the club has to get its own house in order as well. Gallagher said that in addition to the detail officers, most of his district is on duty at closing time on Friday and Saturday, which might become an issue should a problem ever erupt elsewhere in the district, such as near North Station.
This is the second time this year the board has considered the possibility of rolling back the hours of Theater District clubs. In May, the Paga clubs on Warrenton Street were given 10 days to come up with a plan to combat underage drinkers, following a hearing similar to today's.
Both Bijou and Paga have filed appeals of most of their licensing-board punishments with the state Alcoholic Beverages Control Commission.