Two Theater District clubs agree to long shutdowns over underage drinking, closing-time problems
The Boston Licensing Board today approved a deal with the owner of Icon and Venu on Warrenton Street to shut Icon for nearly a month and Venu for two weeks, partly as punishment for a string of incidents with pre-21 drinkers over the past year, partly to retrain and recertify their staff in how to recognize and bar underage would-be drinkers and how to better disperse crowds at closing time.
Under the agreement, the board will drop its efforts to shut Icon indefinitely and owner Paga, Inc. will in turn drop its efforts to have the state overturn several board decisions to suspend Icon's and Venu's licenses for various lengths of time.
Icon will shut for 21 days based on several board hearings on underage drinkers since June, 2016, and then another five days for an incident last year in which one of four Tufts freshman who spent the night drinking there with fake IDs fell to his death from a nearby parking garage. Last month, the state Alcoholic Beverages Control Commission upheld that suspension.
The ABCC had yet to rule Icon's appeals on other suspensions the board had levied against it for underage drinking, including a decision in January, to suspend Icon's license indefinitely after hearing evidence that underaged college students from Venezuela were using fake IDs to get drinks at the club. The board uses a "progressive" punishment system in which each license suspension is longer than the one preceding it.
Venu will be shut for 14 days. In March, detectives found a 19-year-old Babson student drinking with forged IDs from two countries. Last fall, the same detectives found college students enjoying a back-to-school champagne-spraying party drinking from the bottles of cheap bubbly - a no-no in Boston.
In addition to the shutdowns and retraining, Paga also agreed to fire any workers found fraternizing with patrons, to work with Boston Police on a plan to more quickly disperse crowds from its doors at closing and to try to convince other clubs in the Theater District to go in on a program to buy security cameras to be mounted around the area - and to step up their own efforts to reduce the area's ongoing issues. Paga will also spend roughly $5,000 on new lighting for Warrenton Street.
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Future Boston Theatre District.
Imagine a Boston Theatre District where it's pleasant to walk at all hours.
And I ain't got (expletive) to do, so let's, as I love to do, pick this apart.
The board is apparently on par with La Cosa Nostra in its influence:
"You can continue to earn a living and feed your family if you stop challenging your government through legal channels." This should be physically sickening to anybody with a shred of self-respect.
They also somehow got a bar to agree to an unenforceable condition:
That's the point of the enterprise. What are they going to do, put in those McDonald's kiosks for drink orders? Building relationships with customers is what keeps them coming back.
Oh, the bar is supposed to be a steward of the public sidewalk now? Hell, I would use that to lobby for a property tax abatement if I owned the place. Quid pro quo.
And the Mafiaesque piece de resistance:
Remember when CBS made a "voluntary contribution" to the FCC in exchange for a "clean record as a broadcaster?" You know, that thing that wasn't a problem until government made it one? Gross.
Maybe I can at least take solace in the fact that paying the chairlady 124 grand is finally starting to generate some kind of ROI in the form of shaking down a business for $5,000 worth of lights that working taxpayers now won't have to pay for. If we can make the board, at the very least, a profit center, then maybe those three schmucks will actually be worth something to our community for once.
No fun zone
I think you'll probably jump on board my proposal to return Schollay Square to brothel central like it used to be.
Let's put all the hookers into rooms where they can post proof of age, citizenship (to settle inquiries about trafficking, not for Trump reasons) and STD test results on the wall. I'm on board with that. No joke.
So the board is asking the clubs to give up their right for an appeal in exchange for a lesser punishment? Did I read that right?
That's absurd. The clubs should always have the right for an appeal if they feel they the board's actions were wrong. They can and should fight them until their legal actions are exhausted. Conversely, the board should only be making orders that are reasonable and expected to withhold scrutiny by other agencies.
The club was wholly in the
The club was wholly in the wrong. The appeal was just kicking their punishment down the road.
The key issue ...
Is in trying to keep teenagers from drinking (and falling to their death from parking garages). Although I attended most of the hearings on the specific incidents, I didn't attend any of the sessions where the board discussed the specific punishments or met with Theater District clubs to try to deal with that issue, so I don't have any special insight into why the board agreed to this, but ...
Normally, until the ABCC hears and decides appeals, clubs can stay open. The ABCC typically takes a LONG time to consider appeals, like months. Those are months where kids can try to keep getting into the clubs and doing what kids do.
But with this settlement, the board gets more immediate results: The clubs WILL be shut down in short order and they will completely retrain their staffs, add lighting, pay for cameras, etc., and hopefully that will put a dent in the problem now, rather than at some point in the future.
Possibly a key thing that convinced the clubs to do this was that in the one Icon case the ABCC did hear, the one involving the student who fell to his death after a night there, the ABCC upheld the board's "progressive" punishment system (i.e., each suspension for an infraction is longer than the one that came before it). The clubs were looking at possible year-long and just plain indefinite shutdowns if they lost before the ABCC.
So with all this in mind, the agreement is a win for the board (and the community as a whole?) because something gets done about a major problem, sooner rather than later. And it's a win for the clubs because they don't have to go out of business.
The issue here is the
The issue here is the bullshit 21 rule. The so-called 'drop' in motor vehicle fatalities as a direct result of raising the age to 21 are a complete joke: it is more technologically advanced vehicles that are to credit for the drop. Don't believe me? look at Canada. similarly automobile reliant society, same drop in fatalities. difference? drinking age is 18 country-wide.
You would think it’s 18 but
You would think it’s 18 but it’s not nationally.
It’s 18 in only 3 provinces and 19 in the others. This is why kids in Ontario go to Quebec for their 18th birthday