The Boston Licensing Board today ordered a one-day suspension for China Pearl/Shojo's liquor license after BPD licensing detectives found underage drinkers with fake IDs on Oct. 21 and then again the very next night.
At a hearing Tuesday, BPD Sgt. Det. William Gallagher said he and his partner were in Chinatown monitoring restaurants shortly before midnight on Oct. 21 when they noticed a long line outside China Pearl, 9 Tyler St. - and that many of the people in the line appeared to be very young. The detectives got out, went inside and found the place crowded with young people, including three women who, when they questioned them, "readily admitted to being under 21." The three, all Brazilians, had used fake Colombian ID cards and licenses to get served, he said.
Also, the lights on the stairs to the third floor were all turned off, which he said signaled "rave" to him. Fearing for the safety of the people inside, he told a manager "this event is over" and ordered him to shut the place down.
Restaurant attorney Kristen Scanlon objected to the use of the word "rave," and said all the people were there for a private event, an invite-only album release, not a rave. She said the restaurant has been in operation for four decades with no history of being dinged for underaged drinkers. China Pearl, which already dedicated male and female door people to check IDs, has since added a computerized scanner to further check, a manager said.
In response to a question from the board, Gallagher said there appeared to be way more under-21 drinkers inside at the time, but that he and partner Det. Eddie Hernandez didn't do additional checks after finding the first three, because that was enough to prove a violation. "We're not into piling on," he said.
That incident was enough for a warning, ordered by the board at a meeting this morning.
What led to the one-day suspension order, came from the detectives' return trip to Tyler Street the next night, for a random visit to Shojo, China Pearl's pan-Asian cocktail bar. Hernandez said he and Gallagher spotted three young-looking people at a table with liquor. A license-scanning app the detectives had immediately signaled their out-of-state licenses were fraudulent, he said.
Board members said it was pretty obvious that even after having the whole place shut down in part for underage drinking, the restaurant took no immediate steps to prevent a recurrence, possibly thinking the licensing cops would not return again the very next night.