The Boston Licensing Board ordered Billares Colombia, 28 Bennington St., in East Boston, shut on Saturday because of repeated complaints from nearby residents about noise and crowds.
At a hearing yesterday, Boston Police said the billiards spot has been responsible for ten times as many complaints as any other establishment in East Boston. Just two weeks earlier, the licensing board had ordered a one-day suspension of its alcohol license because police found it over its licensed capacity in June just one week after police had found it way over its licensed capacity; the billiards hall faces additional upcoming hearings over specific incidents.
At a meeting today, the licensing board agreed to let Billares Colombia reopen, but gave it two weeks to file a detailed security plan describing its security staffing and how it will handle potential crowds, ensure that closing time is a quiet time for the neighborhood and keep patrons off a rear patio that Billares physically shares with the neighboring restaurant but which it does not have city permission to use on its own. The board also ordered Billares to create a 24-hour contact number that residents can call - in addition to 911 - should things get out of hand.
Also required within two weeks: A plan describing how the billiards hall will soundproof its windows, walls and doors. "There seems to be complete disregard at times for the sound that emanates from there," board Chairwoman Kathleen Joyce said.
Joyce said she has worked with a Billares manager over the past two weeks to try to show it how to rein in its problems because otherwise the board might have to take sterner steps - such as further reducing its hours or even shutting it completely. She said she has no interest in shutting down the business or harming it economically, but she also has to weigh the interests of the surrounding neighborhood.
Board member Liam Curran said that for all the problems, Billares is actually less of a problem than it was in 2018, when the board rolled back its closing time from 2 a.m. to 1 a.m. because of repeated complaints from residents and police.
"It was much worse (in 2018)," Curran said - every closing time was "a madhouse, week after week."
He said he the board's actions today will be "enough of a warning shot to get them to behave a little better, hopefully."