Mayor Bhalla Is Throwing Out The Baby With The Bathwater

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Last Thursday, multiple bars in Hoboken were served punishments for Tavern Sheet violations in 2017. A Tavern Sheet is when a bar is written up by police for an infraction, like a demerit, for violating a rule by the ABC (Alcohol Beverage Control). Some examples would be like patrons fighting in a bar, exceeding maximum capacity, or serving someone underage. In years past the punishments were mostly fines. 

This year with Ravi taking office one of his goals was to be tougher on bars. According to a press release in 2017, there were 277 ABC violations by liquor license holders in Hoboken. Of the 133 liquor license holders, more than half received zero tavern sheets in 2017 and more than three-fourths received two or fewer tavern sheets. Half of all violations in 2017 were issued to just 11 establishments - they had 138 tavern sheets, or an average of 12.5 tavern sheets for the 11 "problematic" bars.

I'm not against fixing the problem. I'm all for Ravi's trying to get a problem under control. The issue I have is that the city announced they are getting tough on bars, and not giving the bars the chance to react. Let's say that NJ decided they wanted to get tougher on drunk drivers. They announce that going forward that they would increase penalities for first time DUI offenders to 90 days in jail. 

But then - NJ retroactively applies these stricter penalties to anyone caught with a DUI in the last 6 months.

1Republik, will be forced to close its doors for good. A 30-day suspension of their liquor license is to begin May 21 but the bar will then be forced to close permanently, pending the sale or transfer of its liquor license. The city cited a September 4th bar fight when a woman was struck in the head with a plate and a December 4th incident in which a bouncer pushed a patron who fell and hit his head, which left him with life-threatening injuries.

No one is crying for 1Republik. Right? It is one of the most popular bars in Hoboken, especially for people who do not live in Hoboken. So most people living here don't go to 1Republik, and to see them close isn't going to generate much sympathy.

Another example would be Hoboken Bar and Grill. They were issued an immediate 30-day suspension beginning Friday. Two police officers were injured and four people were arrested during an early morning brawl outside the Washington Street bar in November. As many as 40 people were involved in the 4 a.m. incident near the bar. Again, another bar in which not a lot of locals go there. It mostly attracts people from out of town. The attitude of Hoboken residents would mostly be unsympathetic. 

But look at the list of other bars:

  • Green Rock, was issued an immediate 30-day suspension beginning Friday.
  • Mills Tavern, was issued a 24-day suspension.
  • The Shannon, suspension for March 3 and March 4.
  • Turtle Club, 10-day suspension.
  • Hoboken Ultra Bar, 5-day suspension and a 5 day suspension held in abeyance.
  • Cadillac Cantina, 5-day suspension and a 5 day suspension held in abeyance.
  • Marty O'Brien's, 5-day suspension which includes at least two days being served.
  • Grand Vin, 5-day suspension.
  • The Ainsworth, 5-day suspension.

The only issue I have is that all the bars are getting swept up here. Problem bars I can understand. But there are some on this list that aren't perennial offenders - they are throwing out the baby with the bathwater. Lashing out at good bars while trying to get tough on the other bars isn't the right move here. I know that Ravi wanted to make a statement, but in my opinion he went a bit too bar. You have people who have lives that are dependent upon these establishments. Even closing a bar for 10 days certainly hurts the bar owner, but likely hurts the employees even more. I don't think this was properly considered by the administration on the residual effects the closures would have. 

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This page contains a single entry by Furey published on February 24, 2018 12:21 AM.

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