Board: Fireworks and alcohol don't mix
By G. Michael Dobbsnews@thereminder.com
SPRINGFIELD One Springfield bar learned a lesson that applies to all establishments: fireworks without a permit don't mix with alcohol sales.
Adore, a new bar on Worthington Street in the location of the former Pour House, was called before the Board of License Commissioners last week to address a number of charges including having a lit sparkler inside the bar and patrons smoking marijuana in the ladies' room.
Attorney Thomas Rooke explained that Manager Dennis Brantly was unaware that sparklers could not be used inside a club without a permit from the Fire department. Rooke and Brantly explained the club has a "bottle service," in which a group of more than three people can order a bottle of champagne, which is served to them by a waitress in a private room.
A sparkler is lit and is presented along with the champagne, Rooke said.
Although some of the commissioners said they had never heard of this practice, Commissioners Raymond Berry said he had seen bars do this in the past.
Rooke argued the management of the club could not have been aware of the drug use inside a stall in the ladies' room and said the club had hired two police officers that night.
Rooke said that his client would stipulate to the facts on both charges in exchange for a five-day suspension of license that would be served after Jan.1, 2013. The board voted to impose a two-day suspension and hold the other three in abeyance as long as there were no other issues at the club.
A number of Springfield alcohol license holders did not file for renewal, putting their licenses in jeopardy.
Peter Sygnator, chair of the Board of License Commissioners, explained to Reminder Publications
, that because the businesses did not apply for renewal they would have to stop selling alcohol on Jan. 1. The renewals were due Nov. 28.
Those businesses that did not renew on time included Garcia's Market, 1295 Worcester St., the Knights of Columbus Council 169, 2071 Page Blvd., O'Brien's Corner, 1082 Page Blvd., and Smokin' Deals, 1285 Boston Road.
These businesses will have to re-apply for their licenses as if they were new businesses, Sygnator said.
Rooke, who represents O'Brien's Corner, said he believes the board should have had some leeway, especially for businesses that have not any violations.
"If a licensee is two days late and has been in business a long, long time there should be some exceptions," Rooke said.
He explained that he would be hand-delivering the renewal documents directly to the Alcoholic Beverage Control Commission in Boston in the hopes of averting the bar from closing on Jan. 1, 2013.
Noting there was some confusion about several license renewals discussed in the meeting, Rooke said the license office is "under-staffed and under-funded" and noted Springfield has the highest rate of license renewal in the state.