Board to send letter reprimanding bar

WESTFIELD – The License Commission voted  last night to send a letter to the owner and manager of an Elm Street bar urging “greater vigilance” in complying with policies pertaining to over serving and checking identification.
The board’s action followed an informational hearing that was initiated by a police report of a minor disturbance and unruly patrons at Fired Up, several of whom are members of the bar-sponsored softball team.
The manager, who was running the bar the night of the incident, said that just five patrons, all regulars, were present in the bar at 1:30 a.m. when one male, the captain of the softball team, made a denigrating comment to his estranged girlfriend, a comment that enraged the female’s cousin. The two males grappled, then tripped over a speaker and fell to the floor. The softball team captain was issued a trespass notice as a result of the incident.
“No punches were thrown,” the manager said, adding that she “cards” all patrons entering the bar.  However, she said, several members of the team come to the Elm Street bar prior to games and return after the game concludes and she may have not checked their identification a second time. Seven to eight team members returned after the game and were served two pitchers of beer, but may have consumed some alcoholic beverage at the field or en-route to the bar.
Commissioner John Gaudrault said that the testimony raises concerns for the board members.
“The two combatants were obviously intoxicated and the second thing is that people entered the bar without identification,” Gaudrault said. “My concern is that they were over-served. I want to be sure that you are aware of our over serving policy.”
Commissioner Christopher Mowatt said that because the bar deals with regular patrons, the staff cannot become complacent.
“Familiarity breeds complacency,” he said. “The problem occurred that night because of alcohol. People were served without having identification on their person.”
“I motion to send a letter to the licensee requiring them to be more vigilant in checking identification and enforcing the over serving policy,” Mowatt said.
Gaudrault, who voted for that motion, said “I hope in the future, the licensee will take into consideration the seriousness of our over serving policy.”
The commission had scheduled a second information hearing with the managers of Applebee’s Restaurant, located at the Westfield Shops on East Main Street, to discuss an advertisement for drink special which may be in violation of the state happy-hour law because it offers drinks at a reduced cost during certain hours. That hearing was rescheduled for the Sept. 10th meeting because nobody representing the bar appeared.
The board also slated information hearings for three other liquor-serving establishment after discussing police reports of possible misconduct by the staff or patrons at the September session. The owners and managers of the Whip City Brew Pub, located on North Elm Street, the Runway Restaurant, located in the Barnes Regional Airport terminal and the Maple Leaf Cafe on Arnold Street will be invited to the meeting to present their perspective of the police reported incidents and to ameliorate the concerns of the commission.

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