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Paradise Rock Club Suspended by BLB

Underage Drinking, Overcrowding Cited

By Rima Arnaout

The Boston Licensing Board has suspended the liquor license of the Paradise/M-80, closing the popular Boston club complex for thirty days beginning December 15.

The Paradise has decided not to appeal the suspension. The BLB agreed, however, to allow Joey McIntyre’s New Year’s Eve shows to go on as scheduled.

Police entered the club in October and found it to be in violation of underage drinking laws. Paradise had also exceeded its legal capacity of 916 by admitting 1,200 people.

“The police act as agents for licensing... they were nearby and they noticed quite a few people outside on the sidewalk,” said BLB Chairman Daniel F. Pokaski.

“The police went in to investigate; they found overcrowding and underage drinking” and a woman was passed out. Five underage females were found drinking at the club. “The info we had is that several were college students,” Pokaski said.

This was not the first time Paradise has been found in violation of crowding laws. “Thank goodness it isn’t frequently,” Pokaski said, “but it’s pretty seriously stuff when you have overcrowding in excess of 300 people.”

There were “six people that we know of that had bad phony IDs -- not even good phony IDs -- and they were illegally drinking inside the club,” Pokaski said, about the underage drinkers. “It doesn’t happen that often, but [the Paradise has] had problems with similar incidents” in the past.

Pokaski added that the BLB has warned Paradise to clean up their act before. The recent thirty day suspension “is no laughing matter,” Pokaski said.

“We’re not in the business of putting people out of business, we’re in the business” of making sure places are safe, Pokaski said. “If we find places unsafe... then we’ll take action.”

According to Pokaski, no action has been taken against the underage drinkers. “That’s up to the police, and I don’t think they have taken any action against them. I do think the parents were notified,” he said.

Although the incident happened in the Paradise, the entire Paradise/M-80 complex is under the same liquor license. The entertainment license was not revoked; however, the complex still must shut down.

New Year’s shows will go on

“They petitioned the board to open New Year’s eve, and the board was not inclined to go along with that,” but the club’s owners and managers said that closing the club for New Year’s would unduly hurt the employees, Pokaski said.

Also, club officials explained that because the concert was meant to broadcast live on the internet, it provides positive publicity for the city of Boston.

In light of those arguments, “the board decided to allow them to open on that one day only,” including serving alcohol, “provided they donate all proceeds to the Boys & Girls Club of Boston, which they’ve decided to do,” Pokaski said.