Shamrock shenanigans?
Bar crawl will go on despite five bars closing
by Marilyn Baer
Reporter Staff Writer
Mar 04, 2018 | 2717 views | 0 0 comments | 349 349 recommendations | email to a friend | print
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People celebrating past bar crawls in Hoboken
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Hoboken Police Chief Ken Ferrante said the city is prepared for this weekend’s annual St. Patrick’s Day-themed bar crawl, a privately run event that usually takes place the first Saturday in March. He says the day will still be “a little busy because it’s still a tradition in this town” even though Mayor Ravi Bhalla announced that five of the city’s dozens of bars would be closed this weekend due to past infractions.

Ferrante noted that 127 liquor licenses will still be in use or valid this weekend.

For many years, bar crawls and house parties were held on the first Saturday in March in conjunction with the city’s traditional St. Patrick’s Day parade. In 2012 the parade was cancelled after former Mayor Dawn Zimmer wanted it to move to a weekday to lessen the accompanying rowdiness, but the St. Patrick’s Parade Committee refused.

In the parade’s absence, bar owners have participated in privately run bar crawls each year.

But city officials have complained about problems on the growing holiday “con” crawls such as SantaCon and LepreCon.

Two weeks ago, the city announced that the Alcoholic Beverage Control board had held hearings about violations of certain bars’ liquor licenses. Five will be closed this weekend, unless they are able to appeal in time.

1Republik bar will be closed on March 3 and was ordered to close again on May 21 for a 30-day suspension. After the 30-day suspension, it will permanently close pending the transfer or sale of the license to new ownership.

Also, according to the city, the Hoboken Bar and Grill is under a 30-day suspension, the Green Rock Tap and Grill will have a 20-day suspension, Mills Tavern has a 24-day suspension, and The Shannon has a two day suspension to be served on March. 3 and 4.

Other bars have agreed to settlements but will be open this weekend.

Since the suspensions were announced a week ago Friday, residents and business owners have debated the matter on Twitter, with some saying the bars are an important business in town, others saying the “problem” bars should be punished so residents and other businesses can thrive.

“We met with all the bar owners on Friday, that’s about 60 bar owners in the room and… I spoke for about 45 minutes,” said Ferrante. “I said, we are talking about ‘LepreCon’ and we are talking about how we can all have a safe day and here are the ground rules.”

He said, “It’s a consistent message which is; we are not going to have underage drinking. We are not going to have over intoxication or over serving somebody, we are not going to permit brawls, and then also on the streets, we are not going to have any urinating or drinking in public. Those people will be summonsed.”

The State of New Jersey Attorney General’s Division of Alcohol Beverage Control will send 12 to 14 State ABC detectives to Hoboken for LepreCon.

Regarding the suspended bars, the police reports detail various problems. One says that an altercation at a bar between an employee and a patron allegedly left the patron in a coma.

According to the ABC handbook licensees may appeal a license suspension or revocation within 30 days to the state through a “notice and petition of appeal.” Bhalla said he has been in touch with the director’s office of the state ABC board and has asked to be kept informed if any bar owner files the petition of appeal.

On Feb. 24, on Facebook, 1Republik wrote, “We appreciate the overwhelming love and support that we have received from all of you! Thank you for sticking with us over the years!” with hashtags including “#unfairtreatment” and “#unreasonable”

“As I’m still trying to wrap my arms around the penalties we were handed at last weeks ABC hearing, I can't help but feel humbled by the outpouring of support I, as well as my wife, kids, partners, and employees have received,” said Michael Gallucci, owner of the Green Rock Tap and Grill, on Facebook Thursday. “We've played a significant role in the lives of a lot of people and I just can't accept anyone referring to us as ‘bad apples’ or painting us with a negative brush.”

He said his bar will reopen Monday. The rest of their suspension will be served starting May 21.

He said his bar will celebrate St. Patrick’s Day on March 10 starting at 11 a.m., and donations will be accepted for the Hoboken Little League.

According to Facebook, The Shannon was scheduled to celebrate St. Patricks Day the night before LepreCon on March. 2.

One barbershop in downtown Hoboken had a sign in the window saying it will be closed Saturday. Ferrane said some bar owners told him they were contemplating closing on Saturday as a precaution.

Marilyn Baer can be reached at marilynb@hudsonreporter.com.

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