It was all about starts and finishes at today’s License Commission Hearing.
First, the closings.
The commission (Peter Lukes, Karon Shea, and an absent Kevin O’Sullivan) heard two hearings for the underground-hipster coffee shop Q Cafe, off Chandler Street: One, an application for an entertainment license; another, a violation hearing for having entertainment without a license.
Police said there have been “more than 50″ complaints from neighbors about the coffee shop, ranging from noise to public urination. One neighbor at the hearing detailed public sex, strewn condoms, and cigarette holes burned through a convertible roof. “[The customers] don’t [need to] hang around outside all day long,” said the neighbor, complaining about patrons on couches and playing soccer all day and night.
There were a few complaints about the noise from the entertainment the club has had sans-license, but more from the police than the neighbors. Still, Peter Lukes – acting Chair for the day – said he couldn’t “in good conscience vote for an entertainment license [since] you’ve been violating…”
Despite pleas from the owners that a lack of entertainment would put them out of business, the commission voted to deny an entertainment license, and told the shop they needed to shutdown at 2am, not 3 from now on. “For now,” said Lukes, “run it as a coffee shop as it was intended to be.”
In another hearing, the troubled Alta Cafe was ordered to maintain two detail cops per night, as legislated two weeks ago. Police said that since the Cafe closed two weeks ago, neighborhood complaints have dropped dramatically. Owner Benny Mercedes attributed the drop to El Delicioso food truck moving to Park Ave. “The truck is the biggest problem…it’s no longer there,” he said.
“Before we had the truck there, within 15 minutes everyone [at closing] was gone.”
Mercedes, saying the regulations would put him out of business asked for “a one months trial with one officer…see how it goes.” But even with a plan to valet cars to alleviate parking complaints, activists and the commission weren’t phased.
Neighborhood stalwart Billy Breault was clear in his goals. “I hope you close him. I hope you keep him to two officers. I hope he goes out of business.”
And Lukes said that even if the truck was to blame, it would probably come back as soon as Mercedes reopened at night. “Financially, the city can’t afford to send officers repeatedly.”
Mercedes, desperate, said he may move to open during the day as a restaurant to help pay for the officers at night.