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Residents to Bar Owners: “Shut it Down”


Sept. 2, 2010 By Christian Murray

A group of 50 concerned residents joined political leaders at a rally outside Casa Romana today and shouted: “Shut it down.”

The group–led by Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer, Assemblywoman Cathy Nolan and Community Board 2 Chair Joseph Conley–called for the closure of the Sunnyside bar following last Friday night’s brawl, which resulted in two minors being stabbed and a total of 14 arrests.

The participants at the rally, which was located at the bar at 39-20 Queens Blvd., were particularly concerned that 12 of the 14 individuals who were arrested were minors–after the “Teen Night” event hosted by the establishment went awry. The bar owners were also arrested – related to serving alcohol to minors.

At the rally, Community Board 2 Chair Conley said: “Today we are calling for Casa Romana to be closed and padlocked,” adding that “Places like this, promoting ‘teen nights’ are a haven for trouble – Casa Romana must be shutdown before a life is lost.”

Casa Romana has been cited 10 times for various infractions in the past, including “disorderly premises”, where the bar loses control of its patrons.

With these incidents, “it is time that we crack down on violence and underage drinking at this and other establishments,” Nolan said.

The owners of Casa Romana were not on the premises when the 2:30 pm rally took place.

Van Bramer said after the event that there is a strong chance that they will be able to close the bar. He said that they are working with the state liquor authority and police to make sure this happens. “There is an increasing body of support for this.”

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I understand liquor violations, in which case I have to wonder how they still have a liquor license after so many violations (isn’t it 3 strikes, you’re out?).

However, under what statute does Van Bremer have the authority to close a business and force the owner to sell? Many other questions abound:

At what point is a business NOT responsible for what happens outside its doors? Was the owner expected to follow all the customers home?


Was the owner expected to have private security outside his own premises?

I can understand a fine, or even suspension of liquor license. Just seems that the city closing businesses because of peoples’ bad behavior is a slippery slope.

Geez, you’d think someone was smoking inside the bar! God forbid!


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