Boston Licensing Board Chairwoman Christine Pulgini has rolled back the hours of two bars in the neighborhood.
Billares Colombia and Bohemio’s Restaurant on lower Bennington Street were called before the Licensing Board both had their 2 a.m. license rolled back to 1 a.m. according to the Licensing Board.
At the Licensing Board hearing District A-7 Captain Kelly McCormick testified that both patrons and employees at the four bars are responsible for some violent incidents in the neighborhood, are over taxing District A-7’s staff during the overnight shift and called for their hours to be rolled back to 1 a.m.
The problem, explained McCormick, was that the 2 a.m. licenses at these establishments allowed patrons at other bars in Eastie and surrounding neighborhoods that have only a 1 a.m. licenses to head over to Billares Colombia and Bohemio’s Restaurant for last call.
“If you’re on Bennington Street at 10 o’clock at night, it’s a ghost town. If you’re down there at 1 a.m. it’s packed,” McCormick testified. “The parking lots are packed. The streets are packed. There are all kinds of issues. This has been a magnet to draw everyone in for last call, to get those last drinks. This is substantially impacting the neighborhood and the people that live there. The problem is these bars in East Boston should not be serving patrons that are already intoxicated. The problem is compounded by overly intoxicated patrons leaving these establishments alone in the early morning hours and being victimized by muggers.”
Pulgini sided with McCormick and rolled the hours back.
Since that time McCormick said there has been little to no issue on lower Bennington Street.
“It’s been a lot better,” he said. “We are not having those incidents were people are showing up for last call and mixing with people who have already been at those two establishments for the night and starting trouble. The establishments have last call at 12:30 a.m. and everyone is out the door at 1 a.m. No one is driving over from Revere, Everett or Chelsea to make last call here in East Boston anymore.”
A few months back Police Sergeant William Toner brought the recent problems at the bars to the Licensing Board’s attention. Toner reported of stabbings, muggings, and fights outside the Bennington Street establishments at closing time.
“We’ve had a number of incidents in that lower Bennington area,” Boston Police Sergeant William Toner told the board.
Sergeant Toner highlighted recent incidents outside of Bohemios located at 30 Bennington St. and the Billares Colombia pool hall next door to Bohemios.
On Saturday, March 17, a man was stabbed a little after 2 a.m. on Bennington Street near Marion Street. A little while later another man was beaten and robbed of $1,000 a few blocks away.
Sergeant Toner also testified about a January 10 incident outside Bohemios at closing time. Toner described a scene of utter chaos as police tried to break up a series of fights that were erupting after the bars let out. Even with the arrival of police one suspect sucker-punched a man standing on the sidewalk in front of police, and he was later arrested.
Police have longed complained that the bars on lower Bennington Street did not have a proper control at closing time, which had resulted in ‘multiple stabbings’ and fights after 2 a.m. Police have called that portion of Bennington Street the ‘most violent area’ in Eastie, according to testimony.
This isn’t the first time these Bennington Street bars found themselves in hot water with the Licensing Board. Bohemios, Billares Colombia and La Terraza were all brought before the board to answer questions following several violent incidents that stemmed from their establishments back in 2015.
In 2015 Pulgini gave the three establishments one week to come up with a security plan or face losing their licenses.