Bar could face 6-month shutdown

Photo by Anthony Machcinski/ Ambatenita’s could end up shut for half a year.


By Ron Leir 


A local tavern that has incurred the borough’s wrath for a series of past indiscretions may have shot itself in the foot.

Last November East Newark imposed a one-year closing of the Ambatenita Bar & Restaurant on N. Third St. for various liquor law infractions but the licensee appealed to the state Alcoholic Beverage Control Commission.

So the borough and the licensee ended up with a settlement agreement that forced the bar to close for 10 days and, thereafter, put it on a sort of probation.

Under the agreement, which was signed Dec. 14, 2011, the licensee was bound to adhere to a list of conditions required by the borough through June 30, 2012, and if it failed to satisfy any one of those conditions, the borough had the right to close the place for six months.

Well, according to the borough, it didn’t take long for the licensee to break the agreement.

Borough Attorney Neil Marotta said that on Sunday, Jan. 8, a borough police offi cer who visited the bar that evening found that it was open past the designated 10 p.m. closing time.

Because the bar stayed open later than the consent order (settlement agreement) permitted, Marotta said, the licensee is charged with breaching the order.

Marotta said the borough has served notice of the alleged violation of the agreement on the licensee and the Borough Council will conduct a public hearing on the charge on Jan. 25 at 5:30 p.m. in the second-fl oor assembly chambers at Borough Hall, 34 Sherman Ave.

Marotta said that if the licensee is found guilty of the charge, the bar is “subject to a six-month suspension of the license,” as provided by the consent order, but added that, ultimately, it’s up to the Borough Council to determine the penalty.

Asked for more details, Borough Police Chief Ken Sheehan said that the police report documenting the incident indicated that the Police Department received a call from a resident alleging that the bar was continuing to serve customers after the mandated 10 p.m. closing.

When a police officer went to the bar at 10:20 p.m. to check, the offi cer “found that patrons were still in the establishment,” Sheehan said.

Newark attorney Fausto Simoes, listed as representing Ambatenita’s, couldn’t be reached for comment.

Borough officials said they were prompted to impose special conditions on the bar in response to neighbors’ quality of life complaints about loud noise and music coming from inside, disruptive patrons hanging outside and urinating in an alley next to the bar, and fights in the bar that sometimes spilled outside into the neighborhood.

The borough instructed the bar owner to close at 10 p.m. Sunday through Wednesday and to “turn the music down at 9 p.m.” on those days.

On weekends, the owner was told to tone down the music at midnight.

The bar also had to install a security light outside the front entrance and put in a second light with motion detector in the alleyway.

It also was required to hire a bouncer to prevent customers from hanging outside.

The borough put limits on the number of patrons allowed outside. And the owner had to pay the state a fi ne in lieu of a 30- day license suspension.

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