EAST PROVIDENCE — The troubled East Bay Tavern located on Lyon Avenue will remain open, though with considerable stipulations after a planned show-cause hearing at a special City Council meeting held Wednesday night, Feb. 26, was delayed six days.
Discussing the matter for over a half-hour, the Council voted unanimously, 5-0, to allow the bar to keep operating, but the owners must now agree to have an increased police presence in the form of detailed officer, to limit its advertising and to eliminate its “open mike” entertainment until at least March 4 when the Council reconvenes for its next forum and show-cause hearing on the matter.
Attorney Michael Crocker, of the law firm representing tavern owner DL Enterprises, said he expects the proprietor to agree to the latter two terms but must consent with co-counsel about the first requirement.
Mr. Crocker’s amenable offering did nothing to quell the ire of Councilors Chrissy Rossi, Tommy Rose and Helder Cunha, who each took turns railing against the establishment, which was the scene of a recent stabbing incident and continues to draw the attention of East Providence Police.
Mrs. Rossi said she has “had it” with the tavern and that “someone is going to get killed there.” Mr. Rose said “something had to be done” and that no other like bars or restaurants in the city have problems like it does. Mr. Cunha, the representative from Ward 2 where the tavern is located and who grew up on Lyon Avenue, said the stabbing incident was “20 minutes” away from turning into a case of murder.
Their comments, however, were tempered a bit by EPPD Chief Joseph Tavares, City Solicitor Tim Chapman and Council President, Mayor Jim Briden, himself a lawyer.
Each noted the severity of the situation, but cautioned the need to follow legal protocols when addressing the matter. Mr. Crocker noted, and Chief Tavares concurred, there had been some evidentiary discovery issues that needed to be addressed before the show-cause hearing could be properly conducted.
Therefore, Mr. Chapman, likewise in agreement, said it would be prudent for the Council to postpone the hearing until a later date, that eventually determined to be next Tuesday night.
Chief Tavares said he wanted the hearing to be “done right and fair because I’m asking for serious sanctions” against East Bay Tavern, which, according to a packet of papers held up by Mr. Rose, has had a litany of attention from law enforcement.
The chief insisted there will continue to be a “strong” police presence in the area of the bar. He requested the detail be added because the tavern’s manager has “failed to call police in a timely fashion” when incidents have occurred in the past.
The chief also said the “open-mike” rap entertainment offered at the tavern has “drawn in gang elements” to the city. In addition, he said advertising is attempting to lure patrons from outside the city, specifically Providence, again drawing in those with gang relations.
The show-cause hearing for East Bay Tavern is scheduled to take place Tuesday, March 4, at the regularly scheduled City Council hearing in City Hall, which begins at 7:30 p.m.