BY JULIE MANGANIS
---- — SALEM — A bouncer at Tavern in the Square has been charged with slamming a patron to the floor and fracturing his skull during an encounter inside the Washington Street restaurant last month.
Nicholas Quartarone, 19, of 57 Hillside Ave., Beverly, pleaded not guilty to charges of aggravated assault and battery and assault and battery during his arraignment yesterday in Salem District Court.
Although a prosecutor sought bail of $2,500, Judge Michael Lauranzano released Quartarone, who had appeared in court in response to a summons, on personal recognizance, with conditions that include no contact with the alleged victim, a Peabody man.
The Salem Licensing Board has also scheduled a hearing on July 17 concerning the incident.
Police went to the restaurant just after midnight on May 4 to investigate a report of a disturbance and found the injured patron dazed and bleeding from his ear and nose. The patron was eventually taken to Massachusetts General Hospital for treatment of his skull fracture, according to the police report.
Meanwhile, Quartarone approached the officers and introduced himself, telling them that he had been the one to ask the injured patron to move out of the way of a waitress, but that he was “unsure” who had punched the patron.
The information, along with witness statements that the manager said he had taken, was passed along to Salem police detectives Charlene Sano and Dan Tucker, who followed up.
The alleged victim, interviewed after his release from the hospital, told the detectives that he and some friends had gone to the restaurant to meet friends after watching a Celtics game, and had been moving from table to table, according to the police report.
At some point, the patron was standing with a friend, he said, when a bouncer told them they had to move. They made a loop of the restaurant and returned to the same area a short time later, the patron told police. He said the same bouncer, later identified as Quartarone, again demanded that they move, saying, “You guys are going to move or I’m going to make you move.”
The patron said he told the bouncer, “You’re not going to put your hands on me, I can move myself,” and was told, “That’s it, you’re out of here.”
The next thing he felt was the bouncer’s arms around him, he told police.
Friends of the injured patron told police that Quartarone crouched, as if playing football, grabbed the patron, and then slammed him headfirst to the floor.
Quartarone is a former Beverly High School football and hockey player.
The injured patron was briefly unconscious.
In a statement to his manager, which was turned over to police, Quartarone said he asked two patrons to move and that one of them responded with an obscenity, then “threw an elbow,” which led him to “put the kid down” in self-defense.
The issue of how the restaurant deals with intoxicated patrons came up before the Licensing Board last year, according to minutes of the board’s May 31, 2012, meeting, after emails had been sent to the board describing a patron being physically thrown onto the sidewalk.
According to the minutes, board members advised the managers to call police when confronted with an unruly, intoxicated patron, but no further disciplinary action was taken.
Courts reporter Julie Manganis can be reached at 978-338-2521, via email at email@example.com or on Twitter @SNJulieManganis.