, Salem, MA

Local News

October 16, 2012

Salem bar hit with penalty

Starting Thursday, Bangkok Paradise will stop entertainment at 11 p.m.

SALEM — They will be turning the music off early at Bangkok Paradise, a Washington Street restaurant linked by police to late-night trouble in the downtown.

The Licensing Board yesterday ordered a six-month rollback of the restaurant’s entertainment license from 12:30 a.m. to 11 p.m. after finding DJs and dancing contributed to the large crowds that police allege have been fighting in the streets and causing other disturbances.

Bangkok Paradise will remain open and its hours of operation unchanged. The new entertainment hours begin on Thursday.

In a separate case, the establishment was given a warning on an allegation of serving a minor on Sept. 1.

A lawyer for Bangkok Paradise owner Jesus Franco said the restaurant has already taken steps to curb the problems by hiring an extra doorman, acquiring a machine to check identification cards and implementing a new plan for dispersing large crowds.

“Mr. Franco is going to do everything he can to create a fun, safe environment,” attorney J.P. Story of Salem said after the hearing.

During yesterday’s hearing, a continuation of an Oct. 9 meeting, Story said he felt his client was being unfairly blamed for a number of recent downtown incidents at closing time.

In a report, Detective Sgt. James Page cited 18 police calls to Bangkok Paradise or areas nearby between February and Oct. 1. Some were minor, while others involved large crowds fighting, multiple arrests and a stabbing. The most serious incidents took place outside the restaurant.

“Mr. Franco ... is not responsible for the whole city of Salem,” Story said. “There are many bars down here ... and there are college students from Salem State.”

When Chairman Robert St. Pierre, the retired Salem police chief and the former interim chief at Salem State, challenged him on linking Salem State students to the troubles, Story conceded he was just giving an example of the variety of young people who could be downtown at night.

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