The fate of Tavern in the Square has moved from City Hall to Salem District Court.
Although the city’s Licensing Board last night unanimously voted a five-day suspension — two days to be served — against the popular Washington Street restaurant and bar for an alleged assault by a bouncer, the suspension will be held in abeyance until the matter can be resolved in court.
Salem police charged doorman, or bouncer, Nicholas Quartarone, 19, of Beverly with aggravated assault and battery and assault and battery in a May 3 incident, when, they say, he slammed a man to the floor, causing a skull fracture and other injuries. Quartarone pleaded not guilty at a June arraignment.
Following a three-hour hearing yesterday at the City Hall annex, the Licensing Board found the assaults had taken place and voted the penalty.
However, the board was told that at a separate hearing several weeks ago, a clerk magistrate in Salem District Court found probable cause to bring a charge of assault and battery against the patron who suffered the injuries in the incident, who was identified as Zachary Brown, 23, of Peabody.
The Salem News was not able to reach Brown, who did not testify at the hearing. Quartarone also did not testify and, on the advice of an attorney, declined to be interviewed.
Quartarone is alleging that the customer, Brown, after repeatedly being asked to move to allow servers to get through a crowded area of the bar, swore at him, hit him with a hard elbow to the chest and took a swing at his head that missed, according to Joseph Correnti, the attorney for Tavern in the Square.
At that point, Quartarone says he “put the kid down and defended myself from there,” according to a statement provided to police.
Faced with conflicting findings by police and a court clerk, Licensing Board Chairman Robert St. Pierre said they will not impose the suspension until the criminal charges have been resolved in court.