Whiskey to reopen after temporary closing

Violence outside popular college haunt sparks community concern over unruly bar scene

By
metro editor
Tuesday, September 12, 2017

The Whiskey Republic, a bar in Fox Point frequented by students at Brown and other universities in the area, will reopen its doors today after the Providence Board of Licenses gave it the go-ahead in a Tuesday afternoon meeting. Whiskey was forced to be closed for 72 hours, and the Board of Licenses had ordered an emergency meeting to evaluate the bar’s liquor license after a late-night fight on the street nearby turned grisly, The Herald previously reported.

It is standard procedure for the city to impose a 72-hour “cool down” period, like this one, when violence erupts at or near a business in the city.

The city will require that Whiskey have a police presence at its Friday and Saturday night events, as well as any other 2 a.m. closing-time nights, said City Solicitor Jeffrey Dana at the meeting. They will re-evaluate this regulation at a meeting on Sept. 20.

Police are continuing their investigation into the Sunday morning incident, Dana said. Whiskey has cooperated with the investigation, he added, noting that it has submitted all surveillance tapes from that night.

“My clients are just as concerned as anybody” about the violence that occurred just outside of the bar on Bridge Street, said Whiskey Republic’s legal counsel at the meeting, adding that Whiskey’s surveillance videos did not show any evidence that any individuals involved in the fight had gone to Whiskey that night.

Some members of the Jewelry District Association attended the meeting, staying after to discuss their concerns about the bars and clubs in their neighborhood with an attending police officer. Sharon Steele, vice president of the association, said that her group has been advocating for years in an effort to get what she described as a loud, unruly club situation in the district under control. Violence has been emanating from a handful of clubs for years, she said, adding that she feels the Board of Licensing only dispenses “slaps on the wrist” in the form of fines and one-day closings.

There “are potentially many issues that can arise at any liquor establishment,” said a police officer at the event who asked to remain anonymous. Policing liquor establishments includes monitoring ongoing issues as well as one-time incidents, he said, but he declined to comment on any specifics about the Sept. 10 brawl, as it is an open investigation.