whence downtown disorder part next
after having spent the evening at ole on merrimack street enjoying the music of the jenny riddle band followed by the dave norton trio, (both recommended listening, by the way), and having myself the odd beer or two, (though they were out of their harpoon ipa drafts, which is a big thumbs down, i'm afraid to say), i took my ambling (on foot) sojourn back home right around the 1am hour.
in corroboration of the importance of the superintendent's suggestion that doors be restricted to arriving patrons at such time, (a practice i'm not sure will solve the entire problem, but more on that in a moment), i was approached as i reached market street by the clearly intoxicated (as well as youthful and not-from-lowell) driver of a major-sized SUV asking for directions to the village smokehouse for him and his carload of what obviously appeared to be quite already and further hopeful further-drunks. everything was wrong with the picture, though no police patrols were nearby, and i didn't feel comfortable presuming to phone police on my mere conjecture and opinion about a private citizen. (though i would have mentioned it to a beat cop if i had seen one). i figured the right option was to trust the proprietors of the establishment, (yeah, i know, i know better), the way the license commission has seen fit to entrust them with the responsibility, at least while the ABCC reviews the repeated incidents of underage and undocumented drinkers in their bar.
yes, i'd like to have that moment back.
because, you see, through the open doors and smoked windows of the blue shamrock, the rest of the market-and-palmer tableau had become positively surreal.
my attention had been caught by the motion of some sort of commotion on top of the portion of the bar i could see from the point of my vantage. taking a moment to process what i was seeing, i became aware that what i was seeing was a scantily clad woman moving sexually suggestively to approximate the gyrations of a strip club stripper, (yes, i would know, but it was a bachelor party, honest!), pouring booze directly from the bottle into the gaping open mouths of the many patrons seated at the bar for the show like so many little goslings begging supper from mommy. i was having trouble believing what i was seeing.
believing what i was seeing had to have been an anomaly, (no liquor establishment downtown would do such a thing, would they?), i moved closer to the doorway so as to be able to see a fuller panorama of the room.
there wasn't one, but THREE scantily clad, stripper gyrating little girls in skimpy little outfits prancing from one end of the bar to the other, pouring booze straight from the bottle into the besotted maws of each and everyone in attendance. (no, i did not see one single patron refusing to have hard liquor poured straight and free from the bottle into their drunken gullets). ABCC? police? anyone??? and it wasn't just an isolated incident--they continued to dance, and they continued to pour, for a considerable amount of time.
i had called only days earlier to prompt an investigation of the establishment's liquor serving practices, without any effective change in the ostensible method and means used by the blue shamrock to over-serve their patrons and compete for being ground zero in the drunk and disorderly debauching of my neighborhood, nor apparently attention from enforcement authorities. i had thus no idea what additional to do, considering as i did at the moment that entering the bar to take pictures was likely to be a personally and physically dangerous option, and calling once again was unlikely to achieve anything more than previous attempts at such, and most everything else i could try would be even less effective than those. and what would stop the bar from claiming the bottles had been paid for or some such other lame excuse for their lawlessness and contribution to the crime burgeoning all around them because of their malfeasance?
i'm sending a note to the superintendent this morning, and i'm going to bring it up publicly in the next neighborhood confab so everyone can discuss the demerits of the situation. but unless and until irresponsible bar owners like those of the blue shamrock and the village smokehouse are brought to responsibility, the surfeit of younger, drunken and violent miscreants making a mess of our downtown will not cease, and a 1am shuttering will not change that much.