I-Team: Late night entertainment curfew

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – It’s been two years since Springfield instituted an entertainment curfew for some of its bars and clubs. The 22News I-Team reveals how many bars or clubs have had violations.

Closing time in Springfield is 2:00 a.m. If a bar or club doesn’t make more than 40% of their money from food, they need a special late night permit. If not, they have to turn off their music at 1:00 a.m.

24 bars and clubs currently have one, including two strip clubs, who can continue their entertainment until 2:00 a.m., but can’t let anyone in after 1:00 a.m. In 2 years, Springfield has only cited 4 bars for violating it’s entertainment curfew: Adore, Aquarius, Fat Cat Bar and Grill & Lux.

The I-Team asked Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno if the curfew is being enforced? He reponded by saying, “Yes it is, and there’s been establishments that we have shut down. As with Lux, which we shut down.”

Lux Nightclub closed after a shooting outside the club in April. Several other bars which had late night entertainment permits have since closed for various reasons.

“I think it’s being enforced,” said Alesia Days, Springfield’s Director of Licensing. “We have received reduced violations not just the late night with respect to fights and other things that happen usually at the closing of the club.”

The I-Team went to Springfield’s entertainment district on a Friday night to see what happens as we head into the early morning hours. We saw 2 police cruisers and a police van on Worthington Street for most of the night. They blocked half of Worthington Street at 1:00 a.m. and the entire street at 1:30 a.m.

The I-Team found a Center Stage strip club following the rules and not allowing people in after 1:00 a.m. Although we did find Fat Cat, which according to city records has its late night entertainment permit revoked, playing music around 1:20 a.m.

The 22News I-Team spoke to the bar owner, who said his manager would answer our questions, but we haven’t heard back yet.

“It’s hard to speculate without seeing a police report and the facts and circumstances around it. If they have violated in spite of not having a late night entertainment permit from 1am to 2am, they will be dealt with as the mayor sees fit,” said Days.

All in all a quiet Friday night in Springfield’s entertainment district. No incidents or arrests. Mayor Sarno told the I-Team the entertainment curfew is working, but if certain bar owners don’t play by the rules, everyone could be affected.

The I-Team asked Mayor Sarno if he would you like to see a 1:00 a.m. closing time for bars in the city. He responded, “I have not ruled that out. I have not ruled that out.”

The license commission rejected Mayor Sarno’s 2012 plan to close all bars at 1:00 a.m.

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