Town Bar and Grill MV on Upper Main Street will have to close earlier after a disciplinary hearing Tuesday before the Edgartown select board. The unanimous decision was made following multiple recent police reports at the establishment.
“These are continuing unfortunate incidents,” said select board member Art Smadbeck. “We have to take some action,” adding that the Town Bar and Grill is “a restaurant…not a nightclub.” Advocating for an adjustment to hours of operation, Smadback said, “I think it’s good for the town, for everybody involved.”
Alexander Tamargo, Town Bar MV manager, attempted to explain the situation. “I had a few managers working under us who were supposed to be towing the line. They broke my trust,” he said, adding that his employees didn’t tell him that the police were called the first time. The second time, he explained, was due to a manager and two staff remaining at the restaurant, drinking after hours. Police were alerted of a noise complaint during the event, according to the police report. Tamargo called the incident “completely unacceptable,” and assured the select board that he has already taken steps to “so this will never happen again.”
Those steps include the firing the assistant manager who “had been drinking [at the restaurant] until 3 in morning” and with whom there had been previous issues, said Tamargo, adding that these incidents put the “business in jeopardy [in addition to] our relationship with the town, which is something we pride ourselves on.”
The general manager was also let go, explained Tamargo, for “covering” for the assistant manager and failing to notify him of the incidents.
“It’s just something we don’t want to be part of,” said Tamargo. “We are a family friendly restaurant. We toe the line correctly, and these unfortunate bad apples ruined it for all of us,” he said, apologizing to the board. “This is not how we conduct ourselves.”
Tamargo asked for leniency from the board, noting that he is aware that the issues “should have easily been prevented.”
The select board, which has the authority to suspend or modify liquor licenses, had several options regarding the ways in which the issue of licensing can be dealt with, said town administrator James Hagerty, outlining the options ahead of the vote.
According to police reports, one of the incidents at the establishment involved a physical altercation with two intoxicated patrons that led the responding officers to conclude that the staff members were also intoxicated while clocked in, in addition to another incident involving a 3:30 am noise complaint where the manager and two employees were found to be intoxicated.
“The reports do speak for themselves,” said Edgartown Police Chief Bruce McNamee. “This isn’t conduct we would expect in Edgartown, from any facility,” adding that in his four years as police chief, the select board “has never had to have a hearing like this.”
“I’m happy to hear there is a change of leadership and management,” said McNamee, advocating for “corrective action,” because there have been numerous issues with the restaurant.
Smadback suggested a motion to lower the hours of operation to 11 pm until August 1, and to “reevaluate after that,” which was seconded. “I think that’s the least we have to do,” said select board member Margaret Serpa.
In other news, the Edgartown select board elected Serpa as its new chair. Select board member Arthur Smadback thanked former chair Michael Donaroma, “for leading [the board] this past year,” adding “it’s time to pass the baton.”