State regulators have apparently run out of patience with the troubled Julep Bar.
After investigators allegedly found dangerous overcrowding and numerous underage women drinking alcohol at the downtown Boston bar for the third time since November, the state Alcoholic Beverages Control Commission has indefinitely suspended Julep Bar’s liquor license, effectively putting it out of business for now.
“The Commission is extremely concerned and alarmed about the operation of this licensed premises,” regulators said in a sternly worded June 24 notice to the bar that included sections written in all capital letters. “This Licensee has committed violations involving TWENTY-FIVE MINORS IN POSSESSION OF ALCOHOLIC BEVERAGES in the last six months. The Licensee is operating this business in a dangerous manner which jeopardizes public safety.”
The ABCC also took the unusual step of requiring each of Julep Bar’s six part-owners to appear together before the commission if the bar decides to seek the reinstatement of its license, according to the notice. Boston developer Ronald Luccio, who has proposed building a boutique hotel nearby, owns the largest portion of the bar, 35 percent, according to the ABCC. The bar, located on High Street in the Financial District, did not return requests for comment, and it was not clear whether it would seek such a hearing or attempt to reopen.
Julep Bar’s ownership group includes nightclub promoter Benjamin Urbelis, who was arrested in May after his boat’s propeller severed a woman’s arm in Boston Harbor. On Wednesday, Urbelis was indicted on charges related to the boating incident, including negligent operation of a boat, operating a boat under the influence of alcohol, and furnishing alcohol to minors.
The indefinite suspension of Julep Bar’s license is punishment for a series of violations allegedly observed during an April 4 sting by ABCC investigators, who described walking into a wild party that included a number of drunk underage women. In a report on the bust, the investigators said the first floor of the nightlife spot was packed “shoulder-to-shoulder” with at least 440 people — far more than the 280 allowed by fire regulations. And in the crowd, the investigators said they found 14 minors, some as young as 17 years old, drinking alcohol. More youthful-looking patrons bolted for the door, investigators said.
All of the underage drinkers were women; many of them had fraudulent identification cards from Colombia, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Peru, Puerto Rico, or Venezuela, according to the ABCC report. Several of the women told investigators that no one at the bar checked their IDs.
The April 4 raid was the third at Julep Bar by ABCC investigators in recent months.
In December 2014, investigators said they found nine underage women drinking there, and the ABCC later suspended the bar’s license for 15 days in response. During an earlier raid in November, investigators allegedly discovered two intoxicated underage people drinking at the bar, and emergency exits were illegally blocked.
Some of the co-owners of Julep Bar have stakes in other properties where problems have occurred. A trust in the name of Louis A. Delpidio owns 27.5 percent of Julep Bar. Delpidio owns The Royale, a club that was allegedly the scene of overdoses, a stabbing that went unreported to police, and the murder of Afghanistan and Iraq veteran Stephen Perez Jr.
Another co-owner of Julep Bar, Jackson Gateman, at one point owned the Clubhouse bar in Randolph, where several violent brawls have alarmed police and town officials. And in 2012, at Gateman’s Renzo Brick Oven Pizzeria in Revere, a man bit off part of his former business partner’s nose during a fight.
Dan Adams can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @DanielAdams86.