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The Greatest Bar permitted to continue operating, for now

A day after Boston inspectors raided The Greatest Bar, city officials on Friday gave the popular night spot the green light to stay open — for now.

The city had targeted the North End bar as a "problem property'' because of numerous fights and public safety concerns, said William Christopher, commissioner of the Inspectional Services Department.

Police and city inspectors descended on the bar Thursday night, leaving behind a long list of the health and safety violations that officials demanded to be fixed or the bar would be shut down.

After walking through the five-story business Friday afternoon, Christopher appeared satisfied that the business's owners were addressing the problems.

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But he warned that inspectors would be back at the property Saturday afternoon to ensure the needed improvements continue.

"Right now, we're happy that they are going in the right direction,'' Christopher said after his 35-minute walk-through of the business. "It's not a full go-ahead yet, but we are going to give them one more day to work through some things."

The bar's co-owner, Julie Fairweather, said she is working to correct the problems as quickly as possible.

"We share the city's concerns for public safety and are dedicated to ensuring that our patrons enjoy the safest environment possible," she said in a statement.

Christopher said The Greatest Bar was listed high as a "problem property" about 11 months ago — a distinction noted for establishments with at least four violations from police, public health, and inspectional services.

The commissioner said the bar was tagged because of a series of altercations and because officials had not been able to reach the owners of the bar and building to address the problems.

Standing outside the nightspot Friday afternoon, Christopher said the raid got everybody's attention. He said he met with the bar's owner that morning and spelled out what needs to be done to keep the bar open. But he said he has yet to connect with the building's owners.

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City records list the building owners as N & K Trust and Nikom Sopapunta, who has a Kissimmee, Fla., mailing address on file with the assessing department.

Sopapunta, who also has a Cambridge address, bought the property in 1993 from Donato F. Pizzuti in exchange for $1 plus, agreeing to take over the existing mortgage, which at the time was $631,938, according to state property records.

The Greatest Bar has amassed 30 violations, including overserving a female patron who was injured when she fell Feb. 1. Three violent assaults were reported during April alone.

Fights included those among patrons and between patrons and bouncers, according to city officials. On one occasion, a brawl reportedly involved 20 people.

Other violations included:

Doors designed to keep stairwells smoke-free during a fire were wedged open, “compromising the smoke containment capability of the egress stairwells.” The city gave operators 24 hours to fix the problem or face potential criminal charges.

The building “has inadequate egress illumination,’’ and the city ordered the operators to hire a professional to design a “proper illumination system.”

A bartender on the second floor did not properly wash his or her hands between cleaning the bar and mixing drinks.

The next inspection is scheduled for 2 p.m. Saturday.


Andy Rosen and Matt Rocheleau of the Globe staff contributed to this report. John R. Ellement can be reached at ellement@globe.com. Meghan E. Irons can be reached at meghan.irons@globe.com.