Saturday, February 24, 2007

Bar License Transfer Proposed

A small legal notice Friday (Feb. 23, 2007) heralds the possible re-opening of the former Rusty Spigot bar on Watchung Avenue as “Latin Heat Sports Bar & Grill.”

The notice reminded Plaintalker of a 2005 campaign promise by Republican Al Coleman to transform the bar into the “Bankers & Brokers Jazz Club” and a five-star restaurant. Coleman lost the election and the plans never materialized.

The other thought was how shuttering of that bar and others seems to have led to a quiet time in the city. Granted, police reports are no longer published in the newspaper, so the level of bar fights, assaults, drug- and prostitution-related offenses and other infractions cannot be objectively measured without statistics. It’s just a perception on this writer’s part.

At present, it seems that bars near Roosevelt and Third, Park and Second, Richmond and Third and Watchung and Fourth and a couple on South Avenue are all closed. Residents and officials have long bemoaned the high number of liquor establishments in the city and somehow, through economic or other reasons, they have been reduced.

There is nothing to say that a properly-managed bar and grill cannot succeed and attract a responsible clientele. Indeed, one former police chief used to speak with relish of the opportunity to have an “adult beverage” after work.

Anyway, the legal notice mainly serves to alert the public to the fact that anyone with objections to the license transfer should send their concerns in writing to City Clerk Laddie Wyatt at City Hall, 515 Watchung Ave., Plainfield NJ 07060.

This is a standard part of the licensing process in the case of transfers. Residents may also write to the clerk with any concerns about license renewals.

Concern over the high number of liquor establishments in the city once led to City Council legislation authorizing license buy-outs with public funds. It has not come to that, but anyone with objections to the way a bar operates can say so in writing. Each license holder is also subject to a police investigation.

--Bernice Paglia


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