HOBOKEN, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — A crackdown has been launched on fights inside and outside bars in Hoboken, New Jersey.

As CBS2’s Lisa Rozner reported, what is usually one of the biggest drinking days of the year in Hoboken is coming up in one week – and the city has suspended five bars’ liquor licenses.

The Hoboken Bar and Grill is one of the bars being penalized. Its liquor license has been suspended for 30 days.

The local police chief said there was a brawl involving some 40 people at the bar in November. The mayor has vowed to hold bar owners more accountable

The mayor and police chief said such fights are becoming all too common. Mayor Ravi Bhalla tweeted out video Sunday night of a fight outside Hudson Ultra Bar, and wrote, “We will charge not just the persons involved, but the bars that overserve and can’t keep their patrons under control as legally required.”

“I’m on board with what he’s doing,” said Hoboken resient Myra Orillaza.

In Hoboken, Saturday, March 3 will be the date for a daylong annual St. Patrick’s Day-themed bar crawl called LepreCon. In December, a similar bar crawl called SantaCon netted 17 arrests.

“It gets a little crazy,” a resident said.

“When SantaCon comes around; when LepreCon comes around, a lot of people complain,” said Luis Lajara of Hoboken.

Hoboken police Chief Ken Ferrante said it is more than complaining. He some fights involve people getting arrested and officers getting injured.

The bar 1Republik is one of the five bars that will not be allowed to serve liquor next Saturday, and after May, 1Republik will be forced to close and give up its liquor license quickly.

Last year, police said an employee assaulted a patron at the bar and left them with life-threatening injuries.

“I was shocked. It’s completely unfair. We’ve never been shut down before,” said 1Republik general manager Mike McClarty. “We’ve been trying to go above and beyond just to make sure that nothing happens, and try and keep everybody safe.”

Local residents’ reaction to the crackdown was mixed.

“They’re not portraying it the way it’s made out to be,” said 1Republik Sierra Eastmead. “You know, I understand bars. They get like a little, you know, but that’s every bar, I feel like

“Usually on Saturdays, we just like go to another street; another block that’s less busy,” said Winnie Bautista of Hoboken.

“It’s crazy about these bars, man,” said Omar Alnajar, who works in Hoboken. “I had one time a car accident just ’cause some drunk guys was just driving out of the bar and stuff like that at 2 o’clock in the morning

Rozner reached out to Hoboken Bar and Grill but did not hear back Sunday night. Meanwhile, no one from the Hoboken Mayor’s office would go on camera Sunday night.

Rozner did speak with one councilman, Peter Cunningham, who called the measures draconian, and worried that there could be a trickle-down effect on other businesses.


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