PAWTUCKETâ€”The owner of a former nightclub at 242 Middle St. was denied a request for a liquor license to re-open based on the club's troubled past and objections from neighbors.
On Wednesday, the City Council's Board of License Commissioners voted 8 to 0 to deny a request by Robert L. Thibeault to obtain a liquor license for Club Macundo. At a public hearing, he told the council that he has had trouble keeping tenants in the commercial building, and he wants to re-open as a club to help pay his taxes.
Thibeault, accompanied by his attorney, described his new venture as a bar that would cater to the Latino population. He said it would serve food and feature dance music, mostly provided by deejays. He sought to operate from 6 p.m. to 1 a.m., Tuesday through Friday, and 3 p.m. to 1 a.m. on Saturdays and Sundays.
Thibeault told the licensing board that he had been in the business of owning and operating nightclubs for over 45 years, and said he planned to hire 12 to 15 people, including three â€śbouncersâ€ť to handle security for the 300-seat venue.
Addressing Thibeault, Councilor Mark Wildenhain said he was aware there had been a lot of problems with the police at the old Macundo's, but Thibeault said he only recalled one incident.
However, Councilor David Moran noted that there had been numerous incidents at the club, and asked Thibeault what he would be doing differently with the new business. Thibeault replied that he would have more supervision. However, when pressed about his willingness to provide police details, he said he intended to hire â€śpeople off the streetâ€ť to act as bouncers.
A half dozen neighbors who live in and around Middle Street spoke against the request, citing the past history of the former Macundo's. The club operated for several years until the city's licensing board revoked its liquor license in 2007.
Residents of Middle Street and others living nearby expressed concern about noise, rowdy behavior, parking issues and other nuisances stemming from having a music club in the building. Several neighbors told the board that they had lived in their houses during the time that the old Macundo's was in operation, and spoke of experiencing problems with loud and drunken patrons, public urination, littering, cars blocking driveways and other issues that impacted their quality of life.
Following the neighbors' testimony, Moran commented that â€śyou can't ignore history,â€ť and read from numerous police reports detailing incidents at the former Macundo's from 2004 through 2007. These infractions ranged from underage drinking, after-hours operation, and loud music to arrests of patrons for fighting and other charges.
Moran noted that he had sat on the council when the club's license was revoked, and expressed concern that the new business proposal that Thibeault had submitted appeared to be the same type of operation. He added that he hoped to see a business once again occupy the building, but thought that a nightclub was â€śnot the right fit for that area.â€ť
Following the board's vote, Thibeault thanked the board members for their consideration. However, as he exited the council chambers, the 84-year-old club owner turned to the neighborhood residents and loudly told them that they could â€śstuff it,â€ť drawing surprised gasps from the audience.