Licensing Board Has Handle On Bangkok Paradise Issue

St. Pierre leads reasoned deliberations in pursuit of correct solutions.


Anyone that reads message boards or newspaper comment threads is familiar with the "hang 'em high" mentality that comes with the territory.

No matter the subject matter, hard-liners will insist that any and all infractions must be met with quick and severe discipline. Any other approach is seen as lily-livered or weak-kneed. Take the malefactor out back and tan his hide with a leather strap.

The actions the Salem Licensing Board took against Bangkok Paradise last night will not come close to appeasing some of those homebound "knights of the keyboard" (thank you Ted Williams). That is because we do not govern by the QWERTY method.

In a meeting that covered infractions from two separate incidents, Bangkok Paradise was issued both a written warning and a "roll back"of their entertainment license hours. The written warning is the result of an allegation that am underage person was served two beers. A demonstrated and consistent failure to maintain order in the late night hours was the reason given for limiting the hours allowed for entertainment.

The business will have to stop all entertainment to include televisions and radios at 11 p.m. every night for the next six months. Their entertainment hours had previously run until 12:30 a.m.

These punitive measures are in line with steps taken against other Salem businesses for similar infractions in the past.

The Lyceum, O'Neil's, In A Pig's Eye and Murphy's all endured written warnings for underage liquor violations over the last three years. The now defunct Roosevelt's was the last business in Salem to be forced to roll back their entertainment hours.

These steps may seem to many to be inadequate. They are not. We live in a society where procedures and rules exist. No matter what the accusation may be against a business, there are certain steps that must be taken in order to maintain the legitimate legal process. Pulling a liquor license without a clear trail of less punitive steps would only lead to delays through appeal and a probable legal ruling favoring the business.

The steps taken by the licensing board could eventually lead to the shuttering of Bangkok Paradise.

The next step belongs to Jesus Franco, the owner of Bangkok Paradise. He has already signed on to the "One Strike And You're Out" initiative with other downtown watering holes. There is more work to be done, and he knows it. 

The recent problems at Bangkok are not unique to that establishment. Others in Salem have had comparable issues. Knives are not what we want to see, but, having worked 15 years on the door or behind the bar in Salem, they are nothing new. Knuckleheads and dime store tough guys have always been around.

Franco, through his lawyer, has owned up to some serious mistakes and promised to take measures to avoid repeating those mistakes. He deserves a chance to show that he is as good as his word. 

If Bangkok Paradise proves unable to live up their promises and more incidents occur, I have full confidence that the process Bob St. Pierre and the board initiated back on Oct. 9 will lead to the right conclusion.

Carolyn Costain October 16, 2012 at 11:17 AM
It's nice to read that the SLB are not just sitting with hands over their mouth, eyes, and ears, on this issue. It does seem like a slap on the wrist but its a start. If the incidents continue within those 6 month, how will the SLB respond? A slap on the other wrist? I hope to at least see a 3 day weekend closure. I know a few bars in Peabody cleaned up their act after getting a 3 day suspensions for serving underage persons. It would work in Salem to.
PJ October 16, 2012 at 12:37 PM
I think this will work. The 1-strike you're out policy supported by the majority of the local bars/restaurants is the most effective curb. It was very important that Bangkok join that program. Don't know why the program went away in the first place. We're a college town and regional food/bar hub. It should be a permanent program.
william bell October 16, 2012 at 01:45 PM
honestly the accusations and supposed events that have "occured" at this bar are bs and blown way out of proportion. The actions taken against the bar by the city of salem are harsh, irrational, and biased. Furthermore william legault the autor of this article should consider the fact that some of these "knights of the keyboard" have more prominent positions in the role and are more respected than a journalist who speaks ignorantly on a style of music that has been around for many years and has even seen the nods of grammy awards. Sorry dont see any pulitzer prizes in your future.
Mike Lash October 16, 2012 at 02:16 PM
I don't see or understand any music reference in this piece. But, in this case I'm glad the City wasn't cowed by the squeaky wheel public sector and made a fair decision. Now the Cafe is holding its own future in its hands. In a city of soothsayers, I don't see a Pulitzer in Williams future either. I guess we will have to enjoy his writings before he is lauded for his accomplishments.
william bell October 16, 2012 at 02:23 PM
referring to producers and dj's who dedicate their lives to their work as "knights of the keyboard" and continuing to say "That is because we do not govern by the QWERTY method." is a lash at individuals who have done nothing wrong in this situation except provide entertainment and business for the city of salem. If you can not see the passively aggresive attack on these people than maybe you should reread the article or perhaps read between the lines
Diane Wolf October 16, 2012 at 02:28 PM
I think, Mr. Bell, that Mr. Legault was referring to folks who type nasty comments on Patch discussion boards about how the place should be shut down with little or no due process as "knights of the keyboard" I don't think he was talking about a piano when he wrote "That is because we do not govern by the QWERTY method". Peace.
chester suchecki October 16, 2012 at 02:30 PM
seems to me salem police should start a social engineering ( bouncer ) training program to be able to spot underage drinkers with fake id's. trouble makers, power drinkers and maybe even a weapons patdown wand like they use at the airport.. they use them in boston and other cities why not salem? are we not allowed to be safe when we go out for a couple drinks and see a band? bouncer education along with tips certification should be mandatory.
Mike Lash October 16, 2012 at 02:53 PM
I think you need to look up Ted Williams and "Knights of the keyboard". Music has nothing to do with this. So far as I can tell, one can still play music for a minor about anywhere. Unless its outdoors in Salem then you need a permit.
Restless October 16, 2012 at 03:03 PM
I think you have totally misread what Bill said. He is referring to the extremist posters to this site and others who have been calling for the restaurant to be shut down etc etc. I would try reading it again.
William Legault October 16, 2012 at 03:39 PM
Mr. Bell. at no time did I refer to any of the individuals or groups who provide music at Bangkok Paradise.
Thomas Vallor October 16, 2012 at 04:07 PM
11pm, ouch! That might kill their business a little, but at least I wont have to hear people getting stabbed out my window anymore. Stuff was seriously out of hand, the owner should have fixed it before the city had to step in.
Bryan Karsis October 16, 2012 at 04:36 PM
In addition to the training which Chester mentioned, I sincerely hope that Bangkok's staff has undergone the Commonwealth's Crowd Manager Training Program (http://www.mass.gov/eopss/agencies/dfs/dfs2/osfm/crowd-manager-training-program.html) which is mandatory for any "nightclub, dance hall, discothèque or bar, with an occupant load of 100 persons or more". Come to think of it, I sincerely hope that all venues in Salem, regardless of their occupancy load, have had their staff go through it.
R Lim October 16, 2012 at 06:55 PM
Sorry Mr. Legault, but I agree with William Bell! One hour ago you suggested to me that I... "Do a little homework, before posing as an expert." That is a pretty clear stab at my intelligence and an ignorant statement to say the least and yet you attempt to prove your point by citing the fact that Frank Zappa and Stevie Ray Vaughn came to Salem in 1984. Its been almost 30 years since then. You don't think it might be time to breath a little life into this scene?
William Legault October 16, 2012 at 09:39 PM
Mr R Lim, agreeing with Mr. Bell is all well and good, but on what exactly do you find common ground? Your knowledge of the Salem music scene is superficial at best even within your own speciality as demonstrated here, (http://boston.barstoolsports.com/m/featured/the-countdown-to-barstools-maiden-voyage-to-the-north-shore-with-white-panda-at-rockafellas-is-on/ I will say again that I have never insulted or degenerated your intellectual ability but do question you lack of preparedness for this discussion.
Rachel October 16, 2012 at 10:37 PM
I agree with Thomas!!!
Rachel October 16, 2012 at 10:39 PM
I personally enjoy and have grown to respect William Legault's stories with the patch. I don't see that any of these other commentators take the time to continuously contribute to such a community effort ...
R Lim October 17, 2012 at 01:05 AM
Will, White Panda isn't exactly the same caliber act as we had coming into Salem for this Halloween. We cater to a specific crowd, we're talking real club music... pioneers of the scene.... not mash up DJs.
William Legault October 17, 2012 at 01:26 AM
Mr. R Lim, I sincerely wish you good fortune in all of your professional ventures. Keep working hard and continue to stand up for what you do and what you believe.
Joseph K. Landsman October 18, 2012 at 05:58 PM
It's finally nice to see the Licensing Board do something constructive about Salem's reputation as a "watering hole" -- instead of handing out new or expanded liquor licenses.
Ed Carroll October 19, 2012 at 03:04 PM
Well...Well...Well good for the licensing Board it isn't what i would do but it is good for the small business owner and shows that the city will work with them to success. I would say to the board is to have a member on scene with the police,to see first hand what is going on. This is from a "knight of the keyboard"


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