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Lowell Club Loses License for 22 Days

July 7, 2018 GMT

LOWELL -- Revolution nightclub will be without a liquor license for 22 days next month, the penalty for police finding 22 minors in possession of alcohol there in February.

The Alcoholic Beverages Control Commission has suspended the club’s license for 74 days, of which 22 days will be served from Aug. 1 to 22. The other 52 days will be held in abeyance for two years, provided there are no more violations at the establishment.

A joint ABCC and Lowell Police Department sting on Feb. 2 discovered the nearly two dozen underage drinkers, ages 18 to 20. Many presented investigators with fake IDs or IDs that did not belong to them.

The bar, formerly the troubled Mill City Ballroom, was in front of the ABCC on June 5. An ABCC commissioner, Kathleen McNally, told owner Lauren DiSalvo during the hearing that 22 underage patrons was “pretty egregious.”

Another commissioner, Elizabeth Lashway, said the bar shouldn’t rely on scanners to check IDs. It should rely more on the human element, she said.

DiSalvo stressed that the bar has new procedures in place to prevent this in the future.

On Feb. 2, the ABCC also found a 19-year-old woman in possession of alcohol at Bar 74 -- also owned by DiSalvo in the same building on Merrimack Street. As a result of that, the commission has suspended Bar 74′s license for four days, of which one day will be served on Aug. 1. The other three days will be held in abeyance for two years.

Revolution and Bar 74 can appeal the decisions to Superior Court within 30 days. Travis Jacobs, an attorney who represents both Revolution and Bar 74, could not be immediately reached for comment on Monday.

During the June 5 hearing, ABCC investigator Dennis Keefe said the 22 minors were found at about 11:20 p.m. on Feb. 2. Investigators seized their fraudulent and imposter IDs, he said.

Keefe said Revolution’s staff members were checking IDs at the door, and conducting security pat-downs. The staff was cooperative throughout the night, he added.

DiSalvo, who took over Revolution in early 2017, said she had purchased an ID scanner for $850. Many of the fake IDs scanned as valid, according to her attorney, Jacobs.

On Feb. 2, she was celebrating her daughter’s fourth birthday in Disney World. The manager was home sick, and a new employee was working the door who didn’t know how to properly use the ID scanner, Jacobs said. That employee no longer works at Revolution because of the events that night.

Another employee apparently organized a party at Revolution with underage students from UMass Lowell, Jacobs said. That employee also no longer works there.

The owner has taken steps to rectify the problem, Jacobs said. The bar hired an outside security company, which has retrained staff on detecting fraudulent IDs. In addition, the bar hired off-duty and retired police officers for security.

The ABCC recommended a $3,500 scanner that does a better job at catching fake IDs.

Issues at the establishments go back years, to when the bars went by different names and were under different ownership.

Revolution was previously the Mill City Ballroom and Brian’s Ivy Hall. Bar 74 was previously Mill City Suds and Finn’s Pub. The License Commission sanctioned those bars for a wide range of incidents.

In May, the Lowell License Commission suspended Bar 74′s license for 10 days. The bar had failed to display a liquor license and failed to notify the city when a former manager allegedly quit his job.

More serious allegations that bar staff failed to notify and misled police about a wild March 4 fight that allegedly occurred in the bar were determined not to have been proven.

Earlier this year, the entertainment license of both bars was suspended for a day since a DJ kept playing music past 1:30 a.m.

Last summer, the hours of both establishments were temporarily cut back after a 19-year-old woman was found passed out in a bathroom at Bar 74.