The Rockin’ Times bar on Waterman Avenue can now play music until 12:30 am – a situation that has been going in for many years there anyway.
The East Providence City Council removed on Tuesday night a stipulation on the bar’s entertainment license to cut off music at 11:30 pm – the only tavern in that part of the city with that restriction, according to the bar’s attorney, Robert Brady.
The bar’s owner, Phil Rigi, apparently was unaware of the 11:30 pm restriction and was playing music until the later time since he purchased the bar about 15 years ago. He learned of the restriction, said Brady, a month or so ago when the bar was asked to appear at a “show-cause” hearing on its liquor license that was put off.
“He wants to continue as he has been doing business,” said Brady. “He didn’t realize he had to shut down the music at that time. We ask to have the stipulation removed.”
Brady said the bar has never been cited by the police or received complaints from neighbors about loud music.
Several neighbors who live across the street from the bar at 475 Waterman Ave., however, testified against removing the stipulation, primarily because of loud music.
Pedro Rojas said he personally has called the police at least three times a month about music playing way past midnight or loud people, arguments and fights.
"The place is almost out of control at times," he said.
Lori Shane, who lives in an apartment in the same building as Rojas, said: “It’s very disturbing when the bar closes. I agree with Pedro.”
East Providence Police Chief Joseph Tavares said police records indicate that officers responded to the bar 38 times in 2012, but only 18 times for complaints about loud music or disturbances, including assaults, medical runs or dispersal of people. In 2011, he said, there 20 police responses, about half of which were for loud music or disturbances.
Tavares said he has not done a comparison with other bars in that area of the city. But he described those figures for Rockin' Times as “not problematic.” Responses by patrol officers once or twice a month are considered “reasonable,” he said.
“My client has never been cited by the police,” said Brady after testimony from the neighbors. Rigi said he has never received a complaint himself from neighbors -- even the people across the street.
Rigi said the bar operates from 6 pm to 1 am. The bar’s music is mostly karaoke, he said, not DJs or live bands. He said his staff monitors the sound and he is willing to lower the volume if necessary.
“I have someone at the door at closing to helps disperse patrons,” he added.
City Councilor Tracy Capobianco made the motion to remove the stipulation. City Councilor Chrissy Rossi seconded her motion. The council voted 5-0 to remove the restriction.