Police

Having a Holiday Party with an Open Bar? Better Hope The Cops Don't Shut It Down.

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stolethetv / Foter.com / CC BY

It's the most wonderful time of the year: when we all gather together at company parties to wear ugly sweaters, eat some cheese cubes, have a few drinks with that girl from HR … and get shut down by the cops. At least, that's what happened at one event in Boston last Friday.

One week ago, member's of the city's technology sector came together for the fourth annual Tech Co-Party, the purpose of which was to throw "an office holiday party for tech start-ups too small to have their own." It was an open invitation, and party-goers paid up to $50 to join the fun. Part of the profits went to charity.

Unfortunately, the event was cut a few hours short. The Institute for Justice (IJ) reports that "a little after midnight on December 13th, Boston police crashed the party and shut down the bar. Officers issued a citation to the Revere Hotel, which hosted the Tech Co-Party, for allegedly breaking the law."

One of the participating organizations, Calcbench, took to Twitter to explain what happened. "We were told the liquor commision accused the organizers of trying to turn a proft [sic]. I guess open bar is not allowed for that," they wrote.

Event organizer Ben Carcio said, "From what Boston Police said to us the night of the event, they watch EventBrite, where we sold the tickets, and they look for 'Open Bar,' which is their concern. They view it as unlimited drinking for a ticketed price."

Massachusetts liquor laws prohibit selling "to any person or group of persons any drinks at a price less than the price regularly charged for such drinks during the same calendar week, except at private functions not open to the public." If the party wasn't doomed already, "advertis[ing] or promot[ing] in any way" open bars is also part of law – which the Tech Co-Party broke by encouraging  party-goers to promote it on social media.

Carcio was unaware of the law, which hasn't been invoked to stop the Tech Co-Party in past years. He was perplexed as to why the police didn't "just let us know [open bar was not allowed]," he explained to Boston magazine. "That one little thing would have prevented any of this being more than it needed to be." He also stated that in order to guarantee "no hard feelings" between them, $500 raised by the Tech Co-Party was donated to the Boston Police Department.

City councilor Tito Jackson said he was aware that "police look at Facebook and Eventbrite as part of the monitoring they have [in place]." He agreed with Carcio that if police "have information prior to an event, we should either be picking up the phone, visiting the bar, or having a conversation and reminding people of the laws or rules and regulations, rather than show up the night of the event and shut it down."

A string of similar busts happened last New Year's in Boston, and police presumably will continue to catch harmless holiday parties off-guard unless legislators decides to reform the law.

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  1. I am reminded of the scene in Donnie Brasco when someone forgot to grease the correct palms on opening night of the new bar in Florida.

  2. He also stated that in order to guarantee “no hard feelings” between them, $500 raised by the Tech Co-Party was donated to the Boston Police Department.

    —-

    What a bunch of pathetic sycophants.

    1. That’s just old fashioned bootlicking

      1. Don’t blame the victim. If Tony Soprano had showed up instead of the Boston PD, this would be called “racketeering”.

        1. Yup. It’ not so much bootlicking as “protection” money.

          1. Hey you don’t get tax exemptions for donations to Tony Soprano so it’s totally different. Tony Soprano doesn’t care if you already got shaken down by Pauly Walnuts, he wants what he wants ontop of that.

            Whereas our benevolent government overlords allow you to deduct previous shakedowns from different levels of their racketeering organization. So totally different…oh wait.

    2. Exactly. If they think $500 is enough to buy off the Boston PD, they’ve got another think coming. If they don’t want to be hassled again, they better add a zero.

      1. That was their last mistake. Never show weakness to a predator.

        Now the cops know they can come in a shake them down for even more. “We’re still feeling kinda bad!”

    3. WTF is wrong with having hard feelings when your peaceful assembly is busted up by the cops?

      I’d have more respect for them if they’d ass-penny’d the check before they gave it to them.

        1. Me too. Were they on right before or right after Strangers With Candy?

          Time to play some THUNDERBALL!!!

          1. Late 90s/ early aughts was the golden age for Comedy Central.

            1. Did you ever catch Exit 57? It was all the people behind Strangers With Candy, including Colbert, Amy Sedaris, Paul DiNello, and Mitch Rouse, but was a sketch show instead. Not bad, but they really knocked it out of the park with SWC.

              1. I missed out on that one. I started watching Comedy Central around ’97 (my freshmen year of high school) when my parents got satellite.

            1. Yeah, they are both MADTV alums and are quite funny (especially since a two-man skit show is fucking tough to pull off).

              1. Both are really good with accents, and the one in the skit has a astoundingly amorphous face. He pulled off playing Miami Vice era Don Johnson. It was minutes into it before I realized they didn’t bring in a third actor.

                1. Oh, man. The one I should have went with given the relevance here:

                  Key & Peele: Obama – The College Years

                  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vlxkcewBEe0

                  1. ‘It’s important we have diversity, in the pussy department.’

        2. I almost forgot about Upright Citizens Brigade. I loved the episode with the house that came with the hot chicks room and the bucket of truth.

          1. The very first episode. It also includes Captain Lunatic and Bong Boy.

            “Come on baby Jesus, I’ll fight you right now!”

    4. Sounds like they were victims of an armed robbery.

  3. $500 raised by the Tech Co-Party was donated to the Boston Police Department.

    Well now they can arrest them for soliciting prostitution, since they clearly paid to get fucked in the ass.

  4. Next year the Boston Police Department suggests they just shelter in place.

  5. “We were told the liquor commision accused the organizers of trying to turn a proft [sic]. ”

    A profit?!?!?

    ** faints **

  6. our goal was to show that Boston is a fun place to raise a startup, but the city wanted to prove otherwise.

    1. You want to go where people know,
      People are all paying the price regularly charged for such drinks during the same calendar week;
      You want to go where Boston police don’t shut down the bar.

  7. Let’s see. The cops could have talked to these guys ahead of time and settled this, but instead they chose to break up a harmless party after midnight and throw their weight around. Anyone think that was a coincidence?

    1. I’m only confused by the seemingly nonexistent number of people who were actually kidnapped and assaulted over this. I mean, it was after midnight on a Friday–surely the judge had gone home and it was the perfect time to haul some people to jail, right?

      1. Nah, then they have to go down to the clink and do paperwork and shit. Intimidation with no extra work is probably what they were looking for.

      2. They got their $500 “donation”. Why do actual work?

  8. He was perplexed as to why the police didn’t “just let us know [open bar was not allowed],” he explained to Boston magazine. “That one little thing would have prevented any of this being more than it needed to be.” He also stated that in order to guarantee “no hard feelings” between them, $500 raised by the Tech Co-Party was donated to the Boston Police Department.

    Sucker.

  9. “to any person or group of persons any drinks at a price less than the price regularly charged for such drinks during the same calendar week, except at private functions not open to the public.”

    Next year they need to put on all their promotion : “This is a private party reserved for only those all who don’t work for any government or act as an agent of any law enforcement organization.”

  10. How can you have drink specials if the cost of the drink has to be the same as everywhere else that week?

    1. You can’t. I believe that this law was passed to eliminate Happy Hour and Ladies’ Night promotions, as a way of crushing competition. Nice, isn’t it?

      1. Well, it was For the Children, no doubt.

      2. God, what a shithole.

      3. Epi is right; I remember when it passed. Assholes.

        I live near the NH border. Two restaurants in the same chain (Burton’s Grill) 15 miles apart (Westford MA and Nashua NH). One has $5 martinis on Thursdays. One doesn’t. Big difference in attendance.

      4. Yep – I think NY and a few other liberal states have laws against bartender “buys” as well.

        You know – where because you’re a consistent client, every now and again you order your next drink and the bartender says “that’s on me”.

        I’m pretty sure that’s illegal in more than one state for this same stupid reason.

    2. There are no happy hours in Mass.

      1. Except during football season, amirite?

        1. Tailgates?

          1. Bingo. How was Miami? I mean the women, not the game. Obviously.

            1. We didn’t see any single women the whole time we were there. Every single one was with a guy. It was bizarre. I was also pretty ambivalent of the quality.

              Perhaps we should start our own happy hour right now. I’ve got scotch about 2 feet away from me.

    3. Pretty much the only redeeming feature of Mass at this point is that you can’t get arrested for having some weed on you.

      1. …you can’t get arrested for having some weed on you and not doing anything else that they can think of after a long hard search.

        FTFY.

  11. We can’t have a party in here without alt-text.

  12. Once again, the big, glaring open question: Who turned them in?

      1. That’s dash clever of them! Only problem: Law Enforcement isn’t smart enough for that. So try again.

        1. They said in the article that they search Facebook for events with open bars.

          1. Facebook, I knew it.

  13. He also stated that in order to guarantee “no hard feelings” between them, $500 raised by the Tech Co-Party was donated to the Boston Police Department.

    This is making me see fucking red. I’m so angry at these lappers of jackboots I could fucking puke in my pants.

    They should have shown some (punched) nutz and sent a grand to Radley Balko.

  14. “We were told the liquor commision accused the organizers of trying to turn a proft [sic].

    . . . they look for ‘Open Bar,’ which is their concern. They view it as unlimited drinking for a ticketed price.

    Apparently the liquor commission doesn’t know how profit works.

  15. I hope that some day I’ll read a similar account that ends: “Several of the guests pulled out firearms and ordered the cops to BACK OFF or face the consequences. The police left.” Alternate ending: “The police refused to leave and began to draw their own weapons, at which point they were shot. The party then continued.”

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