Photo of Senator Looney.

Senate President Pro Tempore

Martin M. Looney

Representing New Haven, Hamden & North Haven

Looney, Paolillo Call on DCP to Close Troublesome New Haven Bar


NEW HAVEN – Today, Senate President Pro Tempore Martin M. Looney (D-New Haven), State Representative Juan Candelaria (D-New Haven), and State Representative Al Paolillo sent a letter to Department of Consumer Protection Commissioner Michelle Seagull asking for the department to not renew the liquor permit of Grand Café located at 124 East Pearl Street, New Haven.

Over the past several weeks and months the two elected officials have received numerous complaints regarding the Grand Café that range from excessive noise late at night, breach of peace outside the bar facility, drug dealings that occur in parking lot and inside as well as violence, including several recent shootings.

Community residents have staged daily sit-ins at the Grand Café Parking Lot to protest this behavior and apply pressure on the owners to end this behavior.

Senator Looney, Representative Candelaria, and Representative Paolillo submitted the letter in full support of these residents as well as the many Alders and the City of New Haven Police Department who are opposed to the renewal of this liquor permit.

The full letter is below.

October 1, 2021

Department of Consumer Protection
Liquor Control Division
450 Columbus Boulevard, Suite 901
Hartford, CT 06103

Commissioner Michelle H. Seagull:

Please accept this letter in strong opposition to the renewal of the Liquor Permit granted to the Grand Café located at 124 East Pearl Street, New Haven, which is up for review in November 2021.

Over the past several weeks and months our offices have received numerous complaints regarding the Grand Café that range from excessive noise late at night, breach of peace outside the bar facility, drug dealings that occur in parking lot and inside as well as violence, including several recent shootings.

These numerous ongoing problems have reached such a threshold that a large number of community residents have staged daily sit-ins at the Grand Café Parking Lot from 6 p.m. – p.m. every evening to protest this behavior and apply pressure on the owners to end this behavior. We submit this letter in full support of these residents as well as the many Alders and the City of New Haven Police Department who are opposed to the renewal of this liquor permit.

In addition to the shooting of a 32 year-old West Have man in the Grand Cafe parking lot the night of Sept. 7, as reported in the New Haven Independent from a September 15th article there have been 66 Reports on file by City of New Haven Police.

https://www.newhavenindependent.org/index.php/archives/entry/occupy_space_grand_cafe/

According to New Haven Police Department data tracking, police have reported over 464 calls and have made 104 arrests around the bar’s address. Those calls have been for breach of peace and disorderly conduct, domestic disputes, suspicious persons, and theft. The arrests included four for third-degree assault, five for breach of peace, four for criminal possession of a firearm, nine for possession of drugs, and eight for interfering with an officer.

In weeks prior to the September 7th shooting, the police made a gun arrest and several drug-related arrests in the Grand Café parking lot. A warrant has also been issued by a judge to conduct a raid due to the sale of drugs out of the bar that were discovered by undercover police officers.

Instead of this dangerous bar continuing to be a detriment to the health and safety of our city and neighborhood residents, we would like to instead be able to transform it into a vibrant and safe community space. This is also a space that it is in the direct vicinity of a neighborhood school in the Fair Haven School and FAME Academy. Having a bar with these violations near a school sends a very poor lifestyle message to our children and a poor message about our community. Please help us to restore this part of our community to being livable and safe; it all starts with the denial of the liquor permit for what should be many violations of the requirements of holding a state liquor permit.

We respectfully request that this permit renewal be denied and thank you for this opportunity to submit these written comments.

Sincerely,

Senate President Pro Tempore Martin M. Looney, 11th District
Deputy Speaker Juan Candelaria, 95th District
Deputy House Majority Leader Al Paolillo, 97th District


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