Jun 192012
 

T.J Quills

The new owner of TJ Quills hopes to change the image of the Maple Street college bar by ending underage drinking there, and was given a month to make contact with a neighborhood group and begin paying toward nightly security patrols, based on a decision by city officials Tuesday afternoon.

Darian Blanchard said he bought TJ Quills on April 1, but was never informed of the strict conditions the previous owner reached with the city to resolve allegations of underage drinking stemming from a police raid earlier last year. One of those conditions was that TJ Quills pay $250 per week — together with Rocco’s, under a similar agreement — to Maple Area Residents Inc. toward hiring a security patrol around the street, and it was this condition that the bar was accused of violating before the city Alcohol Beverage Control board in a Tuesday afternoon hearing.

Blanchard’s attorney, Peter Title, told the board that he only learned of the consent agreement about a week ago, and immediately got in touch with MARI president Thomas Milliner to express a willingness to cooperate.

“We just found out about this a few days ago,” Title said. “As soon as we get that information as to how much we owe, whatever it is we owe, we’ll send a check to MARI.”

Alcohol board chair Rodney Seydel said that he remains concerned about the other provisions in the consent agreement, which include restrictions on noise and litter, identifying a contact person that neighbors can reach whenever the bar is open for any immediate problems, and that the bar send a representative to quarterly MARI meetings to discuss general problems. A month, Seydel suggested, would be adequate time to determine whether the bar is complying, and city attorney Nolan Lambert agreed that a decision could be postponed until then.

After the meeting, Blanchard said he doesn’t think complying with the provisions will be a problem.

“I think they’re reasonable,” Blanchard said. “I agree with pretty much all of them.”

Blanchard said he plans to keep the TJ Quills name on the bar, but he hopes to add a kitchen area that will attract an older crowd, particularly during happy hour. He also hopes to change the hours, to close earlier at night. While he will continue allowing 18-year-olds into the bar, he said he plans to buy electronic scanners that detect fake IDs, giving people over 21 wristbands and strictly enforcing a policy that only allows them to drink.

“I’m definitely trying to change everyone’s look on the bar,” Blanchard said.

TJ Quills’ previous attorney could not immediately be reached for comment Tuesday afternoon.

In a separate item, the alcohol board met in a closed-door session with the city attorney over a pending lawsuit against Phillips Bar, also on Maple Street. The bar has appealed a judgment against them issued by Civil District Court, and until the appeal is resolved, the Phillips item will be taken off the alcohol board’s monthly docket, board members decided after returning from the briefing with the attorney.

To read our live coverage of the meeting, see the box below.

  • dan

    Finally, some positive news on Maple street.

  • Yakko72

    I am a member of MARI and they do not have a website and do not seem to have quarterly meetings. I think it is a total shame that these bars have to pay a homeowners ass. for something they have not done yet.

    • I belong to a Home Owners Association and we have two meetings a year (mainly from lack of participation in the subdivision, the only time our meetings are full is when people are their to complain), while I can understand their concern for their neighborhood. I think the bar owners should be able to see the invoices for the security they are paying for, one must wonder if like you said they have no website or regular meetings as they say how are the bar owners to know if they are NOT being overcharged for security services. Why can’t the bar owners supply these services themselves and be held accountable to the city if they are not.

  • Scottyp

    They have a website. It was updated about 2 years ago. They should just update through uptownmessenger. Because they love sending comments through this website.