The Muse, the popular Surfside Road bar and nightclub, was sanctioned Monday by the Select Board for what the town described as a “pattern of behavior” including a brawl and allegations of underage drinking at the establishment over the summer.
In a rare disciplinary hearing, the Select Board voted 3-0 to suspend The Muse’s liquor license for one day, and hold an additional five-day suspension in abeyance that will be handed down if there are any future violations over the next year.
The one-day suspension will be imposed on Tuesday, July 9, 2024, exactly one year after the brawl which led to today's hearing.
Last month, charges were filed against two bouncers at The Muse following for their actions during that late-night brawl outside the bar between the security team and patrons that occurred back in July. The fight, along with another incident in July in which police responded to The Muse for a "report of abundant underage drinking, to include kids as young as 15 years old inside," were specifically cited in town licensing administrator Amy Baxter’s report to the Select Board.
During Monday’s hearing, The Muse's attorney Jim Merberg disclosed that the two bouncers charged in the July brawl had been fired.
The redacted police reports from both incidents were included in Baxter’s report to the Select Board.
“It was showing a pattern of what we were dealing with this summer,” Baxter said during the hearing. “We’ve gotten a lot of feedback in the community from people wanting to see something happen here because of these activities. I’m afraid if there’s smoke, there’s fire.”
Baxter emphasized that The Muse’s owner, Michael O’Reilly, had been cooperative and proactive in addressing the issues since they were called out by the town over the summer.
Merberg described the brawl incident to the Select Board from The Muse’s perspective, sharing that it began inside the bar as a dispute between a group of Hispanic men and a group of men from the Eastern European country of Georgia. As they were trained to do, bouncers evicted one group out the back door, and the other group out the front door, Merberg said, but they reconvened in front of The Muse where the dispute continued.
While acknowledging that that the bouncers should have called Nantucket police, Merberg also emphasized that he expected the patrons would also be charged criminally as a result of the melee.
“The Muse is not interested in fostering any kind of hostile environment,” Merberg said, requesting that the Select Board not impose any suspension.
“The Muse has a niche business: it caters to Spanish and other minorities,” Merberg continued. “There aren't many places where these minorities feel comfortable and at home..It’s an unpleasant event, and in terms of management, everything that can be done, will be done, and we’ll take any recommendations the Select Board feels are appropriate.”