Midway Café faces violations

Short on the heels of an incident with unauthorized fireworks on New Year’s Eve, the Midway Café at 3496 Washington St. is facing further possible disciplinary action after co-owner Jay Balerna was part of a fight outside its doors.

According to Officer Neva Cockley at JP’s District E-13 Police Station, a patron tried to bring beer into the bar on March 2, which is not allowed. After he was denied entry, there was a brief fight between the unidentified man and Balerna.

No court dates have yet been set. No one was arrested or charged. The incident also led to a license premise violation from the police for assault and battery, which will require Balerna’s appearance in front of the Licensing Board, he said.

The man was injured and was taken by ambulance to Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. Balerna drove himself to an emergency room in Quincy, where he resides.

“When we were escorting the guy to the door, he takes a swing at me and knocks me to the ground,” Balerna told the Gazette. “I’ve got a broken rib [from the landing].”

Balerna said that when the police arrived, the man claimed Balerna had attacked him.

Balerna added that he plans to file charges against the man to make sure the incident is included in his record. Balerna said he also plans to have the man permanently banned from the Midway.

“I’ve never had to do it before, but I guess you learn new things all the time,” he said. “It won’t stop me from opening my door every day to offer a safe place for people to enjoy live music.”

According to Balerna, the man said he would bring a beer in for Balerna to sample. Balerna tried to dissuade him, but the man left and returned with the beer before the Midway’s bouncer knew what was going on. Balerna said he then escorted the man outside, where the fight started.

The fight took place two months after an incident involving an unauthorized smoke bomb on New Year’s Eve.

“Some idiot lit off a small smoke bomb inside the club,” Balerna said. “As soon as we saw what was going on, we implemented our fire emergency plan,” which includes turning on all club lights and cutting power to the stage, he explained.

“This was absolutely not something sanctioned by the club,” Balerna added.

By the time club management had determined what was going on, the club’s fire alarm system had already alerted the fire and police departments, which led to a citation for the Midway. It is unclear what the citation was for.

“By the time they showed up, everyone was out of the club,” Balerna said. “The police didn’t witness anything, but they had to write us up.”

The Midway appeared before the City’s Consumer Affairs and Licensing Board on Feb. 13 and appeared before the Licensing Board the first week of this month. No decision has yet been handed down, Balerna said.

“I was happy with how my staff reacted,” he said. “Moving forward, on any holiday that would invite fireworks, we’ll have to implement new policies to guard against some idiot ruining it for everyone.”

“We take this very seriously,” he said.

A Gazette request for comment from the city boards was not answered.

“We’re not a problematic bar, but now two things have happened [in a short period of time], even after 25 years. I guess when it rains, it pours,” Balerna said.

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