Pub may be sprinkler-free


SOUTH ST—The James’s Gate Restaurant and Pub at 5 McBride St. may be exempt from a law requiring sprinkler systems in some bars, nightclubs and similar venues.

The Fire Safety Act of 2004 required many venues with an occupancy of 100 people or more to install sprinklers by Nov. 15.

The Boston Globe, citing Boston Fire Department (BFD) documents, reported at that time that James’s Gate got an extension to install sprinklers later. But a few days later, the Globe reported that James’s Gate avoided the requirement by changing from one overall occupancy permit to two separate permits—each under 100 people—for its bar and restaurant sides. The Globe did not explain the contradiction.

James’s Gate owner Paulie Byrne has repeatedly declined to comment to the Gazette. Instead, he referred the Gazette to the later Globe report, apparently implying it is accurate.

BFD has not responded to repeated Gazette requests to clarify the James’s Gate situation or to provide a list of venues affected by the law.

The sprinkler law was passed after 100 people died in an infamous 2003 Rhode Island fire in a nightclub that lacked sprinklers, among other fire safety problems.

The local Milky Way Lounge & Lanes nightclub and bowling alley was briefly shut down by the BFD last month for missing the sprinkler deadline. The Milky Way will soon install sprinklers.

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