The unwelcomed bars along Morris Park Avenue have community members in an uproar as this past weekend resulted in disturbing violence for the area.
On Saturday, November 8, at 3 a.m., two victims were brutally stabbed outside the MP Pub after leaving the bar, located at 702 Morris Park Avenue.
The pub was in operation after their liquor license was reinstated on Friday, November 7 by the State Liquor Authority.
Judge Kenneth L. Thompson went against the SLA’s recommendation, and temporarily reinstated the license on Friday afternoon, allowing the bar to reopen that evening.
“The SLA does not recommend closure easily and it should send up a red flag to the judicial system when they do,” said Councilman James Vacca. “It’s very disheartening. We seem to take one step forward and two steps backwards, but it’s not going to weaken our resolve.”
Sources say the two victims stabbed outside MP Pub are refusing to cooperate with police and release any information regarding the incident.
“This has got to stop, elected officials are working on it, the police are working on it, and the Morris Park Community Association is working on it,” said Al D’Angelo, president of the MPCA. “Any business conducive to the neighborhood we welcome, but we can’t have peoples’ safety in jeopardy because some guy wants to make a buck.”
Police issued MP Pub five summonses on Saturday, November 8, that include failure to post an exit sign at the door, failure to control crowd, unsealed bottles of liquor, failure to provide security for patrons, and obstructed view into bar.
“There is really no way around it at this point, the place should just close up because we can’t tolerate this,” said John Fratta, district manager of Community Board 11. “As much as the owner wants to say he’s not responsible for what happens outside his bar, in this case he clearly is.”
In an unrelated incident, the owner of M.P. Pub, Vate Vataj, was arrested over the weekend after an outstanding warrant surfaced.
A court date for MP Pub is scheduled for Monday, November 24, but Vacca hopes to push the date up in light of the recent occurrences.
“I told the SLA everything, and my doing so is to hopefully give them the ammunition needed to go and reopen the case before the 24th,” said Vacca. “I don’t want this place staying open one day extra, and the thought of it remaining open for the holidays is an unpleasant one.”
Sources also report that around 3:30 a.m., immediately following the stabbings, a patron believed to have been at MP Pub tried to gain access to Café Déjà vu, located at 778 Morris Park Avenue, just a few blocks away. While doing so an altercation erupted allegedly resulting in the patron being roughed up by the lounge’s bouncer.
“This end of Morris Park is in an uproar, residents want these two places closed,” said Joe Bombace, member of CB 11. “One incident causes another incident and it’s pathetic. The people of Morris Park feel like they are being held hostage.”