City board vows to shut Uphams Corner bar

The Boston Licensing Board said today it will seek to shut Cataloni's, 10 Hancock St., after police described a Nov. 28 incident in which a woman was arrested inside the bar on charges of selling cocaine to bar patrons.

This was only the latest in a series of cocaine-related arrests at the bar - police records show coke-related arrests on June 24 and June 9 - and board Chairman Daniel Pokaski said he'd had enough. Pokaski said he would vote at a Thursday meeting to revoke the bar's license immediately.

"This is a drug bazaar out of control," Pokaski said. "Public safety demands it to be closed immediately. This place has gone beyond the pale."

Board member Michael Connolly said he agreed the bar should be shut but indicated he would vote to let its owners try to sell the license first. The third member, Suzanne Ianella, had no comment on the bar.

Boston Police Lt. Eric Eversley said that on the night of Nov. 28, officers arrived on Hancock Street to monitor the bar because of neighborhood complaints about possible drug dealing.

Within three minutes, he said, a car stopped at Hancock and Jerome, a man got out, entered the bar and, two minutes later, ran back to the car. Officers followed the car for awhile, then stopped it. The man was arrested and spat out two plastic bags containing a white powder believed to be cocaine. Eversley said the man agreed to point out his seller to police at the bar and that this was not the first time he'd bought coke from her there; that she sold it from a stash hidden under a bar stool.

Eversley said that back at the bar, the man pointed out the woman and she was arrested. Officers turned over several bar stools and, taped to the bottom of one, found a plastic bag containing 28 smaller bags containing white powder. Eversley acknowledged the powder, in police custody, has yet to be tested for confirmation that it is cocaine. A couple of other patrons were found to be in possession of similar white powder and were also arrested.

Bartender Noreen Clancy told the bar she was familiar with the woman because she had been barrred from an Inman Square bar at which she'd worked because of her arrest on drug charges in South Boston - and that the woman was also barred from Cataloni's. But Clancy said she agreed to let the woman in when she claimed she needed to use the bathroom.

"I didn't want to have a big argument," she told the board. "I figured it was easier to just let her go pee and let her leave." Clancy estimated police arrived 20 to 30 minutes after the woman went into the lady's room.

Pokaski would not even let attorneys for the bar attempt to make a case today. "Your client doesn't doesn't seem to think that drug dealing on a regular basis in a licensed premise is bad as long as they buy a drink," he told them.