Porn News

Club’s Liquor License Revoked

NORTH PROVIDENCE — Councilmen took away the liquor license held by Barrels Restaurant this week after police detectives described their encounters with porn stars and masseuses at the establishment last month.

The 5-to-1 vote followed more than an hour of testimony and nearly another hour of lively debate between councilmen and Barrels’ owner, Jack O’Rourke. Councilman Raymond Douglas, who supports a 30-day revocation, was the lone no vote.

Town officials, including solicitor Mark Welch, argue that O’Rourke failed to operate his business under rules set forth in an agreement he reached with the town earlier this year.

That pact was administered by the state Department of Business Regulation and arranged after the state liquor control administrator, Jeffrey J. Greer, overturned the town’s first revocation of O’Rourke’s liquor license last year.

This time, officials say Barrels strayed from Greer’s stringent rules, and violated town zoning laws, by: hosting porn stars for entertainment purposes; using nightclub low-level lighting; selling liquor without cooking food in-house; offering massage services to customers.

O’Rourke argues that parking problems and years of excessive regulation forced him to take what he basically described as desperate measures.

“I’m choking to death up there,” he said. “Choking to death. I’m dead in the water.”

The evening began with two detectives describing what they saw and experienced at Barrels during two visits last month. This was after the restaurant advertised itself as a “Hot! Hot! Strip Joint!”

Clothed porn stars posed for pictures with customers for a fee, the detectives said.

Meanwhile, waitresses offered $10 backrubs. Employees reported that the kitchen was closed, said one of the detectives.

Last night, officials, including Councilman Paul Caranci, suggested that the town was willing to allow a restaurant in the Village at Fruit Hill, but O’Rourke insisted on trying to run a nightclub and often resorted to risque practices.

Officials blame O’Rourke’s parking problems on his arrangement with his landlord.

O’Rourke suggests that town officials harmed his business by giving Golds Gym special permission to set up shop in the same plaza.

The gym’s customers, he argues, take up all the parking spots.

“I have to do something totally against me, totally against my make up,” he said, “and I bring in porn stars.”

Caranci said O’Rourke’s business woes give him no excuse to violate zoning rules.

“When I don’t pay my mortgage,” he said, “I don’t decide to put a couple of slot machines in my living room and allow people to come in to pay slots. That would certainly pay the mortgage. But you can’t do that.”

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