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Not quite Paradise

Posted by Katie Johnston Chase June 19, 2007 10:35 AM

We were recently forwarded this e-mail from Kristen, an artist who lives in the Fort Point area, about her experience at the Paradise Lounge. According to Kristen, she and her friends were each charged a $7 cover at 10:40 p.m., even though, unbeknownst to them, the place was closing at 11. Needless to say, she wasn't happy.

Here is her note, lightly edited:

"I am not one to bad-mouth an establishment – especially out loud. But I cannot let this one lay quietly. On Monday night, June 4, I went out with three friends (one visiting from Sweden) to check out some local music. We first hit Toad in Porter Square and had a wonderful time. The music and the ambience were stellar. But we decided to leave as the place filled up and check out some other music for our Swedish cohort.

We drove around a bit and decided that the Paradise Lounge, on Commonwealth Ave., seemed like a great way to absorb the late-night Boston scene. We entered the vestibule of the lounge at 10:40 p.m. to listen for a moment (as we did not know anything really about the bands playing that night) and decided to pay the $7 cover to go in. Now, my first reaction to a $7 cover on a Monday night is to completely turn around and go somewhere else. But this night it
seemed like a fun idea. We each paid the overpriced cover and entered the lounge. We waited at the bar (which was relatively dead) for a bit and then ordered beers. We sat and listened to the music, which was a band of young, baseball-hat-wearing frat boys rocking out to cover songs.

OK, bad move on our part. We should have listened more carefully at the door, but still, it was 10:45 and we hoped that the next band, the headliner, would have to be at least a little better. At 10:50, the band finished and the lights came on. Hmmmm. Weird. We waited a minute or two and asked the bartender if/when the other band was coming on. She said simply, “No. That’s it.” She then informed us that the Paradise Lounge is now an 18+ establishment and that they close at 11. I asked her why this was not posted anywhere and why we were charged a full cover 10 minutes before the (awful) band finished for the evening. She directed me to the door people.

Of course I can’t let this one go, plus the beer on tap stinks. So I calmly walk out to the door guy to ask the same question. He claims that he cannot return our money and that we should have known better. I start to push up my sleeves ready for a fight (this guy is at least 2 feet taller than me – but I was mad) and he walked me over to the bar, pulled out his wallet and offered to buy us a round of drinks. Sweet, right? No. I don’t want him to pay out of his pocket and I also don’t want another beer. I want my cover money back and I want to hear decent music.

So I asked to speak with the manager. I should have known then, when the door guy warned me that the manager would not do anything, that the manager actually would not do anything. He took his time coming over to us and then asked what the problem was. I simply stated that I was upset that we paid a $7 cover to come in to hear three cover songs and then be asked to finish up our drinks and leave. He said he was sorry but that’s the way it is. I (now irate) tell him that I’ve worked in the nightclub establishment for many years and would never treat people like this. He retorts with the fact that he’s been in the business longer than me and that’s the way it is.

I say, “This is ridiculous!!” The manager motions to the door and coldly says, “Then leave.” I wanted to say, “Duh, you’re closing anyway.” But instead we leave, and I warn the place loudly as we are walking out that I’m going to write a letter! So here it is. OK, it doesn’t sound that outrageous now and writing a letter is completely silly, but we were treated poorly and he was a jerk.

We should have stayed at Toad."

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contributors
Katie Johnston Chase likes dive bars, old country music, and pop art that has something to say.
Meredith Goldstein is keen on DJs who spin pop music and restaurants that serve real food after 11 p.m.
Emily Sweeney is a lifelong Bostonian who goes out all over, from Irish pubs in Southie to the roller rink in Dorchester.
Jeff Miranda has never heard a '90s alternative-rock jam that's not already a mainstay on his iPod.
Joan Charlotte Matelli digs movie singalongs, well-made cocktails, and alt-country rockers.
Courtney Hollands is a shopaholic and a music junkie with a penchant for tapas, chai, and Hall & Oates dance parties.
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