Downtown Boston nightclub closed, cited for overcrowding, serving alcohol to minors

Boston’s Splash Ultra Lounge was forced to close and cited for overcrowding and serving alcohol to minors after an inspection sparked by a father’s complaint that his daughter had run up a $2,800 credit card bill there during a bash where underage Boston University students were being served.

Boston police inspected the Kneeland Street club Saturday after receiving the complaint from the father, who told them that his daughter had attended a recent Saturday afternoon event there in which nightclub staff allegedly offered unlimited bottle service to the underage students.

The man said his daughter had racked up the hefty bill at the “Saturday Afternoon Recess Party,” which the club holds on Saturdays from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m., police said.

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Arriving this Saturday, officers saw numerous people lined up outside the club waiting for entry and noted that many of them appeared to be under the age of 21, police said.

The doorman told police his count was 247 people in the first-floor area of the club. The roof deck and second floor were closed during the event.

Officers entered the club and saw the first-floor area was crowded and emergency egress aisles were blocked, police said.

Police conducted a head count and tallied 302 patrons and employees in the first-floor area, said Nicole Murati Ferrer, chairwoman of the city’s Licensing Board.

According to the venue’s fire department assembly permit, and its inspectional services department certificate of occupancy, the capacity of the first-floor area is 210 people, Murati Ferrer said.

When entertainment is taking place, as it was at Saturday’s event, the capacity is 200, police said.

Police called District Fire Chief Scott Malone to the scene.

Malone found management to be in violation of fire codes and ordered the venue shut down, Murati Ferrer said.

“Basically, when a place is over capacity and the fire chief deems it is a safety issue, they can shut the place down,” she said.

Fire officials ordered that the premises remain closed until Splash management submits plans to officials on how they will correct overcrowding, police said.

Officers asked a clubgoer who was holding a Heineken bottle for proof of age. The man gave police his Brazilian ID, which showed him to be 19 years old, police said.

Officers asked another clubgoer for proof of age and the male gave police a fake Venezuelan driver’s license, police said. The male later gave his real Florida driver’s license, which showed him to be under the age of 21.

Police ejected both males from the club and filed criminal complaint applications in Boston Municipal Court.

Splash management was cited for serving alcohol to persons under 21, failure to check ID properly, overcrowding in excess of licensed capacity, and blocked emergency egress aisles, police said.

Splash has been cited several times in the recent past for overcrowding, serving to minors or both.

Most recently, it was cited for overcrowding on Aug. 9, police said. In a July hearing, the Licensing Board handed Splash management a three-day suspension for serving alcohol to minors. In a March hearing, the management also received a two-day suspension for overcrowding. And a March 2011 hearing led to a two-day suspension because of overcrowding and alcohol service to minors, Murati Ferrer said.

A woman who answered the phone at the home of Splash owner Frank Depasquale said he did not wish to comment. General manager of the club Amalia Korom could not be reached for comment.

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