WORCESTER – Mambo Drink, a Water St. nightclub with a history of incidents and liquor license violations, has been placed on six-month probation by the Worcester License Commission.
The probation calls for Mambo Drink to be closed on the weekend of Dec. 2 and 3, and to shut down business at 1 AM instead of 2 AM from Thursday to Sunday over the six-month period that began in early November.
At the most recent license commission hearing on Oct. 26, representatives of Mambo Drink were there to respond to a police report from Sept. 17, 2017, that described an incident that occurred inside Mambo Drink.
A 19-year-old female was involved in a large fight inside Mambo Drink that escalated and spilled outside of the nightclub.
Due to previous violations, Mambo Drink had already been handed a license restriction to be a 21-plus club, following an incident from last August. According to the statement from the 19-year-old, she presented her identification at the door and was allowed entry to the club.
On the night in question, according to the WPD, there was no police detail due to lack of WPD manpower.
When asked to explain the situation that occurred at Mambo Drink, general manager Jonathan Pena said, “Like the last tim, we did everything we could. The police and security guards removed everyone from the premises. Everything was perfectly fine inside.”
“I’ve only seen one altercation inside and everything else has always happened outside. We always say we can’t do anything that goes on outside in the street in Worcester,” Pena added.
In response, Lt. James Johnson of the Worcester Police Department argued that most of the problems the city has on Water St. happen between 1 and 2 AM.
“I’m not saying Mambo is the only problem child we have down there. I’m not saying that at all. What I am saying is that a lot of the fights that do happen down there, happen in front of that location as a result of coming out of [Mambo] and as a result of some of the things occurring inside,” Johnson said. “[Pena] may be right that he hasn’t seen many fights inside the bar, but there are fights directly in front of that location and are a direct result from what’s happening inside.”
Several attempts by the WPD to obtain video surveillance of that night were unfulfilled with Mambo Drink. Pena denied having any knowledge of being told by the WPD that there was a minor in the nightclub that night, but the WPD responded that they notified Mambo several times of the violation before Pena received the violation in the mail.
Mambo is open evenings from Wednesday to Sunday. Since Dec. 2014, Mambo has had four violations of mismanagement.
License Commission member Walter Shea asked Pena if they had issues with their manager. Pena said he was the manager and had been for two months.
When Shea asked Pena what kind of management experience he had, Pena said he didn’t have any nightclub management experience, but had been a manager at a supermarket.
In May 2017, a large fight broke out in front of Mambo Drink that resulted in the physical assault of WPD officers and three arrests. In Aug. 2016, several people were injured and two were arrested following a large fight at the same location between local gang members and Mambo Drink customers. As noted before, this incident forced the license commission to require Mambo Drink to be 21 plus, have a police officer on site while open, two police officers for special events, and submit a list of upcoming events each month.
Representatives from Mambo Drink will return to the license commission this spring after the six month probation period is up and the commission will decide how to move forward, barring any other incidents at the nightclub.