Some Hoboken bar owners angry over new task force, likely regulation changes


One day after Hoboken Mayor Ravi Bhalla introduced a Public Safety Task Force to hinder unruly bar crawls such as SantaCon and LepreCon, multiple bar owners showed up at last night’s council meeting to express their frustrations over the pending changes. 


Although the council pulled ordinance that would add new rules and regulations to those who own liquor licenses, bar owners still had an opportunity to air their grievances during the public portion of the meeting.

Aidan Boyle, the owner of McSwiggans Pub, said he wished the city had first approached bar owners before introducing the new safety measures.

“I want to work together with the City Council and the new mayor, but if we’re excluded and you just throw a quick resolution or ordinance together, we feel like outcasts,” said Boyle.

Interestingly, after Boyle finished his remarks, new Council President Ruben Ramos told Boyle that the council was not involved in creating the task force or the crowd control ordinance – both measures were created by the mayor.

Additionally, Ramos stressed there is a need to address the unruly bar crawls that have marred the city’s streets with fights and property damage.

“There were issues at the last SantaCon and we need to see improvements. We want to work collaboratively to find the right solution for all parties involved,” said Ramos.

Texas Arizona Bar owner Mike Ciriello, in addition to expressing frustration over the Public Safety Task Force, said bar owners are already being fined by the zoning office for placing double-sided A-Frame signs on the sidewalk.

“As much as you guys think that we do a lot of bad things in this town, we actually do a lot of good things. For example, when the [NJ Transit] train crashed into [Hoboken Terminal] I opened up my establishment for everybody,” said Ciriello.

Councilman At-Large James Doyle, who chairs the Council’s Public Safety Committee, said he was open to a meeting with bar owners to hear their complaints, but still seemed eager to move the pulled ordinance forward.

“We would entertain a meeting with bar owners to air their concerns, but I don’t know if we see this as a negotiation. I do have a lot to learn from the bar owners and we would like to work with you, but we also would like to do this expeditiously,” said Doyle.

Specifically, the pulled ordinance addressed security regulations and crowd control, mandating how many people must work the door and how many security persons are required for a bar to remain open.

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  1. When Hoboken Mayor Bhallal first announced the task force it was said that the first step was to have the City figure out where the problems were and what was their possible options for solutions . By law the task force had to be made up of those already part of City government.

    After that was done the representatives from bar owners, other businesses and the public would be added to the group. Not sure why the bar owners were not aware or understand that public information before they spoke.

    Also last night the Police Chief expressed his opinion that only four of the bars in Hoboken were causing most of the problems. The one or in this case four bad apples can spoil the entire barrel.

  2. Well Big Brother government has spoken. There is no reason to hear the plebes. Issue the orders!

    Tone deaf right out of the gate. More bouncers is just dumb. Enforce the limitations on occupancy and move on. Shut down a few places at these stupid events and self-regulation will solve itself. Problem solved.

    • Wednesday, January 24, 8pm in City Council Chambers.

      The City Council Public Safety Committee will have an open meeting to ‘to identify solutions to the quality of life concerns resulting from intoxicated patrons, particularly during large scale events,without negatively impacting responsible businesses.’

      If the long suffering public, responsible business owners, bar owners including the ‘bad” Con men bar keeps can’t figure something out the City should do everything in their power to shut the whole thing down.

  3. I have no problem with re-examining the rules but the legislation proposed and tabled seemed to be written by someone who did not consult the hospitality industry. The security requirements seemed onerous for those who do not participate in Santa-con. I have worked security for special events before and most uptown bars that do not participate in Santa-con do not need extra security mandated in first draft of ordinance.

    • The problem s caused by all the Cons is that the generate security problems that affect everyone in Hoboken not just those bars who participate.
      Bar owners have had many years to clean up their act and self police and did almost nothing. The rest of Hoboken has had to put up with these special events as well as the usual weekend chaos and have made it very clear enough is enough.

      • The bars that participated cause the security problem. This proposed legislation forces non participating bars to up their security which does not target the real problem, the bars that participate in Santa Con.

        Ravi week one sauid to Chamber of Commerce “In me you have a friend of Hoboken Business”. The process of excluding the businesses in crafting the legislation detracts from that promise. Back to the drawing board.

        • You are either ignorant of the facts or deliberately miss stating them to forward your argument. The Mayor’s task internal force was formed to see what the City can do to control the problems caused by these large scale bar drinking promotions. The plan was alway publicly stated and will include both bar owners and the public. Regulations must be established for all and not targeted. Last year’s good bar can become this year’s bad bar.

          The bar owners and the largely nonexistent Hoboken Chamber of Commerce have had over a decade to get this under control and have not done so.