License Commission Yanks Entertainment License

Monday night July 8 the License Commission considered pulling the entertainment license and other licenses for Kasbar after hearing several concerns.

Kasbar, located at 59 Putnam St., has been on officials’ radar since it began offering hookah smoking several years ago.

The commission also explored the idea of pulling both liquor and common victualler license, but determined that that would put the owner out of business. They wanted to hear from the owner and his lawyer and they are giving him another chance at a meeting on July 29.

Since Nassar Belghiti, owner of the Kasbah, was away in Maine for the Licensing Commission meeting Monday night, he sent a friend, Joseph Marino, who thought he was going to be discussing outdoor seating.

Sgt. Timothy Callinan explained to the commission that the walk through was prompted by an advertisement sent through Facebook for entertainment complete with hookah and a disc jockey at the establishment on June 18. On June 19 the Winthrop police did a walk through and found hookah smoking going on inside with the kitchen closed down since it was past the 10 p.m., serving time.

“He violated every agreement when he promised no hookah the last time,” said Commissioner Joe Clark.

License Commission chair Marc Chapdelaine said there was a “blatant” violation of the town’s smoking bylaw, but it is the Board of Health that has the jurisdiction.

Commission member and Lt. Steve Rogers noted that the establishment only appeared to be open on the night the police walked in.

The commission will hold a “show cause” hearing on July 29 and discuss the status of other licenses, such as alcohol and outdoor seating.

“The Kasbah is allegedly in blatant violation,” Chapdelaine said. “We have worked with the license holder repeatedly and we are continuously misled.”

“Don’t touch the liquor license until the owner is heard,” Clark said. “And I want the Board of Health in here too.”

Commissioner Nick Bracy suggested possible rolling back the hours to 11 p.m.

“Once the food is done (at 10 p.m.) he makes money on liquor,” said Marino, who thought that he was coming to a hearing about outdoor seating. Without Belghiti at the meeting,  the License Commission let a request to expand outdoor seating stretch to July 29.

“It is his intention to open,” Marino said.

“But restaurant hasn’t been open but a day this month,” Clark alleged.

Chapdelaine added that there is no smoking of any kind on the outdoor patio.

Marino asked if he could open the establishment while Belghiti is away. When asked if he was TIPPS certified he said no. Chapdelaine quickly let him know if he wasn’t TIPPS certified he could not open the bar.

“There is also no hookah allowed,” he added.

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