City, lawyer spar over fate of $3 Bar

Owners of Venda, Siena, Opa and other prominent Federal Hill restaurants listened to arguments Monday to determine the fate of the $3 Bar.

Lawyers for the $3 Bar and the city of Providence argued in front of a hearing officer, who will make a recommendation to the Department of Business Regulation as to whether the bar should re-open.

The city argued they are following due process in the interest of public safety while the lawyer for the bar claims the city is procrastinating to keep his client out of business.

"We don't have a full hearing at the (Board of Licenses) but it's my opinion the board is just using delay tactics to keep the $3 Bar closed as long as it can because it knows it has a very weak case," said Peter Petraca, the club's attorney.

The hearing comes after two recent violent incidents. A man was beaten to death with a two-by-four behind the $3 Bar, and after an unrelated brawl at the bar spilled into the street.

"I'm concerned about the public welfare in the neighborhood but people need to earn a living do what they have to do," said state Rep. John Lombardi, D-Providence.

Part of the standstill centers around video which Petraca doesn't want to share with the board despite a subpoena. Since then, the board has held the $3 Bar in contempt and both parties await a date in Superior Court.

"Based on that, I made the decision to come here for an emergency motion to stay because in my mind, the licenses are revoked. And we are closed until Superior Court makes a ruling on the contempt motion," Petrarca said.

A continuance date has not been set.

Petrarca doesn't believe his client is creating a dangerous situation for other restaurants in the area.

Restaurant owners told NBC 10 they didn't want to speak publicly about the $3 Bar until a decision was made.