GilsonChubby’s owner Mike Gilson pleaded his case, but got little sympathy from the governing body, including Council President Art Murphy, below.


First, there was the October 2007 donnybrook outside Chubby’s Waterside Café that took cops from several towns to quell and injured one officer.

Last week, police disclosed yesterday, were three nearly simultaneous fights resulting in one teen getting knocked unconscious and another stabbed in a leg as they left the bar.

And in between, officials disclosed last night, was a yearlong stretch in which Red Bank police responded to more than 60 incidents at the bar.

So when owner Mike Gilson pleaded with the borough council last night not to ban so-called ‘college nights’ that are a staple of his business, he had a challenge on his hands.

“We’re not in the business of putting people out of business,” said borough Council President Art Murphy, who’s the governing body’s liaison to the police department. But “it’s out of control.”

Chubby's signThe club features ‘college nights’ every Thursday and weekend all-ages shows.

At issue was an ordinance amendment that would require anyone under 21 to be accompanied by a parent or guardian when entering a bar when alcohol is being served. Exceptions were carved out for restaurants.

Gilson, who previously said he had been unaware of the law change until asked about it Monday morning by redbankgreen, took the mayor and council to task for not letting him know it was coming, as his would be the only business in town affected by it.

He said he had worked with local officials over the 15 years he’s owned the business to meet their requests.

“I’ve hired police officers,” he said. “I’ve done everything that’s been asked.”

He also complained that, though his club is the sole holder of a cabaret license, allowing performances featuring four or more musical instruments, others in town skirt the law without any adverse attention by borough code enforcers

“This is a direct hit on Chubby’s,” Gilson said. “It’s pretty much putting me out of business.”

But in a firm rebuke, Murphy told Gilson, “you need to control your club.”
He said that despite wristbanding of club patrons by age to designate who among them is old enough to be served booze, underage ones are drinking, leading to fights and other problems.

Police Chief Mark Fitzgerald, addressing the council, reported there
had been more than 60 incidents requiring police responses over a
12-month period, and “the majority” involved 18-to-21 year olds.

“It shouldn’t happen,” he said. The law, he said, needed “teeth.”

Murphy said the new law was aimed at ending what officials consider a volatile mix.

“We’re not taking your business,” he told Gilson. “We’re asking for separation” of age cohorts to keep 18-to-21-year-olds out of the establishment when alcohol is served.

Gilson and partners won approval last March to knock down the building that houses Chubby’s, at West Front Street and Boat Club Way, and replace it with a three-story structure in which they planned to open a family-oriented catering
hall called The Bank.

Because of economic
conditions, those plans have been temporarily shelved, Gilson said. But in the interim, he said, “I need to feed my family.”

Gilson got a measure of support from resident Joe Mizzi, who said a few “rotten apples” among the club’s patrons were leading the council to ruin a social atmosphere for others.

But Mayor Pasquale Menna told Mizzi that “we have people who live in the vicinity of Chubby’s, and these people happen to be putting up with a lot of aggravation” beyond the fights, including loitering and noise.

The amendment won unanimous passage. Here’s the text: Download 2009-5

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