By DUSTIN RACIOPPI
Just like its predecessor, Fixx on West Front Street is in hot water with the borough government.
The council, citing “problems” and “public safety” issues, tabled a rubber-stamp resolution Wednesday night to renew the night club’s liquor license, which expires at the end of the month.
If Fixx wants to keep serving, it has to get a temporary license from the state Alcohol Beverage Control division, Mayor Pasquale Menna said.
Beyond that, the club, which more often than not draws a college-age crowd for live music and drinks in plastic Silo cups, must prove to the borough that it will operate at a more acceptable level.
“Fixx has been a problem lately,” Council President Art Murphy, who is also the borough’s police commissioner, said.
Although the council wouldn’t get into what exactly those problems have been, Menna said the club has regularly had encounters with police, disturbed neighbors and caused “continual public safety issues.”
Owned by Michael Gilson, past iterations at the club’s West Front corner have a history of problems with the borough. Gilson told redbankgreen in 2009 that he aimed to change the culture of the club after numerous problems arose from its predecessor, Chubby’s Waterside Cafe, which he also operated. There were more than 50 police calls to the club in one year, and one serious fight there led to a borough officer’s injury.
The council subsequently banned ‘college nights,‘ which allowed people under the legal drinking age of 21 into the club.
In March 2008, Gilson won approval to tear down the steel-gray building and replace it with a sports bar and restaurant with apartments above it. But in the interim, while waiting for the economy to improve, the Lyristis brothers, his restaurant-owning partners in the plan to take the joint upscale, bailed over management differences, and Gilson swapped out the video game punching machine for a DJ/VJ booth and changed the club’s name to Fixx.
The name may have changed, but it seems the culture hasn’t, officials said.
Menna said Fixx has a lot of work to do to convince the council it warrants maintaining a liquor license in town. The club will have to obtain a temporary license from the state to continue selling drinks, Menna said, because the council won’t meet again to approve the license before it expires at the end of the month if the governing body approves its renewal at all.
“We don’t want assurances. We want solid measures in place,” he said. “The safety of our residents and our neighbors, as well as the peace and quiet of our neighborhood, is critical.”