Kevin Aherne (@KAherne17)
Federal Hill business owners, employees, politicians, and residents marched on City Hall on Wednesday, demanding that The $3 Bar on Atwells Avenue be closed for good.
The bar, which sells all food and drink items for three dollars opened this spring had its license temporarily revoked this past Sunday following a string of violent incidents that occurred the previous week.
"As soon as I heard that place was opening, and being called The $3 Bar, I knew right then and there that it was bad news," said Kristina Ferrucci, a longtime Federal Hill bartender. "The name says it all."
UPDATE: The Providence Board of Licenses have voted to keep The $3 Bar closed pending the result of an upcoming hearing in Rhode Island Superior Court. In today's meeting, owner Gianfranco Marrocco called his neighbors "racists" and urged Mayor Taveras--who has publicly supported the closure--to "go back to the Dominican Republic where he belongs."
And the bad news has come in droves. Last Wednesday, 34-year old was severely beaten with a 2x4 in a fight which originated in the bar, and spilled into the parking lot. The man later died from his injuries. Just four nights later, a brawl involving 25 bar patrons erupted, spilling into the street, resulting in the arrests of two Warwick women.
"Why would you put a bar named The $3 Bar right next to a classy restaurant like Siena?" Ferrucci continued, "did he think he was going to attract nice respectful people?
While people are trying to enjoy their dinner with families, business partners, significant others, etc., you have right next to you, people yelling and screaming, drunk like no other, and waitresses dancing in the middle of the street half naked. That is unacceptable! Marrocco is ruining it for the surrounding businesses whether it be a restaurant, a store, art gallery, whatever business it may be, it effects every single one of us, even the residents."
Ferrucci is referring to Gianfranco Marrocco of the Morrocco Group, which owns The $3 Bar, and several other Federal Hill establishments including Mediterraneo Caffee, Caffe Dolce Vita, Hotel Dolce Vita, Skarr, Smoke, and Wise Guys Deli. The $3 Bar location had previously operated by the Marrocco Group as Amici Sports Bar and Grille.
Marrocco fights back
"So according to my fellow business owners, the city officials and local politicians, my cheap liquor and food prices at "the $3 Bar" attract people who have less money and therefore poor people are the bad/wrong element? So Walmart, BJ's and every-other discount store is a breeding ground for evil malicious criminals?! I'm a good, law abiding citizen who employes a lot of people, and THANKS to my local city politicians I pay a lot of taxes...
I'm just trying to survive in the worst economy since the depression. This was a random tragic act of violence by career criminals that could have happened anywhere whether it's the $100 Bar or $3 Bar... Money doesn't make anyone a better person.... Let's all reflect on where we all came from... And today tragedy struck on my doorstep, and you want to burn me at the stake... But tomorrow it could strike at your door step... Are you ready to burn at the stake as I am?" said Marrocco via Facebook in an attempt to defend the reputations of his bar and himself. (Comment edited for spelling/grammar, but not content)
Outcome to be determined today
Marrocco will appear before the Providence Board of Licenses will meet Wednesday afternoon to pleas for the reinstatement of his bar's license. The board voted unanimously on Sunday to suspend the license for 72-hours, with the permanent result pending based on the meeting.
While the bar's owner pleads his case inside, the group protesting the bar will plead outside, hoping for permanent closure.
Defending the neighborhood
It is not just other businesses that want to see Marrocco's bar shut down, many local residents are displeased with the recent incidents.
"I had a feeling that a bar like that would attract trouble, and it clearly has," proclaimed one Federal Hill resident, who asked to remain nameless. "There is no place for it in this neighborhood."
Ferrucci added, "I know of two particular people who are moving out of the Federal Hill area because of this issue. They have children, and nobody wants to raise a family in such a classless environment. It is absolutely unacceptable and it needs to stop before someone else gets hurt."