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I-Team: Mass. Uncovers Worst Bars In State

By Joe Shortsleeve, WBZ-TV
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(credit: AP)

(credit: AP)

WBZ-TV's Joe Shortsleeve Joe Shortsleeve
Joe Shortsleeve is chief correspondent for WBZ-TV News weekdays a...
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WORCESTER (CBS) — They are the bars that allow drunk drivers on our roads. Night clubs and corner taverns where convicted drunks say they had that “last” drink before getting on the road.

The court system keeps a list, a list no bar owner wants to be on.
 
It is one in the morning and Worcester police and state alcohol investigators are once again are at “Irish Times,” a night club in Worcester.
 
Inside the place is jammed with young people and on this night the state will charge the bar owners with serving drinks to drunks.

WBZ-TV’s Joe Shortsleeve reports

WHAT HE SAW
 
“The bartender served him two captain and cokes and a beer,” one undercover investigator says he saw.
 
“And you say he basically had his head on the bar?” asked WBZ-TV’s Joe Shortsleeve.
 
The investigator responded, “His head was on the bar, his eyes were closed, his head was popping up and down.”
 
He went on to reiterate that this person was being served.

WHAT THE STATE LOOKS FOR
 
When state alcohol investigators go into a bar they are not looking for people who have had a few too many glasses of wine. They are looking for “fall down” drunks — people who, if they were driving, would surely kill someone.
 
Undercover video shot outside a bar in Boston last New Year’s Eve shows how bad the problem is. Young people seen staggering into the street, some falling into the gutter, others collapsing on the side walk. That is what the state investigators are trying to stop.   

WHO’S ON THE LIST?
  
In the past two and half years, Irish Times has been named 20 times as the last stop for a drunk driver, making it the second worst record in eastern Massachusetts.

The worst record in this part of the state with 28 notifications in the past 30 months is The Thirsty Whale in Newburyport. We called and stopped in, but the owner would not talk to us.
 
Ted Mahoney, the lead investigator with the State Alcohol Beverage Control Commission, says, “The vast majority of bars and restaurants in the Commonwealth do not end up on this list. So clearly there is indifference or incompetence in the management of the establishment.” 
 
Other bars in eastern Massachusetts with multiple notifications from the court system include The Golden Banana in Peabody with 16 in the past two and half years.
 
Also in Peabody, Paddy Kelly’s has been named 12 times by convicted drunks since 2008.

NOT ALWAYS EASY TO SPOT A DRUNK
    
Also with a dozen notifications in the past 30 months is The Lazy Dog in Marlboro. The owner tells WBZ it is not always easy spotting a drunk.
 
“It is always a question of how much that person has had even before they walk in the door and that makes it difficult to monitor what is going on,” said Matt Leduc.
 
Alcohol investigators say the holiday season can be a very dangerous time. They say they will be blending in, watching, trying to keep people safe.
 
And just this month the state of Massachusetts fined a night club in Springfield, Mardi Gras, $20,000 for serving drinks to drunks.

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