BOSTON (CBS) – The state is suing a popular Dorchester bar for alleged civil rights violations.

In a statement issued Monday, Attorney General Martha Coakley’s Office accused Peggy O’Neil’s of engaging “in a pattern of not allowing customers of color to enter and use the bar.”

The lawsuit alleges that in December 2010, two men waiting in line to enter the bar were told by the owner that it was too late to get in and that they should find somewhere else to go.

WBZ-TV’s Paul Burton reports

Later that night, another group of minorities were allegedly turned away by bar staff.

“At the same time, other Caucasian customers were allowed to enter the bar, many of whom appeared to be intoxicated,” the attorney general’s statement said.

According to the lawsuit, bar owner Caron O’Neil told the group that they could not come inside because they did not know her.

The plaintiffs claim O’Neil said to them, “You don’t look like the type of people” she would know and “we don’t like people of your kind here.”

The lawsuit also claims that a third group of “persons of color” were denied entry in April 2011 and were treated in a similar manner.

The suit seeks monetary damages, civil penalties, and a request that the bar’s staff undergo anti-discrimination training.

A spokesperson for the bar told WBZ-TV the allegations are false and unfair.

Peggy O’Neil’s has been operating in the neighborhood since 1963.

Comments (12)
  1. Patrick O'Henry says:

    It is a shame that people were discriminated from entering a “public place”, immoral and illegal, that said do you really want to hang with Caron O’Niel ? Seems like a trip to Cheers might be more fun!

  2. Tony says:

    ‘They’ are always looking for trouble… can’t you just go someplace else? The patrons most likely didn’t want you there either. I don’t have kids, os I don’t go to Chuck E Cheese. If you don’t fit in, go where you do, and shut up.

  3. ABCD says:

    The place is a dive anyways.

    It’s still not right how that despicable person (Caron) treated the people who wanted to enter.

  4. print it says:

    Why Dose it always turn to racism. Maybe just maybe the bar was full? People come and people go! At times the place is full and then an hour later they have room for you. Take a break people it happens everywhere where you go. Maybe you can get them on over-crowding. That would be your best bet. Or was that what you were trying to do in the first place?

  5. Funinthesun says:

    Pretty ridiculous if you ask me. If you’ve ever been in there you will see all kinds of minorities. Let’s set the record straight here. If you are female, overweight, gay, straight, transgender, Spanish, black, Asian, over 40,
    etc you will be in this place and are all of these people are considered a group that can be discriminated against correct? But if you are a select few that were not allowed entry because it was too late, or you were too drunk than it’s now racism? Attention all bar and restaurant owners, make sure you don’t turn anyone black away because you’ll get sued. Shame on you Martha Coakley. Find something real to do. Thank god my hard earned tax dollars will pay for this nonsense.

    1. Amuzed says:

      Could not have said it any better Funinthesun!! Anyone that has worked as barstaff, or a doorman knows we put up with patrons of every race that act in this way when they are turned down for service, they show up at 1:30 drunk and demand to get it, when refused it’s racism come on now enough already. How can you be racist in Dorchester?

  6. A says:

    I don’t know the rules, I will be the first to admit that.

    But aren’t pubs/bars/restaurants etc privately held businesses ?
    Doesn’t a private business have the right of refusal ?
    Can’t a bar decide at their own discretion who they wish to serve ?

    Don’t see the problem other than some folks felt stepped up. Get over it.

    Now, had the bar posted a sign saying “no blacks” or “no hispanics” then things would be different

  7. Michael says:

    Unforunatley this does not surprise me. I saw it with my own eyes, it wasn’t 1:00 AM in the morning, the place was not full, it was empty and no one was drunk or acting out. My freind of color stopped by to meet for bite. I walked in 3 min before him and sat down no problem, he comes in and they try to charge him a cover and give him a hard time. The rasiisim was so platen I did not even finish my food. Yeah Yeah ive seen all walks of life in there late at night too. but fact is rasism is alive and well at Peggys. Hope they learn from this, I kinda like that dump,

  8. mawakana says:

    Thank you Michael for having the courage to address this issue head on in order to set the record straight.

  9. ignoranceaintbliss says:

    If u don’t believe racism is alive & well, just as healthy as ever, than your sick & stupid

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