City officials have denied entertainment licenses to two troublesome night spots in the 6th Wards. La Paradise and Dubai Hookah Lounge, both known for flagrantly violating city ordinances, were denied licenses following a hearing in front of the city council.
La Paradise which is commonly known as Paradise Cafe on 1017 Main Street was denied a license for breaking local laws and maintaining a nuisance at its location. “We found on the premise underage teenagers drinking hard alcohol,” said Ralph Gambatese, license inspector.
Gambatese said the establishment also had indoor hookah smoking for which the cafe was issued violations by the Paterson Health Department.
The owner of the cafe was not present during the hearing.
Andre Sayegh, 6th Ward councilman, said the cafe’s owner was notified to appear before the council during Tuesday’s hearing. The owner was a no show. “We’ve given them every opportunity,” said Sayegh.
Gambatese added into the council’s records a collection of images showing a plethora of violations at the cafe.
Besides flagrantly violating city ordinances, the establishment also posed a public safety concern for nearby residents. Inside the cafe fights have broken out, said Gambatese. Few months ago, outside the cafe shots were fired, added Sayegh.
The council unanimously voted against granting the cafe an entertainment license.
Dubai Hookah Lounge
Less than five blocks away from the cafe is another ill-famed establishment, Dubai Restaurant and Catering Hall, better known as Dubai Hookah Lounge, which was also denied an entertainment license.
The lounge, located in the former site of Lava Lounge, 69-75 Montclair Avenue, has been the subject of countless complaints from area residents. Two residents testified against the lounge at the hearing mentioning some of the ills the lounge has brought back to Montclair Avenue.
“They’ve been cited for smoking hookah on the premise, underage drinking, playing music without entertainment license,” said Gambatese. Residents, who came out to testify against the lounge, said the establishment blasted music during late hours of the night, disturbing their basic quality of life.
Gambatese said he was unable to obtain entry into the building after repeated attempts. The unreliable owner of the lounge, Samir Abdallah, would often setup appointments with the license inspector only to either not show or call with an excuse, said Gambatese.
A representative of the lounge came before the council wanting to postpone the hearing. A fellow who identified himself as a minority owner of the establishment said he wanted the establishment’s attorney present for the hearing.
Domenick Stampone, director of the city’s legal department, said the lawyer argument is often used as a tactic to postpone and continue operations.
“Do you have anything from your lawyer that shows you’ve retained a lawyer?” asked Stampone to the lounge’s representative. The representative, despite being an owner, said he was unsure.
Council members voted to deny the lounge a license. Rigo Rodriguez, councilman at-large, was the only dissenting vote. Rodriguez wanted to give the lounge a second chance acknowledging, “It’s a mess over there and you need to clean up.”
The denial of license does not mean cessation of operations for either business, but only that each will be unable to hold shows with disc jockeys at their location.