By Seth Daniel
There’s something about the South End whereby, despite all its niceties and tight-knit alliances, those from outside the neighborhood feel the need to relieve themselves on the stoops and stairs of South End homes.
That, among other things, was an issue debated for about 45 minutes during the Old Dover Neighborhood Association meeting on Tuesday, Nov. 15.
Foley’s attorney, Patrick Foley, appeared at the meeting to talk about closing activities of the bar on Berkeley Street, and neighbors also showed up in large numbers to discuss the frustrations they have with patrons of the establishment.
Old Dover President Ken Smith laid early ground rules to the discussion and implored the membership – despite their obvious frustrations – to engage in civil discourse.
That was, for the most part, accomplished.
Foley’s is a treasured commodity in Old Dover, and has been very active in being a responsive neighbor.
“If there’s an incident, tell us and we address it,” he said. “We support about every organization in the South End, Little League, soccer or even a choir. We are great neighbors in a pro-active and a reactive way.”
However, backed up traffic and bad behavior from patrons going outside to smoke or exit the bar – including urinating (or worse) on front doors, gathering in private porticos and threatening homeowners for reporting problems – have piled up to become a problem.
Foley’s is one of the few establishments in Boston to have a 2 a.m. closing license, meaning the last call is at 2 a.m. and everyone has to be out of the door by 2:30 a.m.
That said, and despite implorations from Pat Foley that those times are strictly adhered to, residents indicated that the reputation for the bar is that it serves well past the 2 a.m. stop time. The online website Yelp has reviews that spread the idea that a drink is always available at the South End Foley’s late into the morning.
That, neighbors said, has brought a certain mindset to customers that come into the neighborhood for wild times.
One man on Fay Street who has months of video surveillance recorded said the numbers of patrons coming out of Foley’s after 2 a.m. to smoke and urinate on his steps is incredible.
“It is very bad,” he said.
Mario Nicosia of GTI Properties called for paid details at closing time.
“Unless you put someone out there, it’s not going to be resolved,” he said. “It won’t just improve automatically.”
Old Dover member Arthur Coe suggested that Foley’s no longer let people outside to smoke after 2 a.m. – even if they are still nursing a drink inside. That, he said, was a great deal of where the problems originated.
“I think you need a one-way door after 2 a.m.,” he said. “I think you need a policy where if you go out after 2 a.m., you can’t come back in even if you have half a beer inside. There are proactive things we can do and reactive things. I think being much more strict on 2 a.m. is very proactive.”
Pat Foley said he thought that was a good compromise and a good place to start, and would take that back to the ownership of the bar and likely institute and ‘no return’ after 2 a.m. policy.