West Hartford Police File Complaint Against Shish Lounge [Updated]

Second incident in a month reported to State Liquor Control Commission.

For the second time this month, the West Hartford Police Department is filing a complaint with the state’s Liquor Control Commission for Shish Lounge at 904 Farmington Ave.

The latest complaint, according to a press release from Assistant Chief Robert McCue is for a potential violation related to a disturbance on Sunday inside and outside Shish involving, among others, Michal Osowiecki, who is 20 years old.

Osowicki, Michal Szpyt, 30, of Middletown, and Mariusz Majewski, 23, of New Britain, all got into a disturbance inside Shish early Sunday morning, which eventually led to a parking lot across the street from the club, police said. Szpyt reportedly fired a shot from a gun, for which he was arrested.

Majewski and Osowicki are also facing criminal charges.

In addition, the West Hartford Police are filing a complaint with the liquor control commission for alleged “unlawful conduct.”

“According to the case report, [Osowicki] had been served two shots and a mixed drink while inside the club before being ejected,” McCue said in the press release.

In November, the West Hartford Police Department filed a complaint concerning the club for an alleged assault that took place on Nov. 17, McCue said.

“Around 1:15 a.m., Officer Doug Martindale was patrolling in the area when he saw two people exiting the club that were bleeding,” McCue said. “One, the victim, was bleeding heavily from a head wound, the other, the suspect, was bleeding from a cut on his hand.”  

The officer, McCue said, later learned that a fight had broken out inside the bar and the victim (who was near the two people fighting) was struck in the face with either a glass or a bottle that was thrown during the altercation.

The victim had cuts to his face and eye that required surgery to repair, McCue said.

Miqueas Cunha, 31, of East Hartford, was charged with second-degree assault and breach of peace.

Aaron Sarwar, the manager of Shish Lounge, said that the two incidents cast an unfair light on the club.

"They could have happened anywhere," Sarwar said.

First, Sarwar said that it was the first time in lounge's four years of business that Shish has had an underage drinking complaint filed against it.

"We aren’t looking to serve minors," Sarwar said in a telephone interview. "It was unfortunate what happened last Saturday. There was a small argument, we asked them to leave. We walked them to their cars to make sure they left."

Szypt, according to Sarwar, then decided to fire his registered pistol into the air. 

Osowicki probably got into the club using a very good fake ID or a friend's or relative's real ID that bears a resemblance.

"It’s gotten so difficult with fake IDs," Sarwar said. "We’ve caught [underage people using] real IDs. We question them. They pull a wallet out and we see they have credit cards. We want to make sure the names on the credit cards match the one's on the IDs they give. We do everything we can."

Sarwar said that the club has a "whole stack of confiscated IDs."

In the November incident, Shish security "handed over" the alleged assailant to police, Sarwar said.

The two incidents have damaged Shish's reputation that it has built up in the four years since its rocky start four years ago, Sarwar said.

In 2009, neighbors complained that Shish patrons were, among other things, making too much noise when they left the club and parked on residential side streets.

"I think we’ve come a long way and its unfair that these things happened in the last month," Sarwar said.

But according to the Hartford Courant, Shish has had numerous problems in the past with the town. In November 2012, the town sent Shish a cease-and-desist order because it was operating more as a club than a town-defined restaurant.

After being issued tickets for what the town believed was an inadequate response, Shish entered into a stipulated agreement with the town's zoning board of appeals in November, the Courant reported.

There have been 125 incidents related to the club since it opened in 2009, the Courant said, quoting McCue. Also, the state liquor control commission has investigated Shish 11 times, the most recent of which resulted in a $700 fine in 2012, according to the Courant.

Furthermore, McCue sent an e-mail to Patch on Friday morning stating that Shish has been cited twice for underage patrons being in the club in the first half of 2013.

McCue wrote the following:

• September 13, 2013, WHPD sent 3 underage college students into SHISH Lounge.  One was carded and refused entry, however the other two were seated in the dining room and both served beer.  No employees carded them, they simply walked in and were served.  A referral was done to the Liquor Control Commission on this incident.

•June 13, 2013, an officer on patrol broke up a fight that occurred across the street from SHISH Lounge involving patrons that had just left the bar.  The fight started over a female (age 19) that had been in the club.  During the investigation WHPD learned that a graduation party had been held in the bar area in which minors attended. WHPD also did a referral to the Liquor Control Commission on this incident.

What's more, McCue sent a police report that states that Shish employees did not "hand over" an alleged assailant in the November incident, but that police intercepted him after Shish had kicked him out of the club.

Jackie Carmoega-Bazylewicz December 12, 2013 at 03:23 PM
Geez what a mess for the town of west hartford. Can't have a decent place to enjoy yourself without someone ruining it with violence.


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