Martell's Faces Potential Liquor License Fight In Point Pleasant Beach Hearing

A public hearing will be held next week on Martell's, a long-time Boardwalk landmark, as it faces possible difficulty seeking to renew its liquor license.

The hearing will be held at 7 p.m. Tuesday in the Council Chambers of the Borough Hall, 416 New Jersey Ave., Point Pleasant Beach. 

The August 2013 fatality of a woman who left Martell's, while apparently intoxicated, is causing Mayor Vincent Barrella and Council members to consider denying the renewal of its liquor license. 

Barrella had previously urged council members not to support a resolution that made a few revisions to confirm the state Division of Alcoholic Beverage Control's ruling about Martell's liquor license.  The council voted recently 5-1 to approve the resolution, which had modified elements from a resolution approved two weeks ago.

"We do not often get a chance for Council to correct itself," Barrella said, urging Council members not to approve the resolution because of the woman's death. Councilman Bret Gordon agreed, casting the lone vote against the resolution.

Gordon said rejecting the resolution could send a "powerful signal" to bar owners that the town is serious about their role in policing alcohol.

Township Attorney Kevin Riordan, however, warned the council that failing to codify the ABC's action supporting Martell's liquor license could expose the borough to a lawsuit that it could lose.  Riordan said the best time for the council to take action is when Martell's has to renew its license, which officials indicated to be in June.

"I'm not afraid of lawsuits when we're right, but I'm going to heed the advice of council," said Councilman Thomas Toohey.

Council members said they should have more information in June related to the fatality and another woman's severe injury from a head-on collision, which is the subject of a lawsuit that was filed against Martell's.  The case has not yet been heard before a judge.

Barrella said the ABC has not shared any records related to the incident, despite the borough attorney's requests in October.   

ABC's Website highlights several occurrences where bars had their liquor licenses revoked or bar owners were forced to sell their liquor licenses in 2013.

Point Pleasant Beach officials have had a contentious relationship with bar owners in recent years over the local government's attempts to have them close earlier than 2 a.m., the current limit, and over parking for patrons.  
Typhoon May 23, 2014 at 09:32 AM
Don't be so quick to take sides with the bar. I'm not going to be judge and jury here as the first comment stated, but owning a liquor license is a privilege and a huge responsibility. I know, I owned one. Tiffany's in Toms River was given two years to sell their license by the ABC because of at least 2 or three deaths. and serious injuries caused by obvious over serving of drunk patrons. There was a pattern there and if you don't have some kind of enforcement more people will die. Yes, the Tiki bar will always be there, but not necessarily the same owners. And once again, I'm not saying they were right or wrong, but don't sit here and talk about a "booming business" taking priority over people or that someone is trying to "hurt" businesses.
Sarajane May 23, 2014 at 09:59 AM
Typhoon- what ever happened to personal responsibility? When people drink and drive they hurt themselves or others. Shouldn't they be held accountable for their own actions? I don't get why it's OK to put the blame elsewhere. I like Martell's. If I go there for a drink I take a cab home. The reality is bars in Point Pleasant Beach provide serious jobs and income for a lot of people, esp those who are going to school or are unqualified to work elsewhere. They are also part of the reason people come to this area and spend money. Why is it appropriate to punish them for irresponsible behavior? Bars don't pour drinks down throats or force anyone behind the wheel of a car. I'm sorry when anyone dies tragically, but why is it someone else's fault?
Typhoon May 23, 2014 at 10:17 AM
Sarajane. I agree with you somewhat (especially when I owned a bar) but as I stated, the Tiki bar will always be open for business, so you don't have to worry about not going there for drinks and all the jobs. It may have to be with another owner if the current ones are not operating responsibly according to the ABC and or the town. Read my reply again. I didn't say they were guilty of anything, until the facts are known and they get their day in court. Have a nice weekend.
Rick Ricky May 23, 2014 at 03:14 PM
Ok, The council and mayor in all these towns grandstand every opportunity they can. It is either for vendetta against someone or to get notice for themselves or some issue. @Sarajane, Those days are over. Who takes personal responsibility? NO ONE DOES THESE DAYS. No one wants to take accountability either including all these bars and owners. There is rules to go by. Most businesses have them. Yes, it should be ultimately the drinker. That's not going to happen when something serious happens. That is why there is so many lawyers. Rules are Rules and if any bar is found not to go by them then they should be fined or given warnings in some way. If they get so many warnings time to sale or close down. The town should be on top of it too. They fire department should be taking surprise visits how many patronage they squeeze into these bars. No I am not against Martell's. I am against that some bar owners go by the rules when others don't feel they have to.
Beach_N8iv May 27, 2014 at 07:18 AM
I just love when "our" elected officials say things like "I'm not afraid of lawsuits" right out in an open meeting. Of course you're not afraid, you have principles, right? You intend to stand up and spend OUR very last dime to keep your name in the papers and make your point. Then we all get to hear how broke the town is and how our property taxes and other fees have to be raised and the only one left smiling is Riordan.


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