Liquor sting faults six local businesses, Lone Pine
By Phil Salinger, The Dartmouth Staff
Published on Tuesday, May 17, 2005
Seven local alcohol-serving establishments, including the College-owned Lone Pine Tavern, failed a liquor license compliance check run by Hanover Police and the New Hampshire Bureau of Liquor Enforcement on the evening of Friday, May 6, police officials said.
Police commissioned an unidentified underage individual possessing valid identification with an under-21 birth date to try to purchase an alcoholic beverage from the establishment. At 7:18 p.m., the individual walked into Lone Pine and ordered a bottle of Budweiser from a male employee.
The employee asked the undercover agent for identification, but failed to properly calculate how old the individual was. Immediately after the purchase, Lone Pine was informed that it had just failed the sting operation, police said.
Representatives of Dartmouth Dining Services and the College's Public Relations office declined to comment on the incident.
Police executed a total of 22 checks that night, targeting Hanover establishments holding liquor licenses. Of the 22 targets, seven failed the test. Panda House, Foodstop, Mai Thai, India Queen, C&A Pizza and Cafe Buon Gustaio were the other violators.
Some establishments that failed the sting misread the undercover agent's identification, and others, including Chinese restaurant Panda House, failed to ask for identification altogether, Hanover police chief Nicholas Giaccone said.
The New Hampshire Bureau of Liquor Enforcement issued violation notices and civil violation notice fines to establishments that failed the checks, Giaccone said. Hanover Police will take no action of their own against the establishments, a job given to the New Hampshire Bureau of Liquor Enforcement, Giaccone said. The chief stressed, however, that the police will not hesitate to take action against individual employees who repeatedly break the rules.
Giaccone also said that he was not surprised by the results, as they are similar to the outcomes of previous liquor checks of Hanover establishments. The police chief attributed some of the difficulties to mistakes made by inexperienced employees.
"The problem is that the wait staff usually has a high turnover rate," he said.
Hanover Police was especially pleased with the employees at the Go-Go Mart, who were prepared to call the police, and the bartender at the Hanover Inn who became visibly angry at the minor, Giaccone said.
Also, Etna General Store, Molly's Balloon, Five Olde Nugget Alley and Murphy's on the Green, four establishments that had failed the previous liquor check, passed this time around.
Giaccone put the onus on the individual establishments to enforce the serving to minors problem.
"They have to take the serving procedures seriously," he said.