Scene of fatal bar fight wins 2nd chance
By Jessica Van Sack
Wednesday, July 11, 2007 - Updated: 04:48 PM EST
In a dramatic reversal of fortune for the shuttered Southie saloon where a fatal brawl broke out last month, city license commissioners voted today to allow The 6 House to reopen, saying there is no basis to shut down the bar.
The surprising turnaround included an outpouring of public support at a City Hall hearing to decide the fate of the bar, the backdrop to the brutal murder of Revere carpenter Adam Rich.
“We were wrong,” said state Rep. Brian P. Wallace, a lifelong Southie resident who was initially among the chorus calling for the bar to be closed. “I’ve done my homework. We’ve overreacted.”
City Council President Michael Flaherty also issued a statement saying the bar’s shutdown would accomplish little. Wallace noted that in the past three years, under new owner Robert Mahar, police have been called to the bar only twice, once for a lost cell phone.
Mahar testified that his bar has no ties to its bloody former life as a watering hole for Irish mob boss James “Whitey” Bulger and his posse of murderous thugs.
“From what I heard today and what the board heard, there’s no legal justification for the board to revoke that license at this time,” Licensing Board Chairman Daniel F. Pokaski told the Herald.
Meanwhile, three employees on duty when Rich, 26, was knifed to death offered startling accounts of that fateful night. They said they tried unsuccessfully to control multiple melees until Rich collapsed with blood pouring from an “8-by-3 inch gash” in his chest. They described watching the color drain from Rich’s face as he screamed for 911.
Manager Matthew Rossi said within minutes of Rich entering The 6 House on June 17 after 1 a.m., sounds of shattering glass were heard and a bartender called 911 as Rich purportedly attacked another man. “Adam was just throwing blows at him,” said Rossi, adding that Rich’s friend, Army National Guard Sgt. Thomas Browne of Malden, was simultaneously wrestling with Bernard “Bo” Piscopo, 38, the Dorchester teamster charged in Rich’s murder.
Bar staff acknowledged it was a mistake to boot Rich and the man he was fighting onto a front sidewalk where they merely continued their fisticuffs. “He fell into the big picture window in front,” Rossi said. But as security tried to break up Browne and Piscopo, Rich knocked Piscopo to the floor, witnesses told police. Browne, 24, was also stabbed in the fracas.
Bouncer James Bergio, who said he knew Piscopo and his family, told the licensing board that “basically, Mr. Piscopo was trying to get away.”
I am so psyched. All I knew was that the hearing was on Monday, and I'd been wondering what had happened. I actually found out from a homeless guy who takes care of the feral cats that they'd won their case; he said it was in the Herald, but that article was posted online at 4:48 today...so I think he may have had another source.
I called them as soon as I found out and left a congratulatory voicemail. I don't when they're reopening, but I hope it's soon...