River Watch Liquor Board Hearing Set

Middle River restaurant and night club faces charges of music and noise violations.

A popular waterfront Middle River restaurant and nightclub -- which was the scene of a parking lot fight that sent three people to the hospital in June -- is scheduled to face a Baltimore County Liquor Board hearing for an alleged disturbing the peace violation in connection with loud music a month earlier.

River Watch Restaurant & Marina liquor license owners, Traci and Mark Sullivan, are scheduled to appear before the county liquor board for a show cause hearing on Aug. 15. The restaurant is located in the 200 block of Nanticoke Road.

According to documents reviewed by Patch, River Watch is accused of continuing to play music in a manner that is “in clear violation of the law.”  Riverwatch is also accused of continuing to “disturb the peace, tranquility, safety, health and quiet” of the surrounding neighborhood.

Some of the alleged violations stem from incidents that occurred on May 19 and “throughout” Memorial Day weekend. One local complainant wrote to the liquor board that the the owner of River Watch had been approached regarding the music but to no avail.

A special investigation was requested by the liquor board and Precinct 11 police officers are expected to appear for the hearing.

More recently, three men were transported to Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center, including one who was stabbed, . Baltimore County police arrived at the restaurant around 11:45 p.m., on June 26 and observed several groups of people arguing throughout the parking lot of the restaurant.

amdactivist July 20, 2011 at 11:19 PM
why didn't the surrounding neighborhood protest the liquor and entertainment license for music before they bought the place. Many times the neighborhood ignore the postings then issues like this surface.. When you serve alcohol there is always a chance of a fight. It goes along with alcohol.. How loud was the music and how close are the surrounding homes?
Mary Woods July 21, 2011 at 12:14 AM
it is more than just the loud music past permit time!! It is more than just one fight that caused 3 stabbings. It is almost every week the nusence that takes place there. last year 4 drownings, this tear 3 stabbed in one instance, another beaten , another beaten, drugs, swingers hitting on normal people. they have run most family's off who wants to go to a restaurant when there are fights , and people way beyond capacity. If a fire or another fight broke out how would one get out of the surroundings safely?? JUMP OVER BOARD? run through 2 steel gates or hope you could get back through a door to exit through the front?? The fire marshal should be there ecspecialy on sunday's you can not move you would get stomped to death trying to leave. They are trying to have to much go on in one small place. how would you like urination in your front yard? how would you like to keep putting new mail booxes up? what if you had company and the street was loaded with police? What if you wanted to sell your home and could not get fair price because of all the poilice out front, the fights etc. you advertise on certain radio stations that is what you are going to get is out of the area young punk trouble.
kevin culler July 21, 2011 at 12:30 AM
Damn Mary tell us how you really feel lol. Very well explained points tho. I learned my lesson years ago when marc and i had had words about the way people acted towards my family when it was packed beyond capacity on sundays so i pulled my boat out and changed marinas...havent been back since.
stacey July 21, 2011 at 12:55 AM
Mary summed it all up! Our once peaceful neighbor hood has been a complete mess for the past 3-4 years. We can not take out children for walks, we can not let our children safely ride their bikes through the neighborhood....without fear that they will be hit by the careless people who come through our neighborhood. We have ownder our home for 5 years but my husband has lived here all but a few years of his life. HIs parents were one of the 1st on our street. He has watched it change so much and we actually hate living here! We would love to sell but that would be next to impossible!
stacey July 21, 2011 at 01:00 AM
As for the music we are we live on Birch, not that close! We should not feel like the band is in our back yard! We have been told that there will be a bouncer on the corner of our street. That is great to help cut back on the number of people walking our streets BUT how good does that look when people come to visit or come to look at one of the many houses that are for sale? Also I believe 106.5 is a reason that there are so many people coming here. I think it is drawing the wrong crowd. After talking to Mark he believes that it is helping bring back the older calmer crowd! I dont think the entire listening area needs to be told about our little community! This is not Canton or Fells. We should not have to be living with so much worry! IF MArk hold up to all that he told me he is going to do it may help some of the problems but not all. There are just too many people, too many kinds of people, too many disturbances and just too many deck parties going on. We have to deal with this EVERY Thurs-Sun May-Sept! Its crazy!
rdnkkkgrl helsel July 21, 2011 at 02:48 AM
@ amdactivist the bar is at the end of the rd on the water and it is a pretty nice place to go its not close enough to the houses to cause a problem the people around that area are just complaining to start trouble @ mary a bars a bar theres gonna b fights drunks trouble outside and so on you definitly should of thought about all this stuff before you moved in there instead of whining and crying over loud music and obnoxious behavior from a bar y doesnt the liquor board go after another bar in essex that serves alcohol to minors!!!
mwdubs July 21, 2011 at 04:21 AM
First question: If Baltimore County is spending money on the rejuvenation of the water businesses, then why complain? Let me understand, dredge Back River, encourage people with larger boats, and incomes to spend their money in Essex, but complain when business picks up. River Watch has been there for years, and while it is the responsibility of the establishment to keep a friendly and safe environment, the people in the area knew what to expect when purchasing property by a popular night spot. Part two: How can anyone complain about a few acts of random violence at a bar/nightclub? Isn’t that one of the reasons for prohibition? People drink, they get stupid, and unfortunately this results in random violence. I guess the residence of Nanticoke would prefer to have their own prohibition of a viable business. Look at it in a way that affects us all; no tax money to repay this rejuvenation expense, equals wasted tax dollars. The hypothetical: Perhaps we should shut down the Silver Dome while we are at it. A few years ago, a nut brandished a gun while drinking at the bar. The police were called, this lead to a chase that ended on my street with the police shooting the man dead. Is this the fault of the establishment? NO! http://articles.baltimoresun.com/2007-01-07/news/0701070178_1_toohey-baltimore-county-fatally-shoot-man The short of it, don’t buy a house by a bar, and then complain that there is a local bar disturbing your evenings.
Gil July 21, 2011 at 11:04 AM
How late does the music play outside? From my experience at River Watch the music goes inside at some point. When I was going there the crowd changed from the 40 up people to the hip hoppers when they went inside. It was at that time I went home!
stacey July 21, 2011 at 11:10 AM
Don't buy a house near a bar? When we bought our house RW was different. It used to be a place to go have a quiet evening and a fancy dinner! When most of my neighbors built their homes the RW didn't even exist. We are not complaining because business picked up. We are complaining because o the problems it is bringing to the community. I don't want to see them shut down. I would like things back the way they were a few wyears ago. Mark himself admitted that he knows he is drawing a bad crowd and is working on things to bring back the calmer more family oriented atmosphere. How can a place go from fine dining to a drugs, fights, and more. It just makes no sense.
Gil July 21, 2011 at 11:20 AM
For the crowd to change the music has to change. The older crowd is not drawn to hip hop music. Lets face the facts. The changes at River Watch were designed to drawl in the younger crowd. If the place made less money with the new crowd management would bring back the old crowd, apparently that is not the case. The high profit product at any bar is not the food, it is the booze. Any idiot can pull a beer out of the cooler. Good food requires talent. Talent cost money!
Gil July 21, 2011 at 12:40 PM
First, Back River has nothing to do with River Watch, it is on Middle River. Second and most important, the handful of houses on Nanticoke Road were built along the water dating back to the 1920's. Around that time the property at the end of Nanticoke Road was known as Steins. Along the way it became Sea Gull Inn and eventually River Watch. To say don't buy a house by a bar really doesn't apply here. Many waterfront properties are still in the same family as the original building family from the 20's. Those houses were there long before there was any kind of commercial operation at the end of Nanticoke Road. When a business moves into an area it should blend in, not cause problems. It is that non-blending that has the area upset and bringing about the action as a result of the owners ignoring the complaints from the surrounding property owners.
Gil July 21, 2011 at 01:32 PM
Maybe Mark and his sister have taken this problem more seriously than past problems. Seems they posted this dress code on their web site effective June 30, 2011! My read is it targets the young crowd. Dress Code (As of June 30, 2011) No baseball hats worn sideways No ski or skull caps No hoodie shirts or hooded jackets No jogging suits, jerseys or sweatsuits of any kind No men’s tank tops allowed Over long shirts, those that hang below pants pockets, must be tucked in No baggy/sloppy clothes, including shorts below the knees or sitting below the hips No camouflage No colors or support wear All women must wear cover-ups over their bathing suits Everyone must wear shirts and shoes when on RW property If you look under 35 expect to be carded, we reserve the right to confiscate any ID we believe is not legal We reserve the right to refuse anyone entry into our establishment, and/or the right to ask anyone to leave Manners Matter & Attitude Counts!!
fed up July 21, 2011 at 02:37 PM
Every Sunday we watch the drunks stumbling down nanticoke rd as they almost get hit by the drunk drivers race pace. The motorcycles are the worst the fly passed so fast even crossing the line to pass other cars. Every Sunday we watch people try to park anywhere and everywhere stopping and urinating on people's lawns and this is all before it gets dark! After the sun goes down its scary , people puking in yards crawling and some holding onto the fence because there so drunk they can't walk. We have even had the police sit by our house to catch some of these people. And then there is the trash the next day. Lovely beer bottles and cups from the river watch and a month ago hyperdermic needles were found in the middle of the road and the middleborough fire department came and picked them up. Now to the idiots that said we are just complaining ....no we are not complaining just to complain.the river watch is a nice place just not on Sundays!! Mark has not taken the neighborhoods complaints seriously all he is worried about is making mote money. Well this neighborhood is not going to put up with it anymore !!
mwdubs July 21, 2011 at 03:13 PM
@ Fed up, Gil, and Stacey, I did personally say that it is totally the owner’s responsibility to run a safe and friendly environment. I remember a few years ago when it was a nice place to go. Should they change? It would be nice, but to say hip-hop is a bad thing is wrong. Gil the dress code is a great start, so maybe the owners are working toward bringing back the older crowd. The owners are wrong for not putting safety as a priority, but I have to side with them when the bar business makes sounds like a bar does.
Buzz Beeler July 21, 2011 at 08:16 PM
Gil is right on the money. My brother has his boat down there and echos what Gil is talking about. The bottom line for a bar is serving alcohol and the more alcohol is served the better the bottom line. He also said that if the current change in the customers is a trend, many of the customers that actually spend money in the establishment may choose to go elsewhere. If any one has any doubts about the particular type of clientele and it's impact on a business, one only needs to look at the recent problems at the Inner Harbor with the roving groups of young crowds and the chaos they can cause. Why do you think they tore down the Golden Ring Mall? It's a little like making a good cocktail except in most cases, bars in residential communities is a bad mix. fed up, you are living the nightmare. You walk the walk and talk the talk. I don't drink and would go down there once in a while and seeing is believing. What is amazing is that I'm 63 and when I do go out I see the same faces I saw when I was 33. Mike, how do you expect a bar owner to make things safe when the cops can't. That's a tall drink --- I mean order.
stacey July 22, 2011 at 12:29 AM
The music outside is until 10.
Mary Woods July 22, 2011 at 02:57 PM
The cops cant because of the judicial systems loop holes in the law. They bad @sses are out on bail before the paper work and reports are finished. When RW had bands like , River Rats, Spin, Krystal Klear, The New Romance, Faded Image. We did not have the rift coming in with all the fighting. But now that Boesche is there and the advertising to all of maryland to come to the RW it is nothing but trouble. I would not wnt to keep my boat at this marina with the noise and the rift coming in either. Bottom line is Mark is a party man and Traci is a business women Traci has her hands full I believe if Traci had her way there would be No Night life like it is. She is a very smart lady who prefers it to be of a family oriented restaurant. Why not do fund raisers there like some neighbor business do. Special olympics, juvenile diabietes, etc. This would draw in the right kind of crowds and put profit $$$$$$$ in the bbusiness and neighbor hood.
Deborah Lupo July 26, 2011 at 11:16 PM
To amdactivist: The restaurant has been a very well established classy eatery/known for it's surroundings and elete clientele; as well as superb food. If you wanted to celebrate a special occassion or guests / Riverwatch was a great choice. Notice I said WAS....in the past couple of years they have changed their way of handling business in as far as what kind of clientele they allow into their establishment and the decline in formal or acceptable clothing code that they were once known for. It is such a shame now that we cannot take our out of town guests or familys there anymore without being weary of the "type" of customers that now patron them... Seems like they are replacing or turning into the "old" establishment that used to be known as a bikers bar and nightclub back in the day...it was located right next to them where Marleys is now. I therefore understand the frustration and fears the neighbors have with the change in people and behaviors that are now allowed in...
Buzz Beeler July 27, 2011 at 12:26 AM
Mary, my brother and I were discussing the situation down there. He has a boat slip and during the weekends, other boaters will take his slip and then party at the bar. My brother has to battle the, (I won't say it) clientele for the right to his slip that he pays a pretty penny for. He spent a lot of time and money down there but says the obvious change in this type of clientele is driving the mature paying customers away. He did say that the older adult bikers have never caused a problem there and the key word here is adult. Hot button hints of the new patrons include low riding pants, crooked baseball caps and attitudes. Not a good combination for business. Remember, adults is the key word.
stacey July 27, 2011 at 02:19 AM
According to a conversation I had with Mark last Monday we were supposed to have a bouncer at the corner of Birch. No one ever showed so now I truly believe that he just doesn't give a sh!t and does not hold up to promises. I think it is sad that we would need a bouncer on our corner but IF the deck parties are allowed to continue I feel that it may be the only thing that can help. We have just over 2 weeks until the liquor board hearing and I am hoping that they lose the rights to the deck parties. After Mark not doing what he said I really believe that all he cares about is $$$$$!!! He does not care about our neighborhood at all.
Buzz Beeler July 27, 2011 at 02:53 AM
The bottom line is one of the key factors in illegal immigration and access to cheap labor. In a nutshell the bottom line trumps all.


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