HAVERHILL — Last call will be a little earlier than usual at The Other Place tavern for at least the next few months.
The License Commission has ordered that the tavern close no later than 9:30 p.m. until the owner hires a new manager and that person is approved first by the city and then by state alcohol regulators.
The ruling follows a lengthy investigation by local police and federal agents of drug activity at the business, which is on Cedar Street in the city’s Acre neighborhood. Police and city officials have also raised concerns that current owner and manager, 24-year-old Laurie Chiarenza, has not been on the premises as often as she is supposed to be under her license.
Last month, police said they have been investigating the business and Chiarenza’s father, Michael Chiarenza, 45, since 2011. The probe was triggered by complaints from neighbors who suspected drug deals were taking place there, police said. Michael Chiarenza has not been charged.
Undercover federal agents said they infiltrated the business and arranged two drug deals from inside the tavern with a former bartender. But both drug deals, which led to two arrests, were made outside Haverhill, one in Lawrence and one in Salem, N.H.
At a punishment hearing last week, Chiarenza’s lawyer William Early stressed neither drug deal took place inside the tavern and that no one has been arrested there since Chiarenza opened almost a year ago.
“It would Draconian for the board to revoke the license for something that happened in Salem, New Hampshire,” Early said, referring to the April arrest of the tavern’s former bartender, Jennifer Moran, for allegedly selling $950 worth of “Perc 30” pills to undercover agents.
Commission members countered that, according to police, drug deals have been arranged, if not consummated, inside the tavern, which they said is a violation of its liquor license. They also expressed concern that Laurie Chiarenza’s father is the person who is really running the business.