Who’s On First? has been a Red Sox fan’s go to post-game bar since 1979. Due to recent violence incidents, including the shooting death of 29-year-old Jephthe Chery on Thanksgiving of last year, the sports bar, which also doubles as a nightclub when games are not going on, is set to permanently close its doors.
The bar draws in countless Red Sox fans on game day, limiting access to ticket holders during Red Sox games when Yawkey Way is closed. But recent violent events have pushed the Red Sox to work out an agreement with the city, the owners of the building, and the bar operators to close down permanently, according to a statement the Red Sox’s team spokesman sent out.
While the Red Sox organization does not have complete control over Who’s On First?, it does control the lease for the bar, according to The Boston Herald. The building is owned by ’47 Bran LLC, previously known as Twin Enterprises, Inc., and the owner of Who’s On First? is Robert Paratore.
The bar has been consistently cited by Boston police for various violations since the mid-1980s. On Sept. 6, 2015, there was a licensed premise violation, which could be due to anything from serving underage people drinks to violent incidents to misrepresenting the cover charge at the door, following a shooting which took place in front of the bar, on Yawkey Way. That day two women, in their 20s, were shot—one in the leg, the other in the abdomen. The injuries were not life threatening.
The violence did not end there. On Thanksgiving Day, a mere two months after the first shooting, there was another, this time fatal. Around 2 a.m. on Thanksgiving, Jepthe Chery, an MBTA commuter rail conductor, was killed from a gunshot wound in front of the bar. Three others were transported to the hospital with non-life threatening injuries.
“From what I understand, the young man that got shot was a hard working person going to work today,” Boston mayor Marty Walsh, WCAS ’09, to WBZ-TV. “It’s unfortunate that his mother had to get a call this morning to let her know he won’t be there for Thanksgiving, and his co-workers won’t be with him today.”
Several hundred people were running from the area as shots were fired that night, recalled Boston Police Superintendent-in-Chief William Gross. Following Chery’s death, Who’s On First? has not reopened.
“Why is the place not shut down?” Lauren Dewey Platt, president of the Fenway Community Center’s board of directors, said in a statement following the Thanksgiving shooting. “How many more lives is it going to take? Is it two, three or ten?”
The Boston Licensing Board has ruled that the bar is not at fault for the two violent incidents. Police, however, said that the bar has been a magnet for violence and has also been cited several times within the past few years. According to Boston magazine, since 2001, the bar has been called at least eight times to answer to the city’s licensing board to address violations, as well as violence. There have been at least eight violent incidents at the bar since 1991, three of which resulted in the suspension of Who’s on First?’s liquor license. The bar has had 12 license suspensions due to violations.
Boston bars and clubs are almost never permanently shut down in Boston. After years of proving itself a problem to Boston Police, Who’s On First? is going to change that.
Featured Image by Madeleine D’Angelo / Heights Editor