Box 63 raided

New Haven police and liquor control agents raided Box 63 on Oct. 13, 2011.
New Haven police and liquor control agents raided Box 63 on Oct. 13, 2011. Photo by Nick Defiesta.

The New Haven Police Department conducted a raid on Box 63 on Elm Street Thursday night, handing out infractions to five bar patrons for underage drinking.

One of New Haven’s newest late-night destinations — which has proven popular with students since it opened this summer — could now face consequences ranging from a fine to a revoked liquor license.

Peter Johnson ’13, who was one of around 50 revelers in Box 63 at the time of the raid, said police entered the bar and went to the booth nearest the stairwell, where they checked identification of several of the youngest-looking patrons. He added that the officers said they were trying to penalize the establishment for selling to underage individuals, and for its second, unmonitored bar.

NHPD spokesman David Hartman, who participated in the raid, said the operation was conducted without force and that no patrons were found to be overly intoxicated. While there is an attendant at the front door checking identification, Hartman said that it is still the server’s responsibility to ensure that customers are of age.

Although some club owners have accused the NHPD in the past of unfairly focusing on particular establishments, he said that the department tries to run liquor enforcement equitably. Hartman added that while the NHPD handles enforcement, Box 63’s ultimate fate lies with the state liquor commission. Depending on the specifics of the case, Hartman said, the commission could dismiss charges against the bar or try to revoke its license in the next few weeks.

Business at the restaurant continued unfazed following the raid, with over 10 people lined up outside in minutes after it ended. Hartman said the NHPD aims to conduct raids as quickly as possible to avoid impeding businesses.

Employees of Box 63 present during the raid declined to comment.

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