Myst, a new addition to the Crown Street nightclub scene, received a harsh welcome from New Haven police Thursday night when authorities raided the club and found about 20 underage patrons inside, police said.
Following the raid, police ordered all of the clubs on Crown Street, including Alchemy, Gotham Citi, the Sci-Fi Cafe and Funktion, to shut their doors, Alchemy owner Kellie Dilling said. The clubs remained closed for the rest of the night.
“The police came to me and said, ‘You have to shut down your establishment immediately,'” Dilling said.
At about 10:30 p.m., New Haven police turned off the music at Myst and turned up the club’s lights. Police then went from person to person checking IDs, said one of the club’s owners.
All of the underage patrons were expelled from the club but none were charged with underage drinking. One woman was arrested for disorderly conduct after arguing with police. The owner said all of those expelled possessed fake IDs which were confiscated by police and said his doormen could not be expected to weed out every fake ID.
“Thursday night is college night,” the owner said. “What are you going to do? We don’t work at the DMV.”
New Haven police, however, said that several patrons did not possess fake IDs.
“A group of them said they weren’t even carded at the door because they knew the doorman,” New Haven police Sgt. Jason Coenig said.
Coenig said the case would be referred to the Liquor Control Commission, where Myst would get a hearing and possibly a fine. The owner said he expected the case would be resolved in six months to a year.
At about 11:30 p.m., police ordered the other clubs on Crown Street to stop accepting new patrons, Funktion owner Don Prohaski Jr. said.
“They declared Crown Street a public hazard zone,” Prohaski said. “The streets were packed with too many people that the New Haven Police Department thought were underage.”
Prohaski said his own club was raided by the Liquor Control Commission two years ago.
Myst owners said news of the raid, and rumors that the club had been shut down, hurt business Friday night, estimating that the club had lost 250 customers. Myst was nearly empty Saturday night as well.
“Obviously we weren’t strict enough, so we’re going to tighten up our doors,” said the owner, who complained that police harassed his staff during the raid.
Dilling said police raids are fairly common, but she said Alchemy had never experienced the intimidation the Myst owner described.
“[The police] are definitely a presence here,” Dilling said. “But they’ve always been fair with us.”