Rowdy Boca bar closes as state regulators close in

After complaints, 101 Cantina in downtown Boca Raton closed. Here, authorities respond to reports of a bar fight at the Mexican restaurant/bar in March. Max Jackson, Sun Sentinel correspondent

 

In nine months, Boca Raton's 101 Cantina became a hotspot for a rowdy college crowd — and police. The bar racked up nearly 100 arrests after its doors opened.

And now, just as quickly, 101 Cantina is gone.


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Management officials of the Gainesville-based company that ran the establishment confirmed that their business at 133 SE Mizner Boulevard closed earlier this month but did not respond to questions about the reason why. State records show, however, that regulators were closing in on the business for violations of its liquor license.

On March 20, Cantina's management was given 21 days to respond to the complaints, according to records from the state Department of Business and Professional Regulation, which monitors liquor licenses. They were given the option of asking for a hearing, or admitting the charges and paying a fine of $1,000, according to records.

Their response was not available Monday.

But at least one of the establishment's neighbors said he's been enjoying the relative quiet since the hopping activity there went dark.

"The primary hours of activity were midnight to 2 a.m." said Mark Seigel, 33, a resident of downtown Boca for the past three years. He took his complaints about the bar to the City Council in March. "The activities that were going on were way outside the normal boundaries for a bar," he said, recalling crowds and techno music that spilled into the street.

101 Cantina's Facebook page for its Boca Raton location is still advertising tequila shots, beers and well drinks for $1.01 each.

But a 13-page report from the state agency paints a vivid picture of why crowds lined up to get into the establishment.

Bartenders sometimes failed to ask for identification to verify whether patrons were legal to drink, according to the report. And, in some cases, patrons were allowed to get served even when their identification showed they were not of legal age.

Also, random visits that investigators made to the bar revealed the kitchen was often closed. An audit of the bar's sales from Oct. 1 to Nov. 30 also showed that 27 percent of its sales came from food, even though the terms of 101 Cantina's liquor license requires more than 51 percent of its sales come from food.

Investigators were consistently told the kitchen closed at 10 p.m., according to the report.

Next up at that downtown location: The Filling Station. The signage now up at 133 SE Mizner Boulevard promises a gastropub. Mitchell Kaminsky, who also ran a restaurant called The Mexican at the same location, filed incorporation papers with the state that went into effect April 8.

Staff writer Brett Clarkson contributed to this report

Ageggis@tribune.com, 561-243-6624 or Twitter @AnneBoca