MANCHESTER, NH — An illegal after-hours nightclub that on any given night was jammed with 150 to 200 people, according to officials, was shut down for several safety code violations.
The club was located at 167 Hanover St., in the same building where Down the Block convenience store operates, at the corner of Pine Street, according to the fire marshal’s office.
Authorities received complaints of the existence of an unlicensed nightclub located on Pine Street less than a block from Manchester Fire Department headquarters. The City Fire Marshal’s office confirmed that the club was operating between the hours of 2 and 6 a.m. for the past month or so.
At any given time the club was believed to be hosting as many as 200 people inside, according to the investigators. Given the significant life safety hazard along with the history of tragic events stemming from similar situations, including the Station nightclub fire in Rhode Island, enforcement action was taken.
On July 1, the Manchester Fire Department Bureau of Fire Prevention executed an administrative search warrant and conducted a life safety inspection of the area located at the rear of 167 Hanover St. and it was confirmed that this area was operating as an unpermitted, unlicensed nightclub. Assisting the fire department with the inspection was New Hampshire Liquor Enforcement, the Manchester City Clerk’s Office, and the Manchester Police Department.
The Liquor Commission issued the following statement:
Upon entering the unit with Manchester fire, New Hampshire Liquor Commission Division of Enforcement and Licensing staff observed evidence of alcohol and tobacco being sold at the business, which the is not licensed to sell.
The Division subsequently applied and received a criminal search warrant for the business. As a result of the search warrant, several items were seized as evidence of violation of RSA 178: 1 License Required. The Division will be working closely with local law enforcement and prosecutors regarding potential criminal proceedings related to the alcohol and tobacco violations.
According to the city of Manchester tax records, the building has been owned by AFMMEMS Trust since 2011. The owner of the building is reported to be the operator of Down the Block convenience store. The Fire Marshal’s Office said that club space was being rented or leased but was not operated by the property owner.
Below: Interior shots of 167 Hanover St. which has been advertised on Zillow as a convenience store/nightclub.
Several violations of the state of NH Fire Code were identified such as, but not limited to: only a single entrance/exit, no fire alarm or fire sprinkler system present, interior finish issues which would produce large volumes of smoke and rapidly spread a fire if one occurred, improper storage of motorized vehicles and propane tanks inside the establishment and electrical wiring in significant disrepair. The violations resulted in written warnings and documentation, future violations could result in fines.
Upon meeting with the proprietor of the establishment, the significant life safety hazards were discussed and they were ordered to discontinue operations until the space could be brought up to fire and building code(s) and all proper permits and licenses from the City and other entities could be secured.
At this time, the business is closed as the owner is working with Fire Marshals to develop a plan of action to ensure the space is legal, permitted, and most importantly safe for patrons to occupy.
The Tudor Cafe and Front Runner bar occupied the space until about 2009 according to online records. It has previously been advertised as a convenience store/bar.
Manchester Fire Marshal’s Office list some of the guidelines for safety compliance standards, click here.
Anyone with questions, concerns, or tips can contact Manchester Fire at 603-669-2256.