Controversial Nightclub Shut Down by Code Enforcement

A yellow sign posted by the Wilkes-Barre City Code Enforcement Office says the Ali Baba Lounge is unfit for human hab...

Posted: Feb 18, 2018 12:35 PM
Updated: Feb 18, 2018 12:35 PM

A yellow sign posted by the Wilkes-Barre City Code Enforcement Office says the Ali Baba Lounge is unfit for human habitation and that no one will be allowed in after 5 p.m. Friday.

Calls to the code enforcement officer were not returned so it's unknown what prompted the city to shut it down.

However, the club's owner says it's a minor code issue having to do with a wall.

At Hottle's Restaurant, a few doors down, worker John Marinus says he is friends with the owner and doesn't know why the city would close them down.

"No idea at all. You know, he's a very nice guy. He keeps the place up nice. I have no idea really," said Marinus.

What is known is that this is just more negative attention for a nightclub that seems to continue to draw controversy.

Earlier this month the business drew angry responses from the community for booking a rapper known as Tekashi 6ix9ine for an April appearance. The artist pled guilty to three counts of child pornography.

Last November there was a stabbing outside the club but it did not involve any customers from Ali Baba.

The owner told Newswatch 16 it was a surveillance video from the club that helped police identify a suspect.

Wilkes University is just one block away from Ali Baba.

Sophomore Cassie Bordelean doesn't attend performances there but does go there with friends.

"I don't really go to those because I'm not 21, so that's much a 21 night only. I go on Thursdays when it's 18 to enter, 21 to drink," said Bordelean.

Wilkes senior Michael Henne lives in University Towers and hears a lot of activity coming from there at night.

"Tons of sirens, tons of cop lights, cop cars going in and out, people running back and forth screaming," said Henne.

Newswatch 16 received a statement from the Ali Baba Lounge that states: City officials shut the venue down until a minor code issue is up to date regarding a wall that was taken down. Even though it's a minor issue, we decided to keep the venue closed until this issue is fixed.

The owner of the lounge continued to say that tickets for Saturday's event will be honored at a rescheduled date.

The owners also announced via Facebook post the planned event featuring Tekashi 6ix9ine has been canceled and all tickets have been refunded.

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