Controversial Nightclub Shut Down by Code Enforcement

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WILKES-BARRE -- 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.


  • GFYS

    Please correct me if I’m wrong. First, I have to explain my youth and music scene in WB. Keep in mind most youth identify with the music they listen to, and more importantly, are influenced by it. It’s a fact of life. When I was an adolescence, late teen, and early 20 something (now 40), I went to a variety of venues in WB (homebase, mantis green, the sterling, sea-seas, kingston firehouse, etc. etc…) At that time the NEPA music scene was inundated by punk/hardcore. You have to understand, the bands and the message they sent were mostly about being a better human being. Whether it was critically challenging the government, human rights, woman rights, animal rights. Most bands that played were “straight edge”, meaning they advocated a lifestyle absent of drugs, alcohol, and promiscuous sex. At that time the biggest problem with the youth and law enforcement was skateboarding on the square (skateboarding was a part of the punk/hardcore culture). It was all about being positive and becoming better as a human being. That was the message.

    Now, back to the Ali Baba lounge. They bring in artists who’s message is, imho, basically the opposite of that when I was a youth. Rather than treat each other with respect, improve your life, become a better human being, etc. – Those artists in the gansta rap scene advocate selling drugs, rob people, abusing “disobedient” women, crimes, etc… Whatever it takes to gain material possession. I know this because my daughter is 12, she goes to plain jr. high school, and all her friends listen to this. I once asked her how she feels about the rap lyrics she listened to. Meaning, most lyrics say (and perhaps i’m generalizing) the artist grew up with nothing, had a crappy childhood, parents didn’t give a care- but look at me now! I’m overcome those obstacles (usually not legally) and now that I’m a famous rapper, I got expensive cars, expensive watches, expensive clothes.. and you don’t. I asked my daughter if she felt the rap artist is actually putting down their audience by saying “I have material thinks and you don’t”. In other words, I’m great and you are a loser. I said, if i were buying the artists songs, I’d feel insulted. Here is someone bragging about the things they have- and putting down those who don’t have those things. Most lyrics I’ve read, ultimately come down to I have this, I have that, and you have nothing. So you suck. Also, I’ve gained those things by proudly being a thug. And living the thug life. Insinuating that the only you can accomplish having things is to live the thug life. Is that the message we want to send our youth? “You are a loser, your family isn’t there for you, and the only way you can get ahead, socially, is by being a thug”?

    I’ll take the punk/hardcore scene about improving your life by being smart, living a drug free life, respecting women, respecting each other over the thug life. Unfortunately, that seems to be the reality today, which the Ali Baba venue brings in thug artists… what do you think the outcome? Its a cultural issue. Its time to consider what out children listen to, and be involved- inform them that gansta life works only out for a few select individuals who get record contracts, but much like the NFL, there is a 1 in a million chance your kids will be able to follow that path. Please teach your children that the thug life isn’t the quick way to gain social status and material things. But rather, having a nice, loving and caring family is first and foremost. Getting educated, obtaining a good, satisfying job, is the ultimate support system for your family. Do better than your parents, and make sure your kids do better than you. Sure, material things are great, but life is soooo much more rewording when you improve family life.

    • I agree but....

      The problem is everyone is quick to blame someone else. There’s no accountability any which direction.

      • Eddy's Tattoo

        Yeah, the people to blame are the participants, themselves. It is a culture of entitlement after decades of paying off teenage mothers and absentee fathers. From housing to cash allotments, “T hese P eople” believe that they deserve to be cared for. Very much like slave owners fed, clothed, housed, and provided medical care for their property. These folks, however, do nothing to “earn” this care. They just have babies as an industry and career choice and taxpayers support them without batting an eyelash. Crazy, huh?

  • Ali Please reopen soon!

    Anyone that thinks Ali Baba closing is a good thing is an absolute moron!
    Ali Babba provides a valuable service to the community by giving a place for the hood rats and mud sharks to congregate and have a good time, all the while under the watchful eye of the 2 Wilkes barre police officers that are stationed inside the venue. The officers gather information on these drug dealers with ease as the they willingly hand their ID to be scanned which saves the info…shows u how stupid these thugs really are!
    So next time u cheer for places such as Ali babba being shut down think about how many thugs and 300lb hoochie mamma’s would be sitting next to you at your local bar!

  • Hoodrats

    Code enforcement would have been ok with 39 thieves but when the number hit 40, it was clearly a safety violation for the patrons and general public alike.

      • wnepcommenter

        The point I was making (which you clearly missed) is that all businesses exist because of their customers. Also, it really is ‘any other business’ as it operates to make a profit based off a market. You may not like the business (and I’m not saying I do either in this case) but you can’t just change the definition.

      • Stop Already

        Did you ever realize how many of your mindless posts require you to go back and try to explain what you were trying to say? Then your explanation makes no sense either. That should tell you that you’re not good at getting a simple point across. Time for you to move on to another site.

      • Stop Already

        Says the clown who needs multiple posts to make one of his idiotic points. No, you’re not smarter than anyone else here. You think you are and there lies the problem. We see that a lot with narcissistic types. You think a lot of words mean you’re smarter than the rest. Just the opposite is true.

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