West Hartford's Shish Lounge to Close

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    NEWSLETTERS

    NBCConnecticut.com
    West Hartford's Shish Lounge is set to close at the end of the month.

    West Hartford's Shish Restaurant and Lounge will close its doors at the end of the month.

    The lease expires May 25 and owner Aaron Sarwar said he's decided not to renew.

    Town officials say the establishment, located at 904 Farmington Avenue, has a history of violating zoning regulations by operating as a nightclub.

    Sarwar, on the other hand, says he hasn't received any citations, and tickets he was issued were later rescinded. He explained that the town requested some changes, such as ending bottle service, and said the Shish Lounge complied with those requests.

    "They literally have no ground even to fight me because I haven't even been issued a ticket," Sarwar said in a phone interview Wednesday.

    The state Liquor Control Department has received 11 complaints about the restaurant in the five years it's been open, but Sarwar says those matters were resolved.

    He says police have expressed concern about the restaurant's "Latin Night" and LGBT events and feels singled out.

    "There's obviously discrimination here," Sarwar said. "It's completely obvious."

    The Hartford Courant reports that town officials filed an injunction against the restaurant requesting that the Shish Lounge comply with zoning regulations, but Sarwar said he's giving up the fight and has decided to pursue other interests.

    Sarwar now plans to start an air charter service out of Brainard Airport in Hartford, which will run flights to Martha's Vineyard, Nantucket and Block Island.

    The Shish Lounge will remain open with no cover charge through May 24.

    Sarwar emphasized that the changes will not affect the Shish Kebab House of Afghanistan in the center of town, which his family has owned for years.

    It's not clear what will take over the space Shish Lounge has been renting.