DOWNTOWN VIOLENCE: Both Rhino and Rox closed this weekend; Rox closing for good in September

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Submitted: Sun, 01/30/2011 - 2:24am
Updated: Mon, 01/31/2011 - 11:48am

WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) – For the first time in a long time, two of Downtown Wilmington’s busiest bars are closed this weekend.

Tuesday, the State Alcoholic Beverage Control Commission yanked The Rhino Club’s alcohol permit, which all but shut the bar down. The action happened one day after a 19-year-old gang leader was stabbed and killed after leaving the club.

Now, Rox owner Paul Ponte tells a local newspaper that he’s closing his bar across the street this weekend out of concern that there could be follow up violence and retaliation for last weekend’s stabbings.

Ponte also says he’ll close Rox for good when the lease is up in September, stating, “He doesn’t want anymore fighting and drama and that he is trying to do the right thing”.


  • Guest says:

    It is so true what grandma said “If you are up after midnight, you are probably up to no good” Amen granny.

  • Guest says:

    Talk about beating the dead horse….First of all, this article has nothing to do with violence downtown like the headline says. It seems as if WWAY is celebrating 2 businesses closing, which ultimately means it’s people losing their jobs & the city losing tax money. Plus, the fact that their will be empty businesses downtown. Is there anything positive or really newsworthy coming out of this story?????
    OH YEAH, and you totally ripped off the Star News who reported this exact same information with the exact same quotes more than 24 hours before you did. Come on Scott, if you want downtown to turn into a ghost town then think about the fact that half of your news stories will not exist anymore

  • Guestmike says:

    Not sure how else the public would have known these two bars closed this weekend.

    It also shows the bar owners is a different light. I think while ignorant, some view all the bar owners downtown as (make money at any and all costs individuals). So, this at least shows that it is not true for all.

  • c_wilson says:

    As you look at history,when something bad happens , then something changes, some good, some badd, But as clubs and and business in the Wilmington area have done before, not to make this a black and white issue, but that is what it really comes to . Not all the time does trouble follow when the black youth are around, and these things about gangs, you feed to much into these children mostly of broken home and low income ways of living , so they come together as a family to each other , thats where the media comes with the word gang( in most story,,,not always so).But we as a people need to find better ways to handle these children cryin out for help. And why was there not the police outside of the club that nite of this stabbing, as they are in past times , there is alot of the story not being told. If the club owner have to do there part ,then so does the city as a hold….

  • Guest says:

    …Mr. Ponte speaks of closing his bar in September to help bring peace/calm to the downtown area. It’s a shame he has to close his club due to some knuckleheads. It would be nice if his landlord allowed him to break his lease earlier than September; since he’s closing the club to help bring peace to the downtown area. Good job Mr. Ponte I commend you for your actions.

  • Guest321 says:

    It is very scary that the Rhino club has been shut down and now Rox is closing. The majority of incidents downtown happen in or just outside of these two establishments. Since businesses cannot discriminate against patrons, all of these thugs will just disperse to all the other bars and clubs downtown.

  • Guest says:

    no they won’t bc 2 things are for certain… #1, the other clubs will make up/enforce unreasonable, discriminatory rules to keep ppl they think are like that out, and #2, those ppl don’t really want to party/mingle with the typical dwntwn crowd anyway. Most dwntwn bar patrons club-hop; these patrons do not. they only ever went to either the rhino or the rox, and they never cared what else was going on dwntwn because they never felt welcome at the other clubs. And they never were, which was cause for Wilm police to execute loitering laws because a lot of rhino/rox patrons were standing outside the clubs due to the clubs reaching max capacity and not being permitted to enter other bars. In a nutshell, the rhino/rox patrons would rather drive to myrtle beach and not be ostracized than to waste their whole night figuring out which wilm. bar will let them in.

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