Brian Plavnick, owner of G-Force Adventure Center in Brewer. Credit: Linda Coan O'Kresik / BDN

Bangor city councilors unanimously granted a local entertainment business a conditional special amusement permit allowing it to offer live performances and dancing after a well-attended public hearing.

G-Force Entertainment, located in the Bangor Mall, offers live music, dancing and karaoke as well as laser tag, ax throwing, corn hole and arcade games. Perhaps most notably, last summer G-Force hosted Fetty Wap, an American rapper who rose to the top of music charts in 2015 with his “Trap Queen” single.

The condition on G-Force’s new special amusement license requires the owners to meet with the Bangor police chief, the city’s code enforcement officer and city solicitor within 30 days to ensure the business’ bolstered security measures are addressing the city’s concerns of overconsumption and disorderly behavior at the business.

The need for improved safety measures arose following a disorderly conduct incident late last month.

About 16 people spoke during the public hearing Monday night in support of G-Force, including employees past and present, people who have performed there, and people who frequent the entertainment hub.

Several speakers said the only reason they visit Bangor is to come to G-Force, and if it closes, they likely won’t return. Others discussed how the business and the customers it draws has breathed new life into the struggling Bangor Mall. More pointed to how owner Brian Plavnick employs several people with special needs who may have struggled to find a job elsewhere.

Though G-Force obtained a city liquor license when it moved from its original Brewer location to the Bangor Mall in 2021, it never applied for a special amusement permit, which allows the business to host live performances and dancing, according to Lisa Goodwin, Bangor City Clerk.

The business has a state entertainment license, but was unaware that a local permit was also required, Plavnick wrote in a statement.

“In the two times we got the (state) license, no one informed us we needed one from the city too,” Plavnick wrote.

The issue of Plavnick’s missing permit arose after Bangor police responded to someone firing a gun in the Bangor Mall parking lot where G-Force patrons park on Feb. 26 at 1 a.m., according to Bangor Police Chief Mark Hathaway.

Though the people who had fired the gun had left when police arrived, officers spoke to G-Force patrons and staff and learned there had been a dispute between patrons inside G-Force before the shooting, Hathaway said.

Following a disorderly conduct situation involving a business, Hathaway said he checks with the city to ensure the business has the necessary permits in place so police can work with the owner to prevent future incidents.

After the business was told they needed a permit, the owner applied for one, Goodwin said.

Standard procedure requires the city council to hold a public hearing then give final approval for any special amusement permit, Goodwin said.

The Plavnicks met with Hathaway and the Bangor city solicitor and code enforcement officer earlier this month to discuss Hathaway’s concerns about on-premises overconsumption and disorderly conduct and steps the business could take to enhance safety for G-Force employees and patrons, Hathaway said.

Those steps include bolstering bag checks when people enter the business, improving training for security officers and alcohol servers and fixing their video surveillance system.

“We’re not expecting anything more from the Plavnicks than what we’d expect from any other business,” Hathaway said.

Despite lacking the necessary permit, Goodwin didn’t know of any citations G-Force may have received from the city in recent years.

In the meantime, Plavnick said the company has canceled several upcoming live music performances and refunded the tickets.

“This ‘shut down’ of entertainment has cost us tens of thousands of dollars,” Plavnick wrote in a statement. “We are unsure if we can recover.”

City councilors also gave final approval for the Community Connector bus system to switch from a flag-stop system to a fixed-stop system after a 2019 transit study said a fixed-stop system would increase efficiency, predictability and reliability for riders.

Kathleen O'Brien is a reporter covering the Bangor area. Born and raised in Portland, she joined the Bangor Daily News in 2022 after working as a Bath-area reporter at The Times Record. She graduated from...