CB3 Approves New Liquor Licensing Rules

CB3 held hearings on liquor licensing policy last summer and fall.

Last night Community Board 3 voted to put in place comprehensive new policies that could have a dramatic impact on the nightlife industry on the Lower East Side for years to come.  The revised rules, governing how CB3’s SLA Committee evaluates liquor license applications, are intended to streamline and standardize a process that has been harshly criticized by bar owners and community activists alike as inconsistent and capricious.

Reversing a decision made at the committee level last week, the full board decided to phase out the controversial practice of automatically transferring licenses from one operator to another. During a heated meeting last Wednesday, CB3 member and bar owner David McWater persuaded his colleagues to make the practice official community board policy. But last night, key members of the panel changed their minds. Acting on a proposal from longtime CB3 member David Crane, the full board then voted 37-0-3-1, to throw out the automatic transfer language (there were 3 abstentions; one member did not vote).

Food Wire: Eddie Huang, Stellina, Peels, Meatball Shop, Bowery Beef, Above Allen

Meatball Shop owners Michael Chernow & Daniel Holzman shortly after setting up shop last spring.

Here’s the midweek roundup of food news around the neighborhood.

  • LES “food personality” Eddie Huang makes Time, whose Josh Ozersky asserts: “Huang gets by on a cocktail of personality, hustle, some luck, some cooking ability, but most of all a really compelling ability to communicate who he is to the world.”
  • The NYT’s FloFab says Stellina, the new dessert parlor by the folks at Sorella, will open Sunday on Allen Street.
  • In a one-year anniversary Q&A with Eater, Meatball Shop guys Michael Chernow and Daniel Holzman dish on their expansion to Williamsburg and the West Village, and how they feel about imitators.

Gallery and Artist Studio Tour for Families Offered

The site-specific arts collective, No Longer Empty, will offer a LES gallery and artist studio tour for families on March 6th.  As part of the Family Programming for this year’s Armory Show, No Longer Empty will lead a tour in Chelsea as well as the LES. They write, “No Longer Empty wants the experience of studio visits to take people into the heart of the creative process.

EV Death Investigation, Mendez on Smoking Ban, Sky Boys Entertains

  • More on the death of Grace Farrell, the woman whose body was found outside St. Brigid’s Church Sunday; if the medical examiner finds she died from the cold, it would be the first such case in the city this year (NYT).
  • Councilmember Rosie Mendez explains why she voted against the mayor’s smoking ban (NY1).

CB3 Votes Down Automatic Transfer of Liquor Licenses

Later today, we’ll have a detailed report on Community Board 3’s decision last night regarding the automatic transfer of liquor licenses from one operator to another.  Last week, at the urging of bar owners serving on the board, a CB3 committee decided to make the longstanding practice official policy. But in the course of yesterday’s dramatic meeting that decision was reversed.

Some committee members said they felt intimidated and/or confused during last week’s contentious meeting laying out the new policies and had decided to change their votes during the full board session.

Two members, Ariel Palitz and Meghan Joye (both bar owners) chose not to vote, after they were told they could face “conflict of interest” complaints if they weighed in on the controversial matter.

In the end, CB3 approved sweeping new policies affecting every aspect of the liquor license approval process. More later.

Good Morning!

Nerd Heaven

Inside Chinatown Fair, 8 Mott Street, one of the last old school arcades on the east coast. Last week there were reports the legendary venue might be forced to close. Photo by Margot Wood.

Warmer today and sunny. Look for a high of 43.  Rain is in the forecast tomorrow.