CB3 Liquor Licensing Committee: The DL, Lo-Fi, Zoe and More

The DL, 95 Delancey Street.

Here’s a wrap-up of last night’s CB3 liquor licensing hearing. The most time-consuming and contentious applications concerned above-Houston establishments. You can read all about the latest Community Board 3 rejection of 200 Avenue A (formerly Superdive) and the angst about a new license at “Bikinis,” 56 Avenue C in EV Grieve and The Local EV. As usual, we’ll concentrate on the below Houston applications.

The new team from the Ludlow Manor (now called “The DL”) came back the CB3’s SLA Committee in search of an expanded liquor permit for their third floor roof lounge. The big club, located at the corner of Delancey and Ludlow streets, got a license for the ground floor restaurant last May (although the restaurant wasn’t operational – serving food until this month). So far the community board and the State Liquor Authority have balked at granting the huge nightlife venue more liquor licenses (officially the SLA has listed the additional license as “pending.”)

All-in-all, things could have gone a lot worse for the new general manager (and partner) Paul Seres, who just happens to be head of the New York Nightlife Association. In the end, committee members asked the team to withdraw their application and come back in a month, after establishing some credibility in the neighborhood. There was overall agreement that Seres’ involvement in the troubled business is a good sign for the future. But after numerous past misrepresentations about Ludlow Manor’s intentions, Committee Chair Alex Militano was in no mood to vote in favor of the application now.

Seres made many of the same points he covered in an interview with The Lo-Down several days ago. he also pointed out that there has been no neighborhood opposition to the bar, which was opened by the same team behind “The Delancey.” Not a single resident came to last night’s meeting to protest the application.

Before the next meeting, Seres said he would write up proposed “stipulations,” spelling out agreements between “The DL” and the community board. One concession they’re apparently willing to make: agreeing not to seek a license for the time being in the second floor lounge (a space once operated by lady Gaga’s ex, Luc Carl).

There were other applications last night that caught our interest:

  • The operators of Lo-Fi, a bar and restaurant taking over the “White Star” space at 21 Essex Street described their plans for a new bar that will offer sandwiches cooked in a crockpot. After hearing complaints from neighbors about late night noise coming from White Star the committee passed a resolution calling on the bar to close at 2 a.m., rather than 4 a.m. Their attorney said the stipulation would diminish the partners’ investment and he advised them not to sign the proposed agreement.
  • Zoe Feigenbaum (Zoe, 245 Eldridge) appeared before the panel in a passionate appeal to upgrade her beer/wine license to full liquor. She said the extra revenue the restaurant (which opened last fall) would earn from being able to serve hard liquor is critical to her long-term sustainability. A representative of the block association appeared as well, saying neighbors support Zoe but were concerned what would happen if and when another operator takes over the license sometime in the future. The committee approved the application, with a 2 a.m. closing time.
  • Matthew Suchomski, who’s taking over “The Orchard” space at 162 Orchard Street made his pitch for a full liquor license. Right now he operates “No. 7,” in Brooklyn and has experience working for the Frank Empire. He said the establishment would be a restaurant, not a bar. The committee approved the application with a 4am closing time.
  • Joe Latimore went before the board to ask for a full liquor license at 96 Orchard Street, a narrow garden level space across from the Tenement Museum. “The Little Fox” will offer lunch and dinner 7 nights a week (sandwiches, soups, some entrees; there’s no formal kitchen). The committee agreed to upgrade the license here from wine/beer to full bar. Latimore, who owns panda at 139 Chrystie, said he wanted to offer something different on the block since “Top Hops” (right next door) is a bit hard to compete with in the beer category.  The restaurant will be open until 2am on weekends. Latimore expects to open in about two weeks.