It was a rough night at Community Board 3’s March liquor license hearing for the New Kings of New York Nightlife. Mark Birnbaum and Eugene Remm of the EMM Group wanted the board’s blessing to move the dance floor at their huge Bowery club, Finale, to the ground floor (from the basement). The committee voted 5-2 (with one member abstaining) against the application.
Residents of 199 Bowery, where the club is located, have filed a lawsuit against the EMM Group, claiming that late night noise and crowds have made their lives miserable. More than a dozen opponents of the club testified last night. Committee Chair Alex Militano says Remm and Birnbaum appear to have pulled off a “bait and switch,” promising to open a “bar/restaurant/bakery/lounge” and then morphing into a full-fledged night club. In their defense, the nightlife impresarios said they were making a real effort to address resident concerns. They said there’s an adjustment period any time a club opens. CB3’s full board will vote on the application later this month before forwarding a recommendation to the State Liquor Authority.
Other news from last night’s meeting:
- Stephen Michael Rondel and Tyler Maganzini won approval for a beer and wine permit at 21 Clinton Street, the former home of the Living Theatre. Rondel’s New Acting Company was forced out of its Sullivan Street home after 12 years when the Children’s Aid Society sold its building. The new venue will be called The Celebration of Whimsy (COW Theater). It will be a full-service facility with professional productions, theater classes for kids and adults, all-day summer camps and a children’s theater. Rondel said the alcohol license will help pay the rent (the team recently signed a 10 year lease). Beer and wine will be sold from a concession in the lobby.
- Rizzo’s Fine Pizza of Astoria got the board’s blessing for a wine and beer permit at 17 Clinton Street, the former home of Frankie’s Sputino. The original location has been open since 1959. The idea is to bring the popular thin crust recipe to the Lower East Side, pairing it with a wine and beer bar.
- The committee signed off on a beer/wine license for Irving Farm, which has taken over the popular coffee shop 88 Orchard. Irving Farm has three other Manhattan locations, including 71 Irving Place, 27 West 20th Street and 224 West 79th Street.
- James Hendrick and Scott Garry got to go-ahead for a wine/beer license at 123 Allen Street. The name on the application is “Antler Dispensary Inc.” The applicants originally wanted to open the business on 3rd Avenue but were rejected by Community Board 6. Hendrick said the plan is to operate a low-key neighborhood wine bar, “a nice warm space for people to come after work where there’s positive energy.”
- Christian Lofaro won permission for a full bar at 74 Orchard Street, currently Interstate Food & Liquor. As we reported last week, current owner Andy Boose decided to sell the 18-month old business to focus on other ventures. The new place, Tenement LES, will feature a creative comfort food menu with, ahem, “early American immigrant” touches. The team from the Redhead, on East 13th Street, is helping create the menu. Lofaro has been reaching out to neighborhood institutions such as the Tenement Museum and might form some partnerships for special events.