Community Board 3 Panel Backs Liquor Permit For Metrograph Theater

Rendering: Metrograph, 7 Ludlow St.

Rendering: Metrograph, 7 Ludlow St.

A committee of Community Board 3 last night unanimously voted to support a liquor license for the new Metrograph Theater at 7 Ludlow St. Alexander Olch and his partners struck a deal with SPaCE, the local block association, to smooth the way for approval.

The two-screen independent theater includes a ground floor cafe and second floor restaurant. As we reported earlier this month, the restaurant is patterned after the old Hollywood studio commissaries. In fact, it will be called The Commissary. Jake Klein, the food and beverage consultant, was on hand to describe the overall concept. A chef has not yet been hired.

After three meetings with SPaCE, Metrograph agreed to end alcohol service on all nights by 2 a.m. They’ll close windows facing Ludlow Street by 10 p.m. and will make sure exhaust from the kitchen does not reach nearby apartments.

There were about 30 supporters on hand last night. They included the prominent director Deborah Granik (Winter’s Bone), who told the committee it would be invaluable to have a new “non-corporate” independent theater in New York. The programming is “destined to be very thoughtful, she said, “a true gem for filmmakers who flock to New York to make their art.”

David Garza, executive director of Henry Street Settlement, also expressed enthusiastic support. The historic social services and arts institution is partnering with Metrograph for youth and community-based programming. “I have not met a more authentic partner” in recent years, said Garza. “Art is the oxygen a community needs to breath,” he added. There was even testimony from a representative of the French Embassy (Sandrine Butteau of the Department of Cultural Affairs).

No one spoke in opposition.

The committee chair, Alex Militano, voiced concern about vehicle and pedestrian traffic on lower Ludlow Street. There are expected to be some pick-up and drop-offs, especially during premieres and VIP screenings. But Olch said there would be no waiting in line outside. The theater, which will have a reservation system, can accommodate all guests in the lobby.

Metrograph expects to open early next year. The full board will vote later this month before passing on its recommendation to the State Liquor Authority.

This morning, Olch told us, “We were thrilled by the large turnout of support, the speakers who presented, and the unanimous vote in favor by the committee. We’re excited and now even more eager for Metrograph to become a part of the community. Coming soon – in February!”