CB3 Panel Supports Liquor Licenses for Mexicue, Experimental Cocktail Club, Rivington Japanese Spot

Food truck Mexicue signed a lease for 2,000 square feet on Forsyth Street.

Eater sweated it out at last night’s Community Board 3 meeting, listening as a couple of dozen liquor license applicants outlined their plans for new restaurants and bars on the Lower East Side.

According to their report, the French team behind Experimental Cocktail Club won support for their plan to take over the Kush space at 191 Chrystie. They are apparently dreaming up some recipes paying homage to the neighborhood’s culinary roots, including a pickled martini and a smoked salmon bloody mary.

The panel also signaled its approval for Saro (the Eastern European bistro at 102 Norfolk) to upgrade to a full bar.   Mexicue, which plans to open a spot at 106 Forsyth, got the go-ahead for a beer/wine license. Same goes for Gaia, the Italian cafe on East Houston, and Top Hops, a craft beer take-out shop (with a tasting table) going into 94 Orchard.

The committee signed off on the transfer of a wine/beer license from the defunct Sushi Uo (151 Rivington) to Yopparari, also a Japanese restaurant. According to their application, the menu includes Japanese noodles, rice, tofu, fish and grilled meats.  This place plans to be open for dinner until 2 a.m.

The CB3 committee’s recommendations must now be approved by the full board.  The State Liquor Authority has the final say; community board opinions are one of many factors the SLA commissioners consider.


Irish Pub Owners Set Sights on 10 Delancey Street

Coming up Monday, it’s the Valentine’s Day Massacre, otherwise known as Community Board 3’s SLA Committee meeting.  How romantic!

Here’s one application that’s bound to attract some attention from the committee. Agenda item #19 — a request from brothers Martin and Mark Whelan for a full bar at 10-12 Delancey Street, the tenement next to the Bowery Ballroom.  These guys are best known for Irish pubs like Stout NYC (the “Superdome of taverns”) in Herald Square, St. Andews and Maggie’s Place.

They want to call their Lower East Side bar One Mile House (sound familiar, Bowery history buffs?). There would be 17 tables, a 20 seat bar and a backyard patio.  On their application, the food is described as “comfort/gastropub” fare. The bar would be open from noon-4am daily.

CB3’s SLA Committee meeting takes place Monday at 630pm, at the JASA/Green Houses, 200 East 5th Street.

CB3 SLA Update: Tough Going for Eddie Huang’s New Venture, Freemans Prevails Again

Two-and-a-half hours into CB3’s SLA Committee hearing, they’ve already breezed through 10 out of 32 applications. The highlights so far:

Eddie Huang of Baohaus was not in the house as the committee scrutinized his proposal for Xiao Ye. His brother, however, agreed to withdraw the application for a Taiwanese spot at 198B Orchard, after CB3 members questioned why the owners didn’t reach out to the neighborhood block association.  That will give them time to consult with residents. Committee Chair Alexandra Militano did not pass up the opportunity to needle brother Huang about the original business name, Crackhaus, which was rejected by the state. But he argued Xiao Ye will be a serious dining establishment, pointing out that Baohaus has won rave reviews from food critics.

CB3’s July Agenda: Liquor License Applications

Community Board 3 is out with its agenda for next month's meetings, including the SLA (State Liquor Authority) Committee. Here's a look at the LES restaurants and bars that will be applying for or trying to upgrade liquor licenses:

  • Mason Dixon, 133 Essex. Requesting a full liquor license/outdoor space. The committee will review complaint history.
  • Sushi Hana, 111 Rivington. Requesting wine license. Restaurant is in the "resolution area," in which new licenses are severely restricted.
  • Jehan LLC (Regate), 198B Orchard. Requesting a full liquor license – this is a transfer.
  • Jama Restaurant Corp (Recoup), 210 Rivington. Application to transfer a full liquor license to new ownership.
  • Allen & Delancey, 115 Allen Street. Request to extend hours, full liquor license.
  • 169 Bar, 169 East Broadway. Application to add full liquor service in the backyard.
  • Guapo Bodega LLC, 146 Essex. Request for a full liquor license.
  • Koi NY Downtown LLC, 347 Bowery. Full liquor license.
  • Delancey 66 Spirits LLC, 66 Delancey. Full liquor license.

The committee will meet July 20th, 630pm, at the JASA/Green Residence, 200 East 5th Street.

Falai Prevails Before Community Board 3


Community Board 3 signaled its support tonight of the Clinton Street restaurant "Falai's" application to upgrade to a full liquor license. Earlier this month, the CB3 committee that evaluates liquor licenses deadlocked on the Falai application. In spite of the fact that there's a moratorium on new licenses in the area, some board members argued an exception should be made in this case because the restaurant is "world renowned" and it has been a good neighbor. The committee chair, Alexandra Militano, argued vigorously against the approval. She said Clinton Street is overcrowded and overwhelmed largely due to "successful" businesses like Falai. Unlike most other restaurants on the block, however, Falai is only able to serve wine. Representatives of the restaurant have argued that, in a tough economy, they need the additional revenue a full liquor license would provide. The application now goes to the State Liquor Authority.

There was lots of other news at tonight's Community Board meeting, including the re-election of Dominic Pisciotta as chairman and the announcement that funds have been approved to give Luther Gulick Park a much needed facelift. More details tomorrow.

Grand Park Wins Approval of Community Board Committee

A month after he withdrew his application due to concerns about late night noise, Jesse Hartman won the approval of a Community Board 3 committee tonight for a new restaurant at 365 Grand Street. The committee signaled its support for a full liquor license for "Grand Park," a small plates Italian restaurant that will feature a glass enclosed patio. Last month three or four residents spoke out against the project, fearing that the noise from the patio would reverberate up to their apartments in the Seward Park Co-op. But since then, Hartman has been building support in the community and he had an architect draw up plans for a sound-proofed enclosure. About 10 supporters showed up tonight, including the moderators of two neighborhood message boards and the owner of another restaurant a short distance away on Grand Street, Roots & Vines. The supporters told the committee they welcomed the addition of a good restaurant that will breath some life into a part of the street that's all but deserted after dusk. There was no opposition to the restaurant whatsoever, although committee members did express small reservations about a nearby school. The resolution they passed requires Hartman to close his windows after 10pm.

Also tonight, the committee rejected a request from the highly rated Clinton Street restaurant Falai for a full liquor license. The owner of Falai said it was necessary to upgrade from a license that permits the sale of wine only due to the tough economic climate. But Alexandra Militano, chair of the committee, insisted on upholding the community board's resolution severely restricting new liquor licenses in an area of the LES over-saturated with bars and restaurants.

And then there was the continuing saga surrounding the unfinished shell at 179 Ludlow, which, the owners promise, will one day be a boutique hotel. They went before the committee for a third time, pleading their case for a liquor license for a hypothetical restaurant in the, so far, hypothetical hotel. Militano and District Manager Susan Stetzer reminded them about the building's sordid past – a rat infestation, building code violations, etc. – and sent them packing.

We'll have more on all of this tomorrow.

Committee to Review Grand Park Application Tonight


This evening, Jesse Hartman will return to the Community Board 3 committee that reviews liquor licenses, hoping the second time will be a charm. Last month, he withdrew his request for a liquor license for a proposed restaurant at 365 Grand Street, due to opposition from several LES residents. The concerns centered around the potential for noise coming from the restaurant’s backyard, which is in the shadow of the Seward Park Co-op. There were also reservations about the proposed closing time (4am) but Hartman has expressed a willingness to compromise on that issue.

The previous tenant of 365 Grand, “Isabella’s Oven,” used the open air patio, which is adjacent to the Seward Park handball courts. But Hartman said he plans to enclose the backyard.  A couple of residents who were present at last month’s meeting asserted that the enclosure would not help muffle the noise. At the suggestion of the committee, Hartman has used the past month to build support for his project in the community and to have an architect draw up plans for the backyard enclosure.

Court Ruling Could Lead to More Bar Sprawl

A recent court ruling could make it more difficult for community groups to oppose bars and restaurants seeking liquor licenses. State Senator Daniel Squadron is drafting legislation that would clarify the intent of the so-called "500 foot rule," which limits the number of liquor licenses that can be issued by the state. Downtown Express has more.

Acrimonious Evening at the CB3 Licensing Committee

Residents of the Lower East side came out in force last night to oppose several restaurants seeking liquor licenses. It was a tense night full of face to face confrontations between those residents and restaurant owners. Community Board 3 members serving on the alcohol licensing committee struggled to find the right balance between the two groups.

The largest and most organized opposition came from the residents surrounding a new restaurant planned for the corner of Essex and Canal. As we reported Sunday, the East Canal Neighborhood Association is determined to prevent their block from becoming a “mini-Ludlow,” littered with bars, plagued with late night noise and bursting with drunken crowds. The restaurant’s backers own the building, and have leased space to a green grocer and a shoe store. They hope to open a “family friendly” restaurant patterned after the restaurant at the Inn at Irving Place, which they also own. In explaining their rationale for a full liquor license, they said they wanted to attract a “European clientele.”


The residents, many of whom live in the luxury building next door, 7 Essex, complained that the concept sounded too much like Les Enfants Terribles, the restaurant and popular late night hangout at the opposite end of the block. Committee member Meghan Joye said, as a bar owner and mother,  she resented the fact that the group presented letters from school principals and mothers concerned about the restaurant’s impact on their kids. Joye added, “they’re not going to be selling coke on the street.”

Chair Alexandra Militano said the overwhelming opposition left the committee with little choice but to reject the liquor license application but she called the predicament “unfortunate.” She said it was extraordinary that the owners had found a grocer to move into the building – no landlord wants a grocery, “they don’t make money,” she said. The applicant said finding quality tenants had been difficult – only fast food operations like KFC and Dunkin’ Donuts had expressed interest.

Amy Carlson, representing the residents responded that they had no desire “to do a disservice to the community.” But she also said they did not want to negotiate a compromise. The committee scolded both sides for failing to work out their differences in advance.

Restaurants Face Strong Community Opposition at CB3 Meeting

It was a tough night for restaurants going before the liquor licensing committee of Community Board 3. Several businesses applying for liquor licenses faced forceful opposition from residents and, in some cases, from committee members.

  • The committee rejected a full liquor license for a restaurant at the corner of Essex & Canal, after a community organization presented a large number of signatures opposing the application. But some board members made it clear they felt the community's objections were "unfortunate." The backers of the restaurant also own the building – and have leased space to a green grocer. They said it's tough to find quality tenants at the location. 
  • Also due to community opposition, Jesse Hartman, who wants to open a restaurant at 365 Grand, withdrew his request. He said he would work with residents to alleviate concerns about noise and about his proposed 4am closing time.
  • The committee denied a liquor license to T Poutine on Ludlow Street.
  • Spitzer's corner was denied its request to add sidewalk seating.

Throughout the evening there was quite a lot of tension among members of the committee, residents fed up with late night noise and partying and restaurant owners who say they can't survive without a robust bar business. Much more to come tomorrow…

Life of the Party: Canadian Obsession Poutine Takes on Ludlow Street

Poutine1 More than 20 restaurants seeking liquor licenses or trying to renew or modify their licenses will go before a committee of Community Board 3 tonight. We've already told you (ad nauseum) about two of them, Grand Park and a "Jewish fusion" restaurant at Essex and Canal. There's another restaurant that caught our eye: "T Poutine," at 168 Ludlow. 

What is poutine, you ask? We headed to the restaurant's web site for some answers: "Poutine is a dish consisting of french fries topped with fresh cheese curds and gravy… it is quintessential Canadian comfort food, especially but not exclusively, among Quebecois." A New York Times article a couple of years ago noted that poutine "goes deep into the Quebequois psyche." Sure, some Canadians are a bit embarrassed about this caloric creation. But when the CBC conducted a poll on the greatest Canadian inventions of all time, poutine beat out the electron microscope, the BlackBerry, the paint roller and the
caulking gun, lacrosse, plexiglass, radio voice transmission and

But in spite of its status as a beloved national treasure up north, "T Poutine" could very well run afoul of the community board. It just so happens that its location, on Ludlow between Stanton and Houston, is already home to at least seven bars or restaurants. "T Poutine" is not asking for a full liquor license – wine only. But these selling points on their web site are unlikely to sway many members of CB3: poutine "is becoming a sort of traditional ending to an evening out on the town or clubbing… we will maintain a trendy, hip environment that caters to the patrons who live and entertain in neighborhoods with bustling nightlife and destination spots."



One footnote: we couldn't help notice the "apartment for rent" sign above "T Poutine." On Misrahi Realty's web site, they're advertising  one bedroom apartments at 168 Ludlow, priced between $2195-$2395. Ten out of 17 apartments have already been rented! Prospective tenants might want to check out the building's soundproofing.

Monday News Links

The MTA Board meets today to vote on a "scaled back" package of fare increases.

Sheldon Silver "has it easy," Senate Majority Leader Malcolm Smith says. In a New York Times story on the difficulty the Democratic Majority is having in Albany, Smith spoke of Silver's lopsided advantage in the Assembly: “He can pontificate, he can change his mind, he can dance, he
can sit still…because at the end of the day, he has
60 or 70 members that don’t have to stand up and take a position on

"The Home Base Project," an exhibition built around a dozen artists' interpretation of "home," is staged in an abandoned medical clinic on East Broadway.

David & Jody Rodriguez are not your grandfather's idea of a Lower East Side hatmaker.

Tonight Community Board 3's liquor licensing committee holds its monthly meeting. As we reported yesterday, a new restaurant at the corner of Essex and Canal faces opposition from a neighborhood group. We'll have a full report after the meeting.

Residents Oppose New Restaurant on Canal Street

A neighborhood group on Canal Street is mobilizing to oppose a new restaurant’s quest for a liquor license, saying they don’t want to see their block become a “bar scene.” The owners of the restaurant at 1 Essex (Essex & Canal) and their detractors will go before the liquor licensing committee of Community Board 3 tomorrow night.

The committee, noting no opposition from the community, signaled its support last month for a license to sell wine only.  The application for “1 Essex” was mistakenly removed from the published agenda and then added back on shortly before the meeting began. Amy Carlson, speaking for the neighborhood group, appealed to the full board of CB3, arguing that they would have showed up to voice their opposition if they’d known the application was being considered.  CB3 District Manager Susan Stetzer says the restaurant withdrew its application and will re-apply for a full liquor license tomorrow night.

The backers of the restaurant own the Inn at Irving Place, which includes the cocktail lounge Cibar. They did not return our phone calls. But in their original application, they said the new venture will be a  family friendly restaurant emphasizing organic food (“Jewish fusion,” they called it), not a nightlife destination catering to hipsters in search of the latest hot spot. See our previous coverage here and here.

Liquor License Roulette: Community Board 3 Releases May Agenda

Community Board 3 is out with its May agenda. That means we now know which restaurants and bars will go before the liquor licensing committee with applications. Here's the rundown- we'll followup with more details in the days ahead:

  • Spitzer's Corner, 101 Rivington (new unenclosed)
  • Tpoutine, 168 Ludlow (wine)
  • Sorella, 95 Allen (upgrade to full liquor license)
  • Rivington Wine & Cheese, 155 Rivington (full liquor license)
  • Grotto, 100B Forsyth (upgrade to full liquor license)
  • 1 Essex (full liquor license)
  • Grand Park, 365 Grand (full liquor license)
  • Fuzhou Fishball, 107 East Broadway (beer)
  • Sun Shine 27, 46 Bowery (wine)

New Restaurant Seeks to Replace Isabella’s on Grand Street


There are petitions in a few of the businesses on Grand Street seeking the community’s support for a new restaurant called “Grand Park.” You guessed it: this is where “Isabella’s Oven” used to be, 365 Grand Street. You’ll recall, Isabella’s was evicted by the building’s owners, the Seward Park Co-op board — and then someone smashed the place to smithereens (review the whole saga here and here.)

The petition from Jesse Hartman (of Two Boots?) says he plans an “elegant eating counter/bar” and a “beautiful patio and garden.” “Grand Park” plans to serve Italian tapas (cicchetti), salads, sandwiches and grilled items. Hartman wants to serve wine, beer and cocktails. The restaurant hopes to replicate European style dining – serving food late.

According to the State Liquor Authority’s web site, 365 Grand’s current liquor license expires in 2010. Isabella’s was only permitted to serve wine and beer – no cocktails. Hartman will go before Community Board 3’s licencing committee next month. In the petition he points out that he is a longtime Lower East Side resident and pledges to be “the best neighbor I can be.”