CB3’s January Liquor License Agenda

White Slab Palace, 77 Delancey Street, shortly after being temporarily closed by the NYPD earlier this year.

There’s plenty to look forward to/dread on Community Board 3’s January liquor license docket.  Among the intriguing items: an application from a mystery operator at 77 Delancey, the shuttered “White Slab Palace” space. After repeated clashes with the 7th Precinct, the place called it quits (at least temporarily) this past fall.

Other interesting items: Grit ‘n Glory, the new coffee shop at 186 Orchard wants to sell wine and beer; Frank Prisinzano wants a full liquor license at “Sauce”; Le Lupanar (also on the NYPD’s hit list) will try for a full liquor license; an operator at 136-138 Division Street (where Bacaro is currently located) is seeking a full bar.

We’ll have more to come on many of the January applications. In the meantime check out the full rundown on CB3’s web site. The SLA Committee meets January 9th at 6:30 p.m.


7th Precinct Leads Manhattan in Drunk Driving Arrests

The New York Post reports drunk driving arrests in the 7th Precinct have almost tripled this year. As of March 27th, officers had busted 65 people for DWI, compared with 23 in the first quarter of 2010.  No other precinct had more arrests than the 7th.

The Post says “The arrests reflect a 12 percent increase in licensed establishments serving liquor in the neighborhood in the first three months of this year.”  There are 359 liquor licenses within the 7th, the second smallest precinct in the city.  The arrests were confined to the area below Houston Street. The 9th Precinct covers the East Village.

“The precinct has created a new Cabaret Unit, with cops assigned to patrol the bar-crowded area between 9 p.m. and 6 a.m.,” the story noted.  We reported on the return of the cabaret unit in December. 

CB3 Releases Agenda for April Liquor License Hearing

Community Board 3 is out with the agendas for its May committee meetings. Here’s a first look at the bars and restaurants seeking liquor licenses. CB3’s SLA Committee meets Monday, April 11, 630pm at the JASA/Green building, 200 East 5th Street.  There are quite a few interesting items listed here. More details later.

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.

CB3’s September Liquor License Applications

A restaurant is planned for 185 Orchard, below the Thompson LES Hotel.

Here’s an early look at some of the bars and restaurants going before Community Board 3’s SLA Committee in September. For the complete list, visit CB3’s web site.

CB3’s June Agenda: Liquor License Applications

Just out from Community Board 3: June’s agenda, including the list of bars/restaurants seeking liquor licenses next month. There are some curious/interesting entries, including…

  • Spitzer’s Corner (101 Rivington), frequently cited for underage liquor sales, is asking to transfer its full bar license. It’s not clear to us whether a new owner is entering the picture, or whether this is just a new concept from the current operators (stay tuned).
  • Les Enfants Terribles (37 Canal) wants to expand into the adjoining space, 6 Ludlow.
  • An unnamed operator is looking for a full liquor license at 112 Stanton (near Ludlow). 

Koi KO’d by Community Board Committee

If the owners of Koi had any illusions that their "meet and greet" with neighbors the other night would appease the community, they most definitely don't after this evening's CB3 committee meeting. The panel that reviews applications for new liquor licenses balked at the notion of a 200+ seat high end-restaurant taking over the old Salvation Army building on the Bowery. 

The committee heard from three residents opposed to the application on the grounds that the Bowery, already overburdened with "mega-hotels" and sidewalk cafes, has become a "free for all." One woman said the project would "destroy any shred of peace we have left." The owners, explaining their desire to relocate from Bryant Park, said they were determined to be good neighbors. But the committee  was unanimously opposed to the scale of the restaurant (6-thousand square feet). They cited the overflowing street and sidewalk that has made the area nearly unbearable on weekend evenings and the fact that the business would be a destination restaurant, not a neighborhood hangout. The broker managing the sale said the owners had "paid a hefty price" for the building and warned it would likely be "abandoned" if the Koi deal is scuttled (a contention several CB members scoffed at).

Dave McWater, a CB3 member who frequently sticks up for restaurants appearing before the committee, said the project was wrong for the Lower East Side. He asserted that it was important to protect the character of the neighborhood from gentrification and unbridled development. Given the investment Koi has already made, it's a good bet this battle is just beginning.

Jeremiah's Vanishing New York has a complete blow by blow of the Koi debate.

Earlier in the evening, Mason Dixon owner Rob Shamlian and residents who live above the restaurant on Essex Street, faced off — and it wasn't pretty. The two sides have been locked in legal skirmishes for many months — keeping lawyers very busy suing and counter-suing. Tonight, CB3 was considering whether to recommend renewing Mason Dixon's liquor license. Residents complained about noise wafting from the restaurant's (allegedly) open door.

They're also irritated by Shamlian's contention that he's not bound to abide by certain conditions the committee outlined when the liquor license was originally awarded. Among those conditions: an agreement that there would be no live music. Shamlian said he believed the conditions became outmoded after the State Liquor Authority came out to investigate his business. Shamlian said he was "not concerned about the complaints… because they come from people who are malicious." He claimed the residents wanted to push him out of the building months before Mason Dixon had even opened.

In the end, the committee concluded there was little evidence that Shamlian had misrepresented the nature of his restaurant. They signaled their support for a renewal, but reiterated that noise must be kept to a minimum.

Now for a recap of the other LES applications heard by CB3 tonight:

  • Jehann LLC, an Asian fusion restaurant in the old Regate space on Orchard Street, won support for a full liquor license. They'll stay open until 2am on weekends.
  • Jama Restaurant Corp got the committee's approval for a full liquor license at 210 Rivington.
  • The committee signaled its support for Motorino's bid to take over the wine only liquor license at 349 East 12th Street, where the highly touted Una Pizza Napoletana has now closed up shop.
  • The CB3 panel declined to support Bar 169's request to serve alcohol in its backyard. A resident of the swanky Forward Building spoke out against the application, saying she and her neighbors were concerned about noise and cigarette smoke. The owner said he wanted to start serving food – it's unclear whether he'll still go ahead with plans to fire up the kitchen. Committee member Dave McWater, a bar owner himself, urged Bar 169 to forget the patio. Arguing that it's not worth the trouble, he said "you're going to hate yourself for having a backyard."
  • The committee supported Guapo Bodega's bid for a full liquor license at 146 Essex, a former furniture store. The restaurant is being opened by the team behind Stanton Social.

NYPD’s Quality of Life Teams

There was an interesting exchange at last night's Community Board 3 meeting concerning the elimination of the NYPD's specialized "quality of life teams." Sometimes referred to as "cabaret units," they focused on enforcement of laws at clubs, bars and restaurants. Late last year, the Police commissioner ordered some precincts to disband the teams, saying ""the reassignment of some of these specialized units has allowed more
police officers and supervisors to be deployed for patrol purposes and
has "allowed greater focus on quality-of-life issues."  Last night, District Manager Susan Stetzer said she's hearing from club owners who believe disbanding the specialized groups was a mistake — that the officers now responding to problems at bars and clubs are less knowledegeable. CB3 member David Mcwater strongly objected to the notion that the cabaret units were helpful. He asserted that they abused their powers, calling their raids on various establishments "political torture in the neighborhood." McWater, former CB3 chairman and a current member of the committee that evaluates liquor licenses, owns several bars.

June Agenda: Restaurants Seeking New, Modified Liquor Licenses

Community Board 3 is out with its June meeting agenda. As usual, it looks like the SLA Licensing Committee will have its hands full when it meets June 15th. Among the restaurants and bars on the agenda:

  • Grand Park, 365 Grand Street. Jesse Hartman, having withdrawn his application last month due to concerns about the use of an outdoor space, will go before the committee with more specific plans for an enclosed patio. You'll recall, opposition from some residents of the Seward Park Co-op derailed his original application, in spite of the fact that he had supportive signatures from well over 100 neighbors. 
  • 55 Delancey Cafe, 55 Delancey. New wine license. 
  • Kuta, 65 Rivington. New outdoor space. 
  • 179 Ludlow LLC. Full liquor license.
  • Sushi Hana, 111 Rivington. Wine license.
  • Bia, 154 Orchard. Full liquor license.
  • Falai, 68 Clinton. Upgrade to full liquor license.
  • Falai Panetterie, 79 Clinton. Upgrade to full liquor license.
  • Grotto, 100B Forsyth. Alterations, upgrade to full liquor license.
  • Allen & Delancey, 115 Allen. Extending hours.
  • Red Velvet (Nick's Empanadas). Transfer full liquor license.

We'll have more on many of these restaurants before the meeting on the 15th.