Here’s a follow-up to a story we reported last month about Temple of Ankh, the hookah lounge and restaurant at 58 Clinton Street.
The bar was one of several nightlife establishments visited by a multi-agency nightlife enforcement task force the evening of January 20th (Ludlow Manor was also caught up in the law enforcement sweep on this night).
During the raid, authorities concluded that Temple of Ankh owner Wahed Shenouda did not have Workman’s Compensation Insurance for his employees. Shenouda was cuffed, arrested and put in jail. A judge decided later not to pursue the case, but the matter was referred to the State Attorney General. The establishment was shut down for several days while the legal issues were being resolved.
The previous weekend, manager Sam Shakhlol, was also arrested after hard liquor was found in a VIP lounge on the second floor of the restaurant. Recently, we stopped by to speak with Shakhlol about the situation. He showed us a letter from the D.A. indicating that the case was being dropped.
Shakhlol said he had no idea customers had brought the liquor into the lounge. Temple of Ankh has a beer and wine license only but has been trying to upgrade its permit. The business withdrew its application before the January meeting of Community Board 3’s SLA Committee. “You can’t compete in this neighborhood without a full bar,” he said. But given the lounge’s high profile troubles, they’ve decided to hold off on pursuing the upgraded permit for the time being.
It’s fairly unusual for a authorities to come down so hard on a bar for these sorts of infractions. Shakhlol said it’s a mystery to him why Temple of Ankh, open for just a year, has become a focus of NYPD enforcement. From past experience, we know that once a particular nightlife establishment appears on the Police Department’s radar, it remains under scrutiny for an extended period of time.