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CB3 Panel Approves 106 Rivington Liquor License, But More Battles Are Ahead

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106 Rivington Street.

The owners of a large new restaurant and bar at 106 Rivington Street prevailed at Community Board 3’s liquor licensing committee last night, but the battle is not over yet.  A divided vote (6-4) means another contentious debate is likely when the full board convenes October 23.

On one side last night: Jose Rodriguez and Robert Payne, who are opening a multi-level Latin-themed restaurant in a four story tenement across the street from the Hotel on Rivington.  They were pitted against residents,  many of them part of a new block association, LES Dwellers, who say the neighborhood’s nightlife scene is out of control.

While CB3’s SLA Committee is often sympathetic to the concerns of residents weary of late night crowds and noise, last night another factor ended up being decisive.  Board members such as Herman Hewitt and Bernard Marti, longtime Lower East Side residents, highlighted the fact that the applicants (operators of a chain of neighborhood bodegas) are local business owners who were born and raised in the community and have been investing in the LES for many years.  Their argument: it would be unfair to deny the application when so many other restaurant/nightlife operators with no community ties are given the go-ahead for liquor licenses. Among those vouching for the concept was Shalom Eisner of Eisner Brothers Sporting Goods on Essex Street, who said Jose Rodriguez had proven himself as a hard-working businessman who gives back to the neighborhood.

Other board members disagreed, however, since 106 Rivington is located in a “resolution area,” a zone declared by CB3 to be over-saturated with bars. While there is no moratorium on new licenses, board policies state that only applicants who prove a “public benefit” and widespread community support should be approved.  Those voting “no” contended that the 106 Rivington proposal did not cross the necessary threshold.

In the end, the operators agreed to close the restaurant at 2 a.m. on weekends (4 a.m. had originally been requested) on the condition that they could come back to the board in a year-and-a-half to ask for extended hours.   It was standing room only at last night’s meeting — lots of passionate debate on both sides. We’ll have more details later.


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  1. I commend the committee for giving these guys an approval. They are from the neighborhood and they have a track record. Congrats to Jose from the neighborhood!

  2. I can’t believe we live in a resolution area,yet the community board caved in and approved another liquor license.What does it matter that the owners of 106 Rivington lived in this neighborhood most of their lives?What contribution can another liquor serving establishment make to this community?

  3. There is never total agreement on any topic. I do hope that both sides can come to a more realistic compromise once the restaurant gets under way. Frances, you are correct about the resolution area and you the real les as well. If you do notice, there are minimal complaints in the area. I hope that this will remain the same. I also hope that 106 will be a better neighborhood restaurant than the few already available in latin choices.

  4. CB3 should be applauded for realizing that these guys are responsible and will do what they say. So let’s await the opening of this Latin Bistro. Good Luck Guys!

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