Valentine’s Day was not sweet for at least one Lower East Side nightlife establishment. The 7th Precinct paid a visit to Lolita Bar at 266 Broome Street last night. You can see the results; a restraining order notice was slapped on the door. The city has filed a civil suit alleging underage drinking at the low-key LES hangout.
According to documents, underage patrons, undercover auxiliary police officers, were served on several occasions beginning last fall. The city filed the case in State Supreme Court; a hearing is anticipated next Tuesday, February 19. A short time ago, Matt Friedlander, the bar’s general manager, told us Lolita was not closed down last night and they’ll be open as usual this evening.
In 2011, the 7th Precinct launched a major offensive, shutting down numerous bars across the neighborhood, but the operations have been much less frequent in recent months. Bar operators have complained that the undercover operations are unfair because doorman and bartenders cannot possibly spot every underage drinker with a fake id, especially if their trained auxiliary officers. The civil suits rarely go to trial; instead the city typically negotiates settlements with bar owners in which they agree to beef up security and screening procedures.
The name listed on Lolita’s liquor license is Katherine Kutscher. This month, Matthew Kelly of Rivington Street bar Marshall Stack, applied to take over the liquor permit at 266 Broome. He appeared before Community Board 3’s liquor licensing committee this week. The panel signaled its approval to continue the same method of operation (4 a.m. closing time, background music only & a live Friday night DJ, no live bands). The full board will vote on the application later in the month before sending its recommendation on to the State Liquor Authority.
We understand the 7th Precinct closed at least one other LES bar last night. More to come…