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Owner of “The Smile” Seeks Liquor Permit in Former Winnie’s Space

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The former Winnie’s Bar, 104 Bayard St.

It was a sad day in Chinatown earlier this year when Winnie’s Bar, a beloved neighborhood dive for 28 years closed its doors for good. The owner said the decision was forced by her “inability to attain a lease from the landlord.” Now a possible future for the space at 104 Bayard St. is coming into sharper focus.

According to documents filed with Community Board 3, Matt Kliegman of The Smile on Bond Street is going for a liquor license at this location. He’s asking for a full bar with hours 11 a.m.-4 a.m. seven days a week. There would be 24 seats, half of them at the bar. The application indicates there will be bar food and karaoke (Winnie’s was a legendary karaoke spot).

The Smile is a popular cafe that’s been open since 2009. Kliegman also operates the Westway Club in the West Village. It appears he’ll face at least some opposition before CB3’s State Liquor Authority Committee, which meets next Monday evening.  Karlin Chan, a longtime Chinatown activist and CB3 member, told us he’s organizing a petition drive against the application. He believes nightlife operators are increasingly turning to Chinatown in search of available space since the area around “Hell Square” on the Lower East Side has become oversaturated and inhospitable to new liquor permits. Chan, who says Chinatown is already suffering from unruly bar patrons, wants to put a stop to that.

The owner of 104 Bayard is listed as Leslie Leung of White Plains.


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  1. way to slap the neighborhood in the face. the family ran convenience store next door is going to have it rough

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