CB2 Approves Starr Restaurant Group Liquor License for Bowery Steak Joint [UPDATED]

Posted on: December 12th, 2013 at 5:47 am by


The Starr Restaurant Group aims to plant a flag at the landmark Bunker building. As previously reported, the company is in bed with Joe Carroll (Fette Sau, St. Anselm) on the proposed project, reportedly pitched as an “upscale blue collar” steak joint. Whatever that means.

We are told plans for the endeavor were met with stiff resistance by the neighborhood on Wednesday night. After two months of dodging by the applicant, the SLA subcommittee of Community Board 2 finally had a chance to weigh in. The bid was approved, nevertheless; full board will vote on December 19.

Members of the three-month-old Bowery Block Association came armed with the following all-too-familiar talking points.

  • The location was not previously licensed.
  • Over-saturation is ripe on this stretch of the Bowery.
  • It’s yet another addition to traffic congestion on a major commercial & emergency vehicle route.
  • The tsunami of liquor licenses rolling down the Bowery is leading to the demise of the retail stores, which are the economic backbone of any city.
  • 222 Bowery is a landmarked building which possibly could sustain damage from all the mechanicals needed for the operations of the restaurant.

The YMCA erected the building in 1885 to house the Young Men’s Institute. The intention was to provide a safe and healthy alternative to the sprawling saloon scene at the time. For a mere $4 per month, male members had access to a library, gym, bowling alley, and numerous classes. Membership was rather steady until 1932, when the facility shuttered. By that time, the area became synonymous with drunkenness. And as is usually the case, the poor living attracted artists and writers alike. Indeed, beat poet William S. Burroughs was a resident from 1974 until his death in 1997. The building went co-op in the eighties, and was landmarked in 1998.

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