- Food / CB3 Puts its Foot Down Over Hell Square Liquor Licenses
CB3 Puts its Foot Down Over Hell Square Liquor Licenses
Posted on: July 18th, 2017 at 5:06 am by Staff
Last modified on: July 18, 2017 at 8:29 am
Sitting seventeen stories up seemed like a strange location for the SLA subcommittee of Community Board 3, but the meeting at Ian Schrager’s Public Hotel seemed appropriate all the same. One theme of the night was that the advisory body is taking a more serious stance on Hell Square license saturation. Let’s dive into some of the details.
S.E.T. BBQ (127 Ludlow Street)
The beloved Motor City Bar closed forever back in June 2013. Two years later, S.E.T. LES became a reality. Ownership returned to CB3 last night to extend its weekend hours to 4am closings, pleading business hardship as impetus.
In a rare moment of solidarity, the interests of the committee and the largest opposition group in the area – the Lower East Side Dwellers – were together aligned. The block association felt duped by the alleged bait-and-switch of being pitched on a restaurant concept back in 2013 (however, nebulous), and now being stuck with a glorified sports pub.
In addition, one of the Dwellers pointed out the seemingly nefarious kitchen situation here. How the Letter of No Objection from the Department of Buildings does not allow cooking on-premise. And there clearly is kitchen equipment to serve that menu…
The panel voted unanimously to deny the alteration outright, stating that (1) it’s not in the public interest to extend the hours in a heavily-saturated zone, (2) it would have a negative impact on area residents, and (3) it’s no longer a full service restaurant as initially conceived.
Analogue/Greyhound (131 Orchard Street)
Jared Gordon and Jesse Wilson from West Village haunt, Analogue, pitched the new cocktail bar concept for 131 Orchard Street. This is the location that was previously occupied by Black Tree/Raw Material before its eviction in May by landlord Samy Mahfar earlier this year.
Gordon and Wilson hung much of their argument on the near-stellar reputation of Analogue. No area complaints, 3-1-1 calls, etc. But that’s far from the confines of the Hell Square shitshow. The concept proposed here is for a potential bait-switch scenario with small menu of “raw seafood and assorted American alternatives” with 3am closing times.
The LES Dwellers again spoke in opposition, alleging that, while Analogue has a good reputation, they’re asking for much more on the Lower East Side. And that the area shouldn’t be set up for another potential liability.
Moreover, since the full liquor license at this address expired back in March, the committee treated this as a brand new application for an unlicensed space. Meaning, subject to the 500-foot rule and proof of public benefit. As with S.E.T. just around the corner, the panel didn’t see fit to approve this application and issued a straight-up denial.
MJK Foods (32 Mulberry Street)
MJK ownership first approached Community Board 3 with the probable bait-and-switch concept last summer, but ultimately met denial when they refused the stipulations. One year and an expired liquor license later, the new corporate entity – sans Le Baron’s Ron Castellano – is still trying to make its Japanese small-plate concept a reality here. Arguing that the high-end Omakase menu would be an asset to the area and a marked departure from the last business here.
As before, the locals aren’t too thrilled. Roughly two dozen Chinatown denizens attended the public meeting to protest the application. Demanding 200 and 500 foot hearings given the new license status. Despite apparent good faith negotiations with majority stakeholder Ken Cohen, and his willingness to negotiate with the local block association, the two sides could not reach an accord on method of operation. The main sticking points were hours of operation, and proposed 40 private parties per year. And then there’s the issue of congestion on the narrow streets that can’t handle the loading of cars and humanity into 32 Mulberry Street.
As hard as they tried, the applicants could not shake the transgressions of its predecessor. Nor those of co-principal Max Levai, whose former employer Happy Ending was known as the worst bar in the whole 5th Precinct. (Levai reportedly told one of the activists that his function here would be to “attract the art world crowd” to the proposed establishment.)
CB3 didn’t like the connection, either, nor the overall lack of experience with the operators. Yet after an hour of deliberation, the panel agreed to the same stipulations as the sale of assets last year. Even though the address is technically now an unlicensed location. They approved the application with closing times of 12am during the week and 2am on the weekends. MJK already telegraphed its intentions to go back to the State Liquor Authority for the full 4am, though…
Newly appointed Community Board 3 chair Alysha Lewis Coleman stepped into controversy last week when she reportedly sacked member Chad Marlow from his post as Transportation committee chair, a seat he’s held for little more than a year and a half. And today he is completely resigning from the advisory board. The major bone of […]
Celebrity-backed Sweet Chick has been closed and on the ropes for the last three days. Apparently, there were some unspecified “electrical issues,” and Con Edison came to shut down the waffles-and-chicken restaurant just before the busy rush on Friday evening. Computer printouts taped to the vestibule say the same – that it’s closed “temporarily” and […]
This is how the elder statesmen of the Lower East Side are treated. Pushed to the curb. El Maguey y La Tuna on East Houston Street, the mom-and-pop restaurant serving Mexican cuisine to the neighborhood since 2002, has two months to live. It’s apparently closing at the end of March. The culprit, but of course, […]
Epstein’s Bar fought for its survival; now its revival is here. The nightspot reopened to the public on Friday night. More than two years after aborting operations at the northeast corner of Stanton and Allen Streets – for neighbors, a welcome relief – the longtime watering hole is finally back on track. The interim period was apparently […]
With the Sunshine Cinema now dark – the theater closed for good last night – we have the first look at the monstrosity to replace it. A nine-story glass tower that boasts 65,000 square-feet of commercial office space and ground-floor retail. The New York Times has the scoop on the first rendering of the project, […]
On Wednesday, we reported that Michael Shah (Delshah Capital) picked up the Hell Square tenement at 138 Ludlow Street. With the transaction now public, it appears the controversial landlord paid $19 million for the property. Spending that kind of coin on a pre-war walkup means one thing. The requisite upscaling to luxury living. “Despite its […]
It’s no longer proverbial diamond in the rough (of Lafayette Street). Brooklyn Diamond, the upstart coffee shop, shuttered its SoHo java joint earlier this month. Brown butcher paper now hangs in the windows of 234 Lafayette, capping a brief tenure that barely lasted eight months. The original Brooklyn location also appears to be kaput. Both […]
Controversial landlord Joseph Betesh must fix the destabilized staircase inside 85 Bowery within two weeks, the city stated yesterday after dozens of tenants were evacuated from their homes. As part of the ongoing legal case between Betesh and the tenant association here, the State Supreme Court yesterday afternoon ordered a city inspection of the property. Apparently, the […]
Today in news that won’t surprise, we can report that Boss Tweed’s Saloon will not be returning to Essex Street. The City Marshals came to the long-shuttered nightclub and seized the space on behalf of the landlord. Boss Tweed’s barely survived its reboot, having spent five months in the wild before a 20-year-old Jersey girl […]
Down on the Bowery, total pandemonium right now as the authorities just evacuated the embattled tenants of 85 Bowery. Apparently the primary staircase is destabilized due to purported neglect, and a vacate order subsequently issued. This sudden liquidation follows a month after the state Department of Homes and Community Renewal (DHCR) determined that apartments in […]