Rochelle’s Whiskey Bar Adds Neons, Remains Controversial
And here’s a bit more backstory on the conception of Rochelle’s vis-a-vis the closure of Cocktail Bodega, courtesy of the aforementioned court documents filed over the summer:
159. The 19 Stanton Street Building, however, had many issues due to its age. Jung and Shah wanted Levine to cover up the issues of 19 Stanton Street Building as among others flooding, no hot water, a broken boiler, rat infestation. Many of the tenants living at the 19 Stanton Street Building constantly complained about lack of hot water and even lack of electricity. Levine refused to get involved with the defects of the 19 Stanton Street Building in the ongoing cover-up of structural defects. There were many nights that Cocktail Bodega Underground could not open because of constant flooding from the boiler. Levine wanted Shah, as the landlord to install a new hot water tank, to avoid the constant flooding at Cocktail Bodega, he emailed Jung and Shah on April 16, 2013 and stated “I personally think fixing the boiler and the leak is the way to go” and “So many people in the neighborhood know about the leaks, the boiler was constantly leaking. Anyone using the downstairs bathroom saw the flooding.” Jung responded to Levine: Keep it simple. Closed for renovations. Vague and no one gives a fuck. Ding bat Phil will they ask for permits and other shit that will be nuisance. Can’t talk about flooding or any condition of building. We discussed during Monday. Not the right real estate way for communication.
160. Levine attempted to correct the flooding in Shah’s multimillion dollar condominium plans, but Shah responded “no because it looks bad for del shah”, “Actually no, don’t with that, existing tenants will ask for the world in buy outs” and “don’t mention a massive condo development.” Levine reiterated “People will start asking. I just thought the boiler and plumbing makes sense, because its true – and people would always see water flooding there.” Levine emailed Jung on April 10, 2013 “can you send me pictures of the flooding.” Jung responded “I’ll coordinate with team.” The pictures were never sent to Levine.
182. By November, 2012, Shah and Levine agreed that the concept of Cocktail Bodega did not work at the Cocktail Bodega and that it needed a reboot or redesign of the space. Shah acknowledged in many emails to Levine how great the concept and idea was, but how the location at 19 Stanton Street just did not work and that it should be moved either to: (i) 69 Gansevoort; (ii) Pop Burger; or (iii) to an airport terminal in the area at Flatiron and Union Square. Shah reiterated his sentiment in an email dated January 23, 2013, “I love the concept” and go on to say “this is not the right location for it. A small spot in Union Square would be perfect.”
So, the question remains – how can this bar proceed to open without that liquor license transfer. We have an email out to CB3 for clarification, but so far no response. In addition, our request for further comment was denied by Levine himself.