‘Rochelle’s’ Whiskey Bar Opens at 19 Stanton; Controversy Over Liquor License Continues

Posted on: November 18th, 2013 at 5:24 am by

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“Leave Rochelle Out of It” is the new bar at 19 Stanton St

The ill-fated Cocktail Bodega and the adjoining basement club have officially been replaced at 19 Stanton/205 Chrystie. Enter trendy whiskey bar Rochelle’s (aka “Leave Rochelle Out of It”) and its subterranean 205 Club that we first told you about over the summer. Both the New York Post and Village Voice fell head-over-heels, and filed puff pieces about the new entrant and its funny brand etymology. Basically, two of the owners – Brett David and Stephen Yorsz – dated (and dumped) the same Pastis hostess, Rochelle Lee. PR gold, admittedly.

However, there’s another, more controversial story behind this name. As previously disclosed, Victor Jung, a convnicted fellon who served time for stealing $1.3 million from NBC Universal, is touted as another co-owner. The aforementioned media reports corroborate that. Curious, especially considering his PR people previously emailed us to vehemently deny any involvement in the operation.

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Brett David (L), Rochelle Lee, Stephen Yorz, Photo: New York Post

And then there’s still the matter of liquor licenses for the two bars onsite, owned 50-50 between Matt Levine and building landlord Michael Shah. Both were involved in Cocktail Bodega, and it’s become subject of Levine’s $20 million lawsuit against his former partners. To date, neither Jung, Shah, nor their partners applied for a license transfer; they’re apparently still operating under the agreed-upon stipulations signed by Levine in May 2012. But Jung’s camp had also mentioned that “corporate change paperwork has been filed with the SLA to remove Matt Levine from the liquor license.” None of that has happened yet.

So, the question remains – how can either bar proceed to open without that liquor license transfer? We contacted CB3 for clarification, and it’s on Susan Stetzer’s radar. She tells us that she’s been “looking into it.” We also understand that both the police and State Liquor Authority are also investigating.

Our further request for comment was denied by Levine.

UPDATE: PR Firm Entertainment Fusion Group still maintains that Jung is not an owner of Rochelle’s.

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