Epstein’s Bar is Shuttered with White Flag of Surrender

Posted on: September 8th, 2015 at 4:55 am by
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Epstein’s Bar suddenly closed over the holiday weekend with nary a mention of cause. Gates have been drawn since Saturday, tipsters tell us, and a white flag (of surrender?) appeared on its facade yesterday. The shutter is most likely the result of huge pressure from the neighborhood regarding its ongoing illegal occupancy issues.

The last official communication from the bar was a Facebook post on Saturday morning about a $20 brunch special. That was not to be had.

Let’s recall the backstory…

For over a year, Epstein’s had been trying to expand operations into the two floors above its establishment for dining and events purposes. It was essentially a “legalization” plan that first kicked off back in the spring of 2014 and met with instant opposition from both the Department of Buildings (disapproved status) and Community Board 3 (denial of alteration application).

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The white flag of Epstein’s Bar

As we first reported in October of last year, Epstein’s didn’t possess a valid Certificate of Occupancy for an “eating and drinking establishment” at 82 Stanton Street; current zoning use is actually for “sales of clothing.” The illegal occupancy, listed as an “aggravated offense level 2,” plus “work without permit” violations results in a constant influx of fines that quickly snowballed. These penalties rolled forward for months – approximately $80,000 – while Epstein’s allegedly chose to default on the requisite ECB hearings regarding its various transgressions.

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Photo: @123Dortiz

Perhaps the most damning, and likely reason, for the closure was the interagency raid of Epstein’s on August 28. The surprise inspection fell under the Giuliani-era program, code-named Multi-Agency Response to Community Hotspots (MARCH), whereby city and state authorities (NYPD, SLA, DOH, DOB, etc.) collaborate to visit establishments with reported complaint history. The so-called MARCH resulted in a violation concerning…

THE EATING & DRINKING EST. IS OCCUPIED & OPERATING CONTRARY TO C OF O WHICH STATES LEGAL USE AS FOR SALE OF CLOTHING

If the closure proves permanent, it would be another feather in the cap of the LES Dwellers, which buried the Sixth Ward earlier this year. The block association continues to exert pressure on the “bad operators” within the confines of Hell Square, and encourages neighbors to join the fight.

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