CB3 to Consider Reinstating Terminated Liquor License for Problematic Whynot Coffee

Posted on: January 27th, 2016 at 5:16 am by
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​Whynot Coffee has been operating without booze since last May, when the State Liquor Authority terminated its wine and beer license for failure of adhering to stipulations. It’s a coffee shop, after all. At the time of its disciplinary hearing eight months ago, the board unanimously stonewalled owner Emil Stepkov and his counsel (Donald Bernstein) for duping the community over its half-baked “art” concept, and the paperwork was placed in “safe keeping.”

Whynot’s cited infractions included live music, dancers (Whynot doesn’t possess cabaret license), and loud music pumping past agreed-upon 10pm limit. Stepkov acknowledged that the “art wasn’t selling” (only two exhibitions in a year) and that there was “no point [selling it] anymore.” Given that this was the premise on which Whynot was founded, the SLA wasn’t pleased with being kept in the dark. And they made that fact known.

Fast forward to present…

Somehow, Community Board 3 now feels compelled to bring Whynot back for re-consideration. Stepkov will apparently return next month to re-apply for beer-wine privileges so that Sushi Wa can become a reality. Despite his negative history with the block. Why reward a poor operator when it’s clear the State disagreed? And why now?

We also understand that the license was originally slated for “administrative approval” by CB3. meaning no public discussion. The advisory board ultimately backed down and added the item back to the agenda, reportedly the result of pressure from the LES Dwellers. “The community deserves the opportunity for public comment given that the SLA canceled the license for misrepresentation,” noted founder Diem Boyd when reached for comment. “We appreciate that CB3 has decided to place this on [next month’s] agenda.”

Either way, it seems the applicant is trying to salvage the value of the business for an eventual sale.

Upgrade. Unload. Rinse. Repeat.

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