‘The Stand’ Moves Forward with Basement Comedy Club on the Bowery Despite Community Rejection

Posted on: April 27th, 2016 at 5:00 am by
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​Back in mid-December, we brought word that the ownership behind The Stand comedy club (Paul Italia) was eyeing the cavernous space below the corner of Bowery and Spring Street. However, the opposition turned out to ensure this didn’t happen.

The applicant appeared before Community Board 2 in January to obtain approval for a full liquor license in the basement of 2 Spring Street (aka 188 Bowery). It didn’t go as they would’ve liked.

According to the public CB2 minutes, Italia planned to gut the 4,200 square-foot cellar beneath the Nudie Jeans repair shop and install a full service kitchen and other mechanical equipment. The proposed comedy club, a satellite for The Stand, would carry 22 tables with 85 seats, and one bar with 14 seats for a total seating capacity of 99. However, the applicant stated he will be seeking a total occupancy of 190 patrons. The board took issue with the numbers here, as the premises was previously used as storage with a maximum occupancy of five. Moreover, the premises apparently does not carry a valid Certificate of Occupancy or Public Assembly permit allowing for an eating and drinking establishment.

Residents of 2 Spring Street also took issue with the fact that the business would require a new egress leading directly into the main stairway of their building. Safety and noise volume were of big concern.

The full board ultimately resolved that:

Members of the CB2 SLA Committee are very concerned about the addition of a comedy club in this area and location where no such operation has previously existed, the large size of the premises and the significant number of new patrons invited into a basement premises in a building primarily occupied by residential tenants with families, the complication of creating egress from the basement premises into the residential portion of the building, hallways and staircase, the recent addition of many late night establishments, bars and night clubs in the immediate area, the number of existing late night bars and OP licenses in the surrounding residential area, the licensee’s failure to establish a coherent and viable public interest or benefit for operating a comedy club at these premises in a residential building until 3 am or alleviate the Committee’s concerns with additional traffic, noise, exhaust and the failure to obtain all the proper licenses and permits to operate an eating and drinking establishment at these premises.

Despite the ruling, Paul Italia is heading straight to the State Liquor Authority for blessings. A community notice was pasted to the doorway a couple months ago, and the SLA website updated in kind. And the 500-foot hearing was reportedly last month. This one’s a slow cooker. We’ll keep you apprised.

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