Hell Square Headache ‘Mazaar Lounge’ up for Liquor License Renewal

Posted on: January 9th, 2017 at 5:00 am by


One of Hell Square’s worst nightclubs is up for a liquor license renewal. Indeed, ownership of Mazaar Lounge is scheduled to appear before Community Board 3 tonight during the SLA subcommittee meeting.

Mazaar Lounge – helmed by controversial Foundation co-owner Joseph Torres and Cozy Cafe principals Khaled Boghdedy and Sherif Beshir – opened in the spring of 2015. The Essex Street lounge, situated on the perimeter of Hell Square, became an instant scourge; just another bottle-serviced hookah bar.

“They blast music until insane hours, seem to have parties that go until 4am every night, and operate as a club,” one building resident, who asked to remain anonymous, told us.

Is anyone really surprised, though?


Neighbors remain furious that this venue – carrying fingerprints of previous problem establishments Foundation and club Rewind – is operational to begin with. Namely due to the fact that its liquor license was handily approved by Community Board 3 in March 2014 without the benefit of public scrutiny. (Another Gigi Li controversy.) Reason given at the time was that corporate changes are not usually heard at committee when there are no official complaints on file. However, the application submitted for 137 Essex showed that Mazaar was actually a new license and not a corporate restructuring. This was a 90% corporate change, more than the threshold that triggers new license.

The convoluted stipulations attached to the license purportedly permit Mazaar to host four scheduled promoted events each week. Yet, in retrospect, it was the kitchen argument which facilitated the thinly-veiled bait-and-switch. The kitchen was dismantled under the regime for Foundation, but the same principal had hid behind the new equipment as justification for full liquor. The dubious plan was to offer Mediterranean cuisine. (At the state, though, they reportedly claimed a hood system wasn’t feasible and it wasn’t installed in the end.)

CB3 bought it.

The LES Dwellers, for its part, twice attempted to steer the SLA away from the rubber stamping, but were unsuccessful. The state had an obligation to uphold the ruling of the community board.

The meeting is tonight, 6:30pm at 10 Stanton Street.

Photo: LES Dwellers

Photo: LES Dwellers

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