Black Tap Build-Out Begins on Ludlow Street, as Neighbors Remain Leery of Overcrowding
And so it begins.
Black Tap officially commenced construction activities at its new Hell Square home. Token brown paper appeared in the windows of 177 Ludlow Street last week, obscuring the storefront for the duration. If the schedule is met, the burger joint is on course for an opening sometime this summer.
As previously reported, Joe Isidori and partner Christopher Barish obtained approval for beer-wine complement to the burgers and shakes at Black Tap LES. We learned at the August Community Board 3 meeting that the Lower East Side outpost would serve the singular function of easing the burden at the SoHo store (what the owners referred to as a “licensed” location). However, then as now, neighbors were worried about the overcrowding. The business is almost too successful for its own good, and this particular block is most definitely not hospitable.
Indeed, Ludlow Street can’t handle much more in the way of congestion. It’s over-developed, over-populated, and over-saturated; a narrow street plagued by large-scale hotels, bars, restaurants, and the deliveries accommodating each. Black Tap’s popularity and penchant for long queues would further aggravate the situation. Stipulations added to the beer-wine license won’t help much, either, as the control of wait lines is rather ambiguous.
Black Tap’s beer and wine application was finally heard by the State Liquor Authority last week. Isidori and Barish got what they wanted at the expense of more congestion in Hell Square. They scored not only approval, but with some reduced stipulations. They can now stay open until 2:00am all days (contrary to CB3’s stipulation of 12:30am). The argument for later closing times swayed the Chairman based on ownership’s purported track record, and also counsel’s claims that the “previous licensee was operating here for years with no issue” on a 2:00am license. 100 Montaditos closed after 3 months; EarthMatters was predecessor.
Even though Black Tap is a beer and burger bar (most beer taps have a little black handle), it’s really known for its milkshakes. The original fifteen-seat establishment opened at 529 Broome Street in 2015. It quickly garnered cult phenomenon status thanks to its Instagram-ready milkshakes, which cost $15 a pop.
177 Ludlow Street is owned by controversial landlord Samy Mahfar. Prior applicants for 177 Ludlow (e.g. Quality Eats) weren’t considered largely due to this fact.