Blame Stetzer and CB3 for Hell Square Headache ‘Mazaar Lounge,’ Neighbors Argue

Posted on: February 14th, 2017 at 5:00 am by


The good news from last Monday night is that Community Board 3 voted to deny the Mazaar Lounge a renewal for its full liquor license, even if only advisory. Yet, getting to that point created a contentious situation that pitted controversial block association LES Dwellers against the District Manager Susan Stetzer and the SLA subcommittee.

As the video below reveals, the Dwellers rallied the troops and assembled fifteen locals in a show of defiance. One area resident, Natan Wise, expressed his total displeasure at living upstairs from these guys. Loud volumes at all hours and total lack of response from owners when complaints are lodged were a couple examples cited. Founder Diem Boyd later unloaded, calling Stetzer “the worst” for CB3’s anemic action regarding a club that seemingly flaunts the law.

“From the moment Mazaar Lounge opened, the CB3 offices received multiple complaints that it was operating outside of its stipulations and possible zoning regulations,” Diem Boyd tells us. “The DM [Stetzer] ignored this info and instead focused on directing residents to 3-1-1 and scheduling DEP noise readings. This approach did little to address the fact Mazaar was breaking its stipulations not abiding by local laws and regulations. CB3 should have worked directly with NYPD and other government agencies on enforcement.”

The crux of the three-year-old animosity centers on the fact that this venue – carrying fingerprints of previous problem establishments Foundation and club Rewind – was handily approved by Community Board 3 for full liquor in March 2014 without the benefit of public hearing. 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.

There’s more controversy, too. It was indicated during the meeting that Mazaar’s original stipulations – specifically its promoted events four nights a week – may have been “altered” by the client and/or his representative before the SLA issued the license. CB3, for its part, needled the issue and wanted clarity on how “no promoted events” became “four per week” on the final license. The question was not clearly answered.

The legality of Mazaar giving “around the hour free shots for ladies” (prohibited under state law) and dancing on-premise without cabaret license also came into question. To that, the subcommittee demanded they stop.

And on another note, Margaret Chin crony Gigi Li, whose campaign for Assembly two summers ago was marred with voter controversy, returned to the fold and now sits on the committee. It was under her controversial reign as Board Chair that Mazaar was approved.

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