‘Sensei’ Art Bar Moves to Street Level on Eldridge and Seeks Full Liquor License
Neighbors weary of a so-called “Hell Square South” at the nexus of Eldridge and Broome Streets are in for another potential scare. We’re already fielding concerns from those fearing another bait-and-switch at 135-137 Eldridge Street where an “art bar” is taking hold.
One Joseph Latimore is moving his second-floor art bar, Sensei, from 278 Grand Street to this ground-level location. The hope here is for a full liquor license in a previously unlicensed location, on a block that’s quickly getting liquored up (and lacquered down). Sensei 2.0 is basically built out, too, ahead of an appearance before Community Board 3 for approval. Art is on the walls, and banquettes dot the floor.
According to application materials, Latimore’s Sensei will offer space for art exhbitions and sales, but with a stand-up bar in the rear. Light food is also available – a selection of paninis and chips. Hours of operation are noon to midnight during the week, and 2am on weekends.
These types of establishments don’t tend to have the best track records. Remember Gallery Bar, or how about Happy Ending just around the corner? Both positioned themselves as art bars, but were anything but. Let’s not also forget Whynot Coffee, which tried numerous times to break into this concept without success (it remains a popular cafe).
Latimore is familiar with this type of concept, though. He managed Chelsea’s Passerby, and later opened Panda on Chrystie Street (closed in 2012).
Sensei will also be flanked by Lena Coffee, the West Village-based coffee shop, which also seeks to serve booze. Their beer-wine application sailed through last month.
As of this writing, there are sixteen on-premise licenses within 500 feet, according to the application, two of which are mere steps away (Attaboy, Doka Square).
The residents living upstairs can’t be pleased, though. They’ve been through a lot over the last couple years. You’ll recall that owner R.A. Cohen & Associates purchased the double-wide tenement building in October 2014 for $11 million. Shortly thereafter, problems for residents reportedly began. Same tired tactics – get rid of the rent-regulated tenants by any means necessary. Tenants sued last September.