Fight for Hell Square Continues with Potential Sale of Spitzer’s, Fat Baby, and Los Feliz

Posted on: June 13th, 2017 at 5:00 am by

It’s no secret that Rob Shamlian has been trying to unload his remaining Hell Square holdings over the last few years. Last night, the nightlife operator came one step closer to his dream, when the SLA subcommittee of Community Board 3 approved a sale of assets for two of three area nightclubs.

Ownership behind Boulton & Watt and Drexler’s – Darin Rubell, Jaime Felber, Eric Kruvant – appeared before the panel to purchase Los Feliz, Spitzer’s Corner, and Fat Baby. All are establishments that contribute significantly to the shitty quality of life on Ludlow Street.

Hanging a hat on involvement in Mercadito, Rubell (cousin of Studio 54 scion) posited that Los Feliz would become a three-level, “food focused” Mexican restaurant. But the board wasn’t totally buying it. For one thing, the early kitchen closing and basement lounge lent an air of nightclub. There were two speakers in support of the proposal, and the LES Dwellers in opposition. Founder Diem Boyd cited the report that Hunter College students had prepared last week, which proclaimed Hell Square as the densest concentration of nightlife in the city.

An hour was spent deliberating the best possible resolution, with chair Alex Militano saying that Rubell shouldn’t receive better stipulations than Sarid Drory, who was approved two years ago for a similar sale of assets pitch. In the end, though, the Los Feliz application was approved with scaled back hours – 1am closing time during the week, with 2am on weekends.

The outcome proved nearly identical for Spitzer’s Corner; team Rubell was equally approved for the full liquor license. Stipulations reduced the hours to 2am closing all nights, and more stringency with regard to the garage-door style facade. Boyd provided additional testimony about how the board should consider “public benefit,” given that it’s a new license, and how there really is none. She then accused Shamlian of subsidizing apartments above the establishment to quell any negative backlash from those residents.

Fat Baby wasn’t so lucky, though, as the panel decided to deny the club outright.

Throughout the three applications, Shamlian undercut the proceedings with several outbursts. Par for the course, really. His favorite play – taunting the board with some variation of “you guys hate me, so get rid of me” – was again on display. Later, his desperation became palpable when he accused board chair Alex Militano of being unfair in leveling accusations about the businesses, and hurling insults at Boyd. He acted like a baby, and finally left when it became apparent that Fat Baby would net an outright denial from the board.


Recent Stories

Police Barricades Set Along LES Route for Sunday’s Half Marathon

Police started installing metal barricades around the Lower East Side Wednesday night in anticipation of Sunday’s Half Marathon. Part of the route runs through the neighborhood just off the Manhattan Bridge. Approximately 22,000 marathon runners will flow off the bridge onto Canal Street, then follow East Broadway to its termination at Grand Street, and up […]

Rivington Street’s ‘Bar Alaska’ Takes Over Where Stay Classy Failed

There is a slice of the Klondike on eastern Rivington Street. A new sub-grade cocktail den dubbed Bar Alasaka just made its winter splash last week. Bar Alaska is a self-described “laid back, yet elegant American cocktail bar—but with a Russian accent,” and features a “selection of elite Russian vodkas and vodka-based cocktails,” according to […]

Pickle Guys will Start Grinding Super Hot Passover Horseradish this Weekend

Passover falls quite early this year – at the end of March – so the Pickle Guys are getting a head start on serving up their special sauce. Homemade super-hot horseradish ground onsite. Horseradish sales begin on Sunday (March 18) and will likely draw crowds. Expect the gas-masked grinder, as always, and a horde of […]

Here’s Banksy’s Return to the Bowery

So, Banksy is in town. Not just his little clock rat on 14th Street, but the Bowery Mural Wall on the Lower East Side. He’s the artist behind that new 70-foot-long protest piece – and also street writer Borf – aimed at shining a light on the plight of Turkish prisoner Zehra Dogan. Dogan is […]

Banksy Makes a Statement with ‘Free Zehra Dogan’ Message at the Bowery Mural Wall

A change of the guard just happened at the Bowery Mural Wall. London-based artist Lakwena is no longer on display. Her #KindComments marketing stunt, in conjunction with Instagram, was scrubbed clean earlier this week after holding court for six months. Banksy took over. The high-profile canvas was scrubbed of its message – “lift you higher” […]