‘Epstein’s Bar’ Takes its Fight for Revival to the State

Posted on: August 30th, 2017 at 5:00 am by

While a subset of the community might be against its return, Epstein’s Bar is nevertheless going for gold. Fighting for survival and revival. The new principals just took the case upstate to secure a new liquor license for the proposed comeback. Their application was submitted last month.

However, several steps still separate the principals from a new liquor license.

Just remember that the ouster of Epstein’s Bar from Hell Square in 2015 after more than a dozen years was due in part to a purported lack of code compliance. According to DOB records, 82 Stanton Street should’ve been a clothing store all along, as its official zoning is characterized as use-group class permitting only “sales of clothing.” During the last twelve months of its life (i.e. 2014), then-owner Erik McManus tried to amend the Certificate of Occupancy and expand two floors upward in one fell swoop to essentially legalize the space. The alteration proposal went before Community Board 3 twice, both times withdrawn in the face of neighborhood pressure, and never got off the ground.

Then this past April, Rick Aurigemma (310 Bowery Bar) and Josh Acheatel joined the team, and Patrick Conlon left. Their application for a new liquor license at 82 Stanton (Epstein’s Bar LLC) was likewise rejected by CB3 a month later.

To remedy these code issues, the team apparently began resolving various violations and paying down fines. As of this writing, though, the bar still carries building code infractions totaling more than $90,000 in outstanding fees. Then earlier this month, DOB approved plans and issued permits to convert the space to an “eating and drinking establishment,” stating that an amendment to the Certificate of Occupancy isn’t necessary to proceed with construction.

In the meantime, Epstein’s Bar LLC already applied for the full OP at the State Liquor Authority on July 7. The actual license application, obtained through a FOIL, lists the new corporate breakdown. McManus saw his percentage drop from half to 10%; Aurigemma picked up 26%; Josh Acheatel has 10%; and the balance is held by 25 minority investors with equity between one- and five-percent.

The state will conduct the mandatory 500-foot hearing for Epstein’s Bar tomorrow.

We’ll keep you posted.

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