‘La Caverna’ Nightclub Heads to SLA for its Multilevel Expansion on Rivington Street

Posted on: January 23rd, 2018 at 5:00 am by

When La Caverna first proposed its concept for Rivington Street in 2002, it was presented as an Italian restaurant. In fact, it was a bait-and-switch club that still has some Lower East Side residents are still coping.

Now ownership hopes to expand La Caverna with a multilevel experience. Fooled once, yes. Not again.

Fifteen years after its founding, ownership proposes proposed an expansion of its nightclub into the ground floor and mezzanine space above, plus 4am all days. The principals admitted to Community Board 3 in November that they wanted to get back to their roots of an “Italian American” restaurant, which was allegedly the initial intent. My, how far they have strayed. The fact of the matter is that that concept barely happened (if at all) in the ensuing years, and instead devolved into an unwieldy nightclub. The advisory body denied, strongly opposing a purportedly disingenuous operator to nab an enormous unlicensed space, while doubling in size and adding a capacity of more than 330 people. (They would need to change the existing Use from Group 6 “Offices” to Group 12 “Cabaret.”)

As often happens, ownership instead went directly to the State Liquor Authority with the aim of circumventing the community. La Caverna is on the docket for the hearing tomorrow.

Community activists, meanwhile, have been scrambling to fight this application from going through. The LES Dwellers and Suffolk Street Block Association are together spearheading the movement, and asking anyone affected by the bar to send letters and head uptown to testify.

Is there public benefit for the growth of La Caverna?

The SLA will weigh in, but honestly, there is already precedent here. The state just denied Dos Cientos three blocks to the north largely based on over-saturation. Will they do the same here?

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