The Brooklyn Dark Hemp Bar — who bill themselves as the first Hemp Bar in the United States — opened at 9 St. Mark's Place between Second Avenue and Third Avenue on Aug. 15.
And it appears that the cafe, which sells pastries, coffee, tea, etc., has sold its last hemp-based product, at least for now.
The note on the front door explains…
Per the note via CEO Lev Kelman:
"Even after passing all health and sanitation guidelines, the Health Department is requiring us to install 2 additional sinks despite the lack of space."
As of now, Kelman is unsure whether he will be able to reopen the shop, he told us via a Facebook message. Meanwhile, you can still find their products in various stores in the city and online.
The Village Voice, who did not give us any credit, picked up on our story and spoke further with Kelman.
Before opening, Kelman had the site inspected to make sure it was up to health standards. There were two sinks left from the space's earlier incarnation as a cafe called I Am Coffee. One was used for hand washing, the other for rinsing utensils and plates.
But in early October, Kelman says, city health inspectors came in with new rules, which he was cited for violating: There needed to be at least four sinks: one for soaking dishes, two others for sanitizing and rinsing dishes, and for hand washing.
Kelman went to court to contest the violations, and instead was slapped with an $800 fine, on top of being forced to close his business...
Scott Beyer at Forbes, who gave us credit, has a follow-up story. Read that here.
Per a city spokesperson:
Brooklyn Dark Hemp, like every other restaurant in NYC, needs to wash its dishes and cookware properly. A three compartment sink enables washing, rinsing and sanitizing to occur separately, critical for preventing contamination. This restaurant, like others, can request a variance if it can assure the Department that sanitizing can occur safely.
The city also said that the side-by-side sinks each needs a separate drainage system.
"Kelman refused to comply with this demand, knowing that it would skyrocket his business costs while adding no decipherable public safety benefits. It would also be impractical – even impossible – in such a small store that produced very few dirty dishes."
Previously on EV Grieve:
First U.S. hemp bar is now open on St. Mark's Place