Wednesday, December 9, 2015

[Updated] Caffe Bene opens today on St. Mark's Place



The (soft) opening sign has been up inside here at 24 St. Mark's Place between Second Avenue and Third Avenue...



The storefront previously housed a Pinkberry, which closed at the beginning of the year.

This will make the second Caffe Benne to open in the East Village in recent weeks. The outpost on Third Avenue at East 13th Street, which serves beer and wine, is up and running too...

Has anyone been to the Avenue A location? Several readers have noted that the proprietor of this franchise (the company is based in Seoul, South Korea) lives in the neighborhood, where he grew up in a family of deli/market owners.

The one comment I heard from several people about the Avenue A location — it's a little bright...



... at least compared with Ost Cafe a block away on A at East 12th Street...



Updated 9:04 a.m.

Several neighbors have now noted that the Avenue A Caffe Bene is opting for the bar vibe, promoting football and a buy-one-get-one-free special on weekend nights ... instead of say, coffee ...



CB3 signed off on the beer-wine license back in September, though with some hesitation ...

From the minutes (PDF) of that meeting:

Community Board 3 was concerned about granting a wine beer license to this applicant given that 1) this application for an international coffee house chain store is in a location which has previously been unlicensed and was last operated as a laundromat, 2) this location is in close proximity to numerous businesses with liquor licenses, as well as numerous independently operated small coffee shops, 3) that this applicant has no experience operating an eating and drinking establishment or having a wine beer license, 4) while there are seven (7) coffee houses in New York City from this international chain, this is the only operator seeking to obtain a wine beer license, and 5) opposition from area residents, the 182-184 Avenue A Tenants Association and the North Avenue A Neighborhood Association to the granting of an additional liquor license for this location because of its hours of operation, the number of other licensed businesses in the area and the garbage, drunkenness and noise which now pervades this corner..

According to the stipulations, this Caffe Benne may have a happy hour to 8 p.m. each night. The above photo is from 10:47 p.m., according to the neighbor who took it (and the time stamp on the photo)...

H/T Steven

Previously on EV Grieve:
2 Caffe Bene locations coming to the East Village (45 comments)

Reader report: Rent hike washes away longtime Avenue A laundromat (11 comments)

Work starts on the 2 Caffe Bene spaces in the East Village (26 comments)

Brewing Soon signage arrives for Caffe Bene on Avenue A (25 comments)

The Caffe Bene on Avenue A looks very close to opening (24 comments)

24 comments:

Anonymous said...

"the proprietor of this franchise lives in the neighborhood, where he grew up in a family of deli/market owners." Well hey, shout out to today's "out and about" guy.

Anonymous said...

What good does it do the neighborhood to have someone who lives here with family ties to deli-market owners come in with a franchise? With those connections why didn't he open a family owned coffee shop if he really wanted to be a benefit to the neighborhood and add to the East Village tradition of locally owned businesses? And why does a coffee shop/cafe feel a need to advertise a "Happy Hour and Football" as they did over the weekend for their opening? I guess they felt a need to justify their large screen TV. And how long are they going to keep that huge coffee stand chained up in front of the franchise on a corner that is already congested with bar traffic? Not everyone is looking forward to another franchise adding to the 7-Eleven/Starbucks tradition.

Gojira said...

I don't drink coffee in any establishment that looks like it could host an NKVD interrogation, thank you very much.

Anonymous said...

Yep. Less than two weeks and these guys on A are proving to be bad neighbors. I'd rather take my business to 7-11. (That should bring out Fashion By He)

Anonymous said...

Of course it has "evolved" into yet another fucking sports bar who did not see that coming except for the fucking idiots that gave them the license to sell it. We are living in drunkards paradise thank you CB3, motherfuckers.

cmarrtyy said...

Beer and wine with bight lights is very European and casual. Very much like a bar tabac. It's conducive to conversation and meeting people. Good for them.

Anonymous said...

In case there weren't enough bars for Santacon.

Anonymous said...

I walked by recently around 11:30 pm and it looked like a spaceship had landed, lights blaring. And from another (non-EV) planet. I won't patronize it.

Anonymous said...

I hear you cmarrtyy

I still like the vibe better at Ost on 12th and A and The Roost on A b/t 13th and 14th. B-Cup on B and 13th is cool too. A lot of cafe choices right around this Bene.

Anonymous said...

I'll give it three years tops.

Anonymous said...

I checked out the Avenue A, had a coffee and a waffle. It was alright. The place is pretty innocuous. There is nothing to fear here people.

Anonymous said...

@9:58am: If people would pay attention to who's running for CB3, then get informed, and then VOTE, we might (might, I said) have a better community board here.

Anonymous said...

"I checked out the Avenue A, had a coffee and a waffle. It was alright. The place is pretty innocuous. There is nothing to fear here people."

If this place goes belly up soon, which I expect due to how wrong the whole concept is on 13th @ A, we have the transfer of the new liquor license to the next business which will be, drum roll...... another fucking sports bar.

Anonymous said...

Cafe Benne is lame. It looks like a subway platform with that crazy lighting and their coffee is mediocre at best.

Trixie said...

They were giving away free coffee last week and I tried a cup, it was good coffee.

indieanil said...

People need to chill out. It's a coffee shop that serves beer and has a TV for people that want to watch football - it's not the end of the world. I went the other day and the food is pretty good - beer selection is on point.

Anonymous said...

I have been in three times. I agree that the lighting is too much. They need to turn it down. It is too bright. You feel like you're sitting under a spotlight.

The tables are also strangely low, and the chairs don't fit well with the tables. Given the chairs they chose, they should have bought tables that come up a couple of inches more.

My complaints aside, I like the place. I don't watch sports, so I don't care about the football games they have on, but I like their beverages and snacks, and the people who work there are helpful and friendly. I like that the employees are diverse and it isn't all white people like every other place around here.

They have some adjustments to make to the atmosphere--please dim the lights!

But I like this place. It's a laidback place to have a coffee and read the paper or sit and chat with a friend.

Anonymous said...

I hope there are neighborhood people who are willing to run. It's a lot of time commitment to hold these position. What can be done to find a good slate?

Anonymous said...

I'm the one who posted about the owner being raised in the neighborhood. I apologize to everyone for supporting him. With just food, coffee and beer and wine, I was ok with his concept. I wanted a place where I could have a glass of wine, relax, read a book or converse. The addition of TV screens and turning it into another sports bar was not what I expected or wanted. Mea culpa!!

blue glass said...

Anonymous @9:58am said:
If people would pay attention to who's running for CB3, then get informed, and then VOTE...

people do not run for the board, they are appointed by the local councilmember and the borough president. people that want to be on the board can submit an application.
the process is very political. there are a few cb community members that attend committee meetings and participate but do not get to vote on issues.

Anonymous said...

I have filed a complaint with CB3 (form is on their website) for the Avenue A location violating their stipulations. However I am unable to copy the photo from the EVG website. Could the photographer please send the photo to the CB3 office?

Glenn Belverio said...

Omigod, a CAFE opened in the East Village?! It's pitchfork and torch time, villagers! Off with their heads!

That said, yeah, I prefer not to buy my coffee from chains, but the constant cranky whining about this place is beyond tiresome at this point.

Anonymous said...

The major job of a community board member seems to be giving the Board's seal of approval to liquor licenses. I am sure there are lots of other important tasks like approving street fairs, etc, etc. Posters are correct, members of the Board are appointed not elected. At what point does the idea of a sunshine law invade this process? At what point does someone who has a financial interest in bars and restaurants raise the flag of conflict of interest? At what point does a member of the Board recuse himself or herself? Never, I imagine!!

Anonymous said...

Had to cross the street (Ave A/13th) on this sad Santacon day because I needed coffee. But happy to report that particular Caffe Bene is a lovely place. The people working could not have been nicer (and yes it is so nice to see diverse faces of young people). It's super-clean, people are friendly, and they have soy milk. It's all I ask for in a cafe.

There really is nothing to fear here. Would I have liked it to just stay a laundromat forever, sure, but that laundromat has been closed forever. It may sell some beers, but it is not a bar. The transfer of the liquor license is a valid issue should Cafe Bene close, so maybe let's be nice neighbors and not let it close.