Tuesday, December 29, 2015
The owners of The Wayland still intend on opening a neighborhood bar called The Drift on Avenue C, though now in a different location.
As we first reported in October, Robert Ceraso and Jason Mendenhall, who own The Wayland on Avenue C and East Ninth Street, had designs on part of Babel's hookah footprint across the street at 129-131 Avenue C. That's no longer in the works, and a backup plan has emerged with Royale, the sports bar with well-reviewed burgers at 157 Avenue C between East Ninth Street and East 10th Street.
Ceraso and Mendenhall, who also own Good Night Sonny on First Avenue and St. Mark's Place, will now go back in front of CB3's SLA committee next month for a new liquor license for the Royale space. (The two had previously received the OK from CB3 for a license for 129 Avenue C. A handful of Avenue C residents spoke out against this application, which you can read about at Gothamist.)
We asked Ceraso for an update on The Drift.
For starters, he said the concept, a neighborhood bar with a small Latin-influenced menu featuring fish tacos and a few other items, is remaining mostly the same.
So what happened?
"The 129 space started to get complicated. The Babel operators decided that they didn’t want to give up the space anymore after we got our approval and the bar and building had some issues," Ceraso said. "We felt like it was all going in a way we weren’t happy with and something was telling us to give up the space."
After that initial disappointment, Ceraso learned that Royale, whose owners also run Cafecito at 185 Avenue C, was for sale.
"And that space just seemed perfect for The Drift," he said. "We can do the same thing we wanted to do inside but also have that amazing yard to utilize. The only change in the concept will be to further the planned daytime offerings — breakfast all afternoon, with aquas frescas, juices and cafe con leche, and take advantage of the backyard seating."
Ceraso and The Drift will appear before CB3 on Jan. 11. (You can read the PDF of their questionnaire at the CB3 website here.)
Ahead of that meeting, Ceraso said he'll be planning a neighborhood Q&A session in case there are any concerns about the outdoor space. (And no word just yet when Royale might close.)
The SLA meeting is Jan. 11 at 6:30 p.m. in the CB3 office, 59 E. Fourth St. between Second Avenue and the Bowery.
Previously on EV Grieve:
Wayland owners catching a Drift on Avenue C