Thursday, September 16, 2010

[Updated] Aces and Eights temporarily shuttered on Avenue A

Thanks to an EV Grieve reader for this shot... apparently Aces & Eights on Avenue A was shut down yesterday by the Health Department... One source said the bar was cited by the DOH last night for not having the proper paperwork... and that Aces & Eights would reopen next week.... Meanwhile, the source noted that the ownership has changed hands.... the people behind the Aces & Eights uptown are no longer involved here... which means that you can expect a name change one of these days ...

[Updated] The Lo-Down has more on the shuttered Aces & Eights:

[T]he bar never obtained permission to open its doors, according to city officials.

On Tuesday, the city’s Department of Health and Mental Hygiene shuttered the 18-month old watering hole for lack of a valid operating permit. It had been cited for the same violation in April 2010, and ordered not to reopen until the permit was issued, according to the health department’s public affairs office.

Uh, oops?

Previously on EV Grieve:
Aces & Eight GM offers some clarification on previous posts, comments


Anonymous said...

Shut this fucking college bar down for good or move it to Syracuse or by Kent State or something please.

RyanAvenueA said...

This is a hilarious strategy. Open a bar, don't tell the city about your bar, and the city never harasses you because they don't know you're there. (I can't believe someone's 311 calls never raised a red flag that the address didn't have a permit.) I'll be curious to see what fines, if any, are levied.

EV Grieve said...

They can run a bar for 18 months without a permit.... Meanwhile, last month, that fellow outside Tompkins Square Park was arrested for selling shaved ice without a permit. Police also confiscated his cart.

Unknown said...

Aces & Eights Saloon LES has been closed by the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene due to paperwork and permit issues. We will be open Monday. I am currently General Manager of the bar; my name is Jamie-Lynn Argenta. I understand that our image has been tarnished because of prior wrongs, however I hope we can look towards building a more cooperative and cohesive bond with the community in the future.

We strive to be a positive, successful force in this community. As the former GM Tom Michaelsen pointed out last year on EV Grieve , Aces & Eights LES has made many charitable contributions. We have also supported our customers’ efforts to give back by hosting numerous fundraisers for a wide array of charitable causes, and we will continue to do so when we reopen. This bar strives to be viewed as a professional and respectful establishment within this community. And I would like to encourage people to give us feedback and help us foster our growth with the community.

As EV Grieve posted, we will be changing the name of the bar. Aces & Eights LES will be holding a naming contest when we reopen and I am hoping to get input and support from not only our staff and customers, but also from residents in East Village and Lower East Side . It will give people a chance to help us rebrand and change our image; it will give residents an opportunity to help shape what kind of establishment we will become. We look forward to serving you again.

Jamie-Lynn Argenta General Manager Aces & Eights LES

Anonymous said...

Schadenfreude to Tom, for pulling a bait and switch on that frathole. How about "Bait and Switch" for the new name on that douchetrap?

Anonymous said...

Oh, dear, please remind me to avoid Ms. Argenta's presentation to the community board and/or state liquor authority meeting. I got trashed just reading that letter and then this classic EVG post:

That letter is a lovely non-denial denial. Based on the insistent tone--"a positive, successful force in this community", "a cooperative and cohesive bond with the community"--combined with no actual examples of anything that might have offset "prior wrong"s, I'd guess playing the EVG drinking game at the board meeting will be a near lethal experience.

OTOH, we might as well drink to hide our tears for Tom Michaelsen's departure. I've never met the guy but, hard as I try, I'm probably not going to forget him. Remember when he invited EVG readers to Aces and 8s for a round of beer pong in the comments? He included the unforgettable and apparently quite honest lines to help readers identify him: "My name is Tom. I am the one wearing the green t-shirt that says "Douchebag" on it. Seriously."


Anonymous said...

First off, allow me to identify myself. I am a college graduate. I was in a sorority that did community work and raised thousands upon thousands of dollars for charity. I've played beer pong. Now I rent an apartment on the lower east side to be close to my full-time day job, even though the rent is INSANE for the square footage. Congratulations to all those in their rent-controlled glass houses who like to cast stones at people like me.

I suppose this makes me the "enemy" since I am a patron of Ace & Eights and am genuinely saddened that the bar has run into trouble.

Well, to those of you excited that "this fucking college bar" is closed, I'd like to offer up a different picture. Keep the building vacant. Now let your next "douchetrap" full of college and post-college 20 somethings close. And then the next... and the next...

What you will find is that vacant buildings in NYC open the floodgates for vagrants, squatters, crime, building deterioration and lack of maintenance, etc. Is this how you want to "preserve" the neighborhood?

Everyone likes to complain about college bars and their "fratholes", but no one appreciates the money that those people pump into the community, in everything from local restaurants to pharmacies, bodegas, and parks.

Embrace change and practice tolerance.

Tom said...

Oooh…. I have so much to say! Aren't you all excited to read it?

Firstly, EV Grieve, you are an individual (M/F?) whose blog I appreciate and whose character as a blogger and journalist I have come to respect. However, don't you think it's a little contradictory that you warn people "commentary that is intended to "flame" or attack, that contains violence, potential libel and the like will not be published," yet allow the kind of vitriolic, personal attacks from people hiding behind "anonymous" screen names only because it suits your own agenda?

I have never shirked away. I have never avoided responsibility. It seems Jamie is also facing these issues head on with poise, grace and humility. It is a select group of angry, embittered readers who are casting these stones. Frankly, it makes an otherwise legitimate position look foolish and almost jingoistic.

Now to respond to some statements by your “anonymous” commentators:

Anonymous #1: Many people would argue that New York’s elite group of colleges and universities are one of the things that make this city great. I suppose if you don’t have an appreciation for education, culture and intelligent, constructive discourse you simply wouldn’t get that. Regardless, according to Aces’ Facebook page, which I still have access to, demographic data shows that 62% of Aces’ 282 fans are between 25 and 34 with another 28% between 21 and 25, the remainder are 35+. “Shut this fucking college bar down for good” even though it’s not really a college bar!!!

Anonymous #2: First, Schadenfreude means the pleasure from someone else’s sadness. So if you are wishing it “to” me, have no fear! I am pleased by the sad education your misunderstanding of this word’s definition represents. Perhaps you should have attended one of the colleges Anonymous #1 so despises? Second, know your facts. I quit Aces in December of last year because the managing partner at the time refused to address important issues, like the DOH and the regular payment of my salary. This erstwhile managing owner is no longer at the helm. Unfortunately, Aces is apparently still reeling from his negligent behavior. I have faith that the current management will work diligently to rectify his errors.

Anonymous #3: I’m so pleased to still haunt you. (Anonymous #2: I feel schadenfreude at his dismay!!!) Rest assured I have never thought about you until now. However, you remember the actual events incorrectly. I invited local residents to the bar for a drink, on the house, to discuss issues that they wanted addressed. No one visited of course. It seems your local residents feel far more comfortable grieving about the gentrification of their precious neighborhood than actually doing anything constructive about it.

To reiterate Anonymous #4’s comment, you will NOT be able to stop the natural market forces that are changing the dynamic demographics of the neighborhood. What you could try and do is work with those forces to foster positive growth. Or you could continue on your current path and ineffectually whine as your neighborhood slips through your fingers.

Personally I believe in progress. I find the conservative agenda many here spew to be rather ridiculous. You’d have better luck chasing windmills. And what would success mean? Maybe you want the neighborhood to look like it did 20 years ago. You’d prefer heroin addicts and squatters over young professionals? I lived in NYC 20 years ago. Did you? I was too scared to enter Alphabet City in those days. Now I’m not. Now I like the diverse array of restaurants, bars, people and personalities that populate the streets. Don’t you?

Anon No. 3 said...

Sigh. "...vitriolic, personal attacks..." This thread seems pretty tame to me. Yes, Aces and Eights pisses me off, and Tom and Jamie-Lynne are amusing in their defense of the place but I fail to see where EVG or the readers comments are far off base.

As Anon No. 3, I should mention that Tom is right, in the old thread he didn't invite us for beer pong, he invited us for a trivia game, just after beer pong. He did defend beer pong in that thread, and he did offer a free drink, and the douchebag quote above is correct but, alas, he didn't directly suggest that we join him for beer pong. So, my comment should have read "invited us for a trivia game after the beer pong is over" instead of "invited us for a round of beer pong". My bad.

The issue here is not that beer pong is silly, that adults wear shirts that read "Douchebag", or even the amount of money someone's sorority might have given to charity. The issue is not one bar misleading the community on its intentions and/or not filing the proper paperwork. Gentrification, progress, NYU, and so on are somewhat related issues but, for me, the serious part of the conversation centers on the NY State Liquor Authority and Manhattan Community Board 3.

In short, the neighborhood needs stronger, more nuanced, enforcement of existing laws. Before bars and restaurants are allowed to open or serve liquor, the intentions of the establishment need to be made clear(er) and be (more) carefully evaluated. If, when the overall health of the community is taken into account, this means a few less places like Aces and Eights, that's fine with me. Also, when bars and restaurants file misleading paperwork and/or are consistently bad neighbors, they need to be shut down quicker, sometimes for good. Sure, a quiet bar or a modest restaurant, or a laundry might not gross quite as much cash as a wild bar they also don't cause as much chaos and they tend to be more stable businesses.

I'd argue that a more nuanced and, yes, stricter approach to licensing bars and restaurants in the EV is a pro-progress position in the long run. The current, rather loose, approach is short sighted and generally benefits the owners (and to some extent, the employees) of larger, wilder, bars at the expense of everyone else in the neighborhood. The community board (generally) and the NY State Liquor Authority (pricisely) exist to make these kinds of decisions and to try to balance the health and well-being of the overall community against the profits of individual business owners.

Serving alcohol is not exactly a universal right or even a sign a "progress". Some communities (though god forbid, the EV) are dry because the community at large feels that no place that serves alcohol is good for the community. Some communities limit alcohol to a very small area or time of day. No, no, no, no, no, of course neither of those solutions will work in the EV but it's worth pointing out that communities can flourish economically, in part, because they are very strict about alcohol licensing. And, the opposite is also true, some communities are seriously crippled economically, in part, because of very loose liquor licensing.

Tom said...

No.3, your last comment was intelligent, well stated and constructive. In many ways, it was spot on. Perhaps my comment regarding the vitriolic attacks was based more on the last Aces' thread on EV Grieve than this one.

Community Board 3 is one of, if not the most difficult community board(s) in NYC. Despite that, new bars pop up and will continue to pop up on a weekly basis.

Aces and Eights was mismanaged for a long time. It was mismanaged under my watch for a long time. I take responsibility for that. I spoke truth to power but ultimately was told to shut up and do my job. The individual who mismanaged the establishment is gone. In fact, I believe it was he who vindictively "tipped off" Susan Stetzer a month ago regarding the permit issue after he lost his shares in the company. But that's another can of worms.

Although I am no longer directly affiliated with Aces and Eights (or any other bar in NYC) I still take pause when I read what you write.

Let me ask you, how has Aces and Eights directly affected the health of the neighborhood? How are they bad neighbors? In my tenure I was responsive to complaints about traffic on the sidewalk, intoxicated patrons and even a loud AC unit on the roof that irritated a single neighbor (this was actually brought up by an EV Grieve reader in August of last year if you need corroboration). I know Jamie and I'm sure she would take direct, specific complaints as seriously as I did. Let me continue; are Aces' patrons louder, drunker and more obnoxious than those at Nice Guy Eddie's or The Library? Or is it simply that the owner of those establishments has an intimate relationship with CB3? Are Ace's customers more likely to offend the community than the customers at Double Down or Kelly's? Or is it that Aces is the new kid in town? Or perhaps it is simply that the new kid sometimes sports a collared shirt and slacks instead of a dog collar and tats.

If the arguments presented on this blog were always as calm, cogent and circumspect as Anon No. 3’s last, rest assured, I wouldn't have half as much to say.

I love the EV. I spend a lot of time in it. I don't happen to live there but as a born and raised New Yorker I care as much about it and its residents as I care about the rest of this great city. That is why I have made a stand on this site. That is why I will continue to make a stand. If you find my position misguided, amusing, ridiculous, so be it. You are welcome to join the conversation and make a constructive point.

Anonymous said...

Sure, Tom, sure. You and anon. #3 were in a sorority or fraternity, hence you're trying to extend those years in the EV. The original issue with this is how you lied and pulled a bait and switch to the CB3 to obtain your liquor license. If you would have said that your food would consist of you're serving now, and mentioned beer pong at your bar, do you think CB# would have granted you that liquor license. And anon.#3, why did you exactly move to the LES? It's' probably because of its bar scene, to get something, but not to create something. You won't be here long, much like the first management at that bar. Please stop with the denial already. Schadenfeude, still.

Anonymous said...

is the bar open tonite monday september 20th 2010 please email me back jamie argenta at

esquared™ said...

no, tom; you don't love the ev, you love your ev -- the douchefied it has become.