Thursday, September 22, 2011

Making the case to 'save' Heathers

We haven't heard much about Heathers — for or against — since the CB3/SLA committee voted not to renew the East 13th Street bar's liquor license on Monday. Members of the 13th Block Association and other residents brought "No renewal for Heathers" signs to the meeting. Residents speaking out against the bar talked about the Heather's crowd smoking pot, urinating in doorways and what not. (The Times highlighted the ongoing noise issues in a lengthy article in January 2007.)

Owner Heather Millstone reminded everyone how surveillance tapes that she provided helped lead to the arrest of former NYPD officers Kenneth Moreno and Franklin L. Mata.

According to the State Liquor Authority, the license for Heathers expires on Oct. 31.

As you know, the State Liquor Authority has the final say in these matters. This doesn't mean that Heathers will close. As we mentioned earlier, the CB3/SLA committee voted to deny TenEleven's license renewal in July, though the SLA later approved it.

Meanwhile, Keith Wagstaff, a writer for The L Magazine, checked in yesterday with a post titled "Save Heathers! Beloved E Village Bar Under Attack From NIMBYs." He writes:

This simply shall not stand. Heathers has been in the neighborhood since 2005; it is a bastion for a diverse mix of gay and straight creatives who are looking for a drink in an increasingly frat-like East Village bar scene.

2005? Well, OK. Also...

The main problems, as a person who has been going to Heathers consistently for years, is a) the bar is on a side street instead of a main avenue b) it's just too damn popular. The East Village bar scene is basically becoming divided into fancy, $13 cocktail places and beer pong douche-a-ramas. ... There are very few bars in the East Village with an artistic bent and affordable drinks, and if Heathers goes, there will be one less reason to leave Brooklyn.

You can read the entire post here.


Anonymous said...

Stay in Brooklyn, do us a favor. This is not a cool or artistic place. They think that they are cool and artistic!

blue glass said...

my thoughts exactly.
stay in brooklyn.
who asked what you think of the bars in our neighborhood?
heathers is so cool? take it home with you.

Kurt said...

What is wrong with you people? Two days ago most of you didn't even know Heather's was there so was it really a bad neighbor? It's a genuinely good bar with reasonable prices that generally caters to people with an artistic bent. Do you hate it because many of the patrons are young are because it's not a "favored" bar by the readers of this blog?

Anonymous said...

Heathers is a great bar! It's the type of bar that the east village needs. Before you all hate on it - go check it out. Most people who go there are from the e village and are trying to escape the sports and bro bars around them. It is also a bar that welcomes gays, artists and oddballs - go heathers.

Anonymous said...

"artistic bent"

truly creative people wouldn't want to be referred to as having an "artistic bent", a little tightly wound, choice of words that is.

Kurt said...

@Anon 12:03 - Whatever. You people sound more and more like insular hicks I wanted to move away from or scared old people that become paranoid of "outsiders".

Anonymous said...

I've lived in the neighborhood since 1999, and have always found Heathers to be one of the better bars in the neighborhood.

Of course, I don't live directly over them and I don't go there (or most EV bars) on the weekends.

Anonymous said...

A agree, I very rarely go to Heather's but it seems more neighborhoody and classic East Village than most. Owner seems to be reasonable.

bowery boy said...

I rarely get that far east, so I don't know from Heathers, but folks seem to be saying some nice things about it here. Then what's the deal? As someone who has gone to more SLA and other CB3 meetings that I ever wished, I know that people don't show up unless they're really pissed. And people clearly showed up to put down Heathers.

Is it impossible for Heather to be a good neighborhood? Are the locals asking too much? Why can't it control their patrons? And it ain't the size of the street; it's the size of the sidewalks. Can't Heather understand that those have to be used by more than just paying customers?

I don't get it, but I do know that if Heathers wasn't making life miserable for folks, they sure has heck would be doing something better with their lives than holding up signs at a community board meeting. Even crackpots have better things to do.

Anonymous said...

so are you for or against Heather's?

You are absolutely right. These people don't have a life. They are surrounded by Heathers, Common Ground, The Fat Buddah, Drop Off Service, Destination, Phoenic, Planet Rose, Horse Box, and many others. Why should these people have to deal with swarms of people flooding the neighborhood. And why come here? What's here? Too much of the same shit. I like the way Heather spoke about how great she is and how her patrons are directed to Avenue A to smoke?

Jeremiah Moss said...

i never heard of Heathers until this controversy, so i can't speak on it. but i do wonder about the passionate outrage over losing a bar that's only been around since 2005. we've lost so many true EV institutions recently, and risk losing so many more, this passion for a newcomer feels misplaced.

really, those of us who fight and cry for Mars Bar, St. Mark's Books, the Amato Opera House, etc., etc., ad infinitum are suburbanites who should go live in Connecticut?

Anonymous said...

One of my favorite things is when bar owners tell their patrons to go smoke around the corner etc. How is that controlling the situation, just tell them to go to Avenue A. Well there are those of us who live on Ave A too, so what the f***k does that do? I couldn't agree more with the person who posted the comment listing all the bars within 500' of this place - how much should people have to put up with before they stand up and do something. Finally this bullshit about artist bent and young and creative etc. The issue with heathers or any other bar in the neighborhood is not about the type of crowd, it is how that crowd acts after they have a few drinks or a few too many. There is no difference between 5 fratties, 5 yuppies, 5 yunnies, 5 hipsters, 5 gays, 5 straights, 5 freakin star treck fans for that matter stumbling out of a bar to pee, smoke butts, scream at a passing cab, or shout into their cell phones. They all sound the same in the middle of the night and it is the responsibility of the bar owner and their staff to deal with it, and heather isn't doing the job.

Jill said...

The problem with Heather's is that she made a lot of promises (in writing) to the neighbors at 2 separate meetings since she opened, and then didn't follow through. Having a bar on a residential side street does require a certain kind of vigilance in order to maintain good relations with your neighbors.

The residents at the meeting said that things were actually just fine for about a year after the last meeting 2 years ago, and then she seemed to have stopped coming to the bar (she has another place in Brooklyn) and responding to complaints or staying on top of the situation.

So, she proved that she has the ability to work with her patrons to not disturb the neighbors, but something happened and it didn't last. Plus, at the meeting this week, she refused to admit that there was a problem, ignoring the complaints from all the people that live around there who showed up to testify to the problems they are experiencing from her patrons. She refused to take any responsibility for the issue or come up with a plan of action to better the situation, which was all that was needed to get approved, but since she wouldn't do it, they had no choice but to deny the renewal.

After I first heard about the complaints 2 years ago I went there to see what it was like. I also never heard of it before, and there is no sign on the front so you might not know it was there, or that it wasn't a private club of some kind. I guess I went a little early, maybe around 10pm, and it seemed ok, nothing special, nothing bad, a normal kind of bar. By 11pm the DJ and crowds of people showed up. The house-style music was so loud that it was literally impossible to have any conversation. It was not enjoyable at all and I had a sore throat for a couple days after from yelling over the music.

Since then I started paying attention to what was going on over there and I noticed pretty much every time I walked by there were throngs of people often standing outside the door, and any time you have throngs, you have more than normal noise.

Anonymous said...

"Owner Heather Millstone reminded everyone how surveillance tapes that she provided helped convict former NYPD officers Kenneth Moreno and Franklin L. Mata in the rape trial."

I live really close to Heathers, never been there but never had any opinion one way or the other, either. But I did know they supplied video to help arrest the Rape Cops, and I applaud that with all my heart.

However, it should be pointed out that the tape did not "help convict" Moreno, the main rapist, or Mata, the accomplice. They were fucking acquitted!

Not sure if Ms. Millstone is actually claiming that she helped convict rapist cops (which would be a really gross, false, and wrong thing to do) or if something was mistakenly/innocently lost in translation here on this post (and Millstone said nothing of the sort). I will assume it's the latter, but ask everyone to remember that the Rape Cops GOT OFF SCOT-FREE.

For fuck's sake, Moreno didn't even get busted for the dope in his locker. Please don't forget.

EV Grieve said...

@anon 10:46

Ugh. That was totally my fault.... She said nothing of the sort. Blame me for the wording. I changed it in the post. My apologies.

Anonymous said...

Thanks, Grieve. And my apologies to Millstone for speculating.

I will now go back to utter Heathers neutrality, Drop-Off Service being the big bee in my bonnet. Seriously, that bar irritates the shit out of me! (though not enough to do anything except sneer at their useless "bouncers" and lament my old laundromat)