Tuesday, April 24, 2012

SLA approves liquor license for 200 Avenue A

[File photo of 200 Avenue A]

Finally, an end to the ongoing saga of 200 Avenue A, the corpse of Superdive... As you may recall, a group calling themselves Hospitality LLC with a concept for an "art gallery with a full-service restaurant" (smell machine!) concept had appeared before and been rejected by the CB3/SLA committee three times.

The group then decided to go directly to the State Liquor Authority for its license. Read the background here. Then they went back to the CB3/SLA committee in March. Rejected again.

And, they kept fighting. Today, the group went before the State Liquor Authority. According to an interested observer there, "When it became clear that things might not go Hospitality LLC's way, they more or less surprised everyone and at the last minute agreed to a midnight closing on weekends. Didn't see that one coming."


Anyway, they really want to open here regardless of what the neighbors might think.

Here is what we know about them based on their CB3 documents from the March CB3/SLA meeting:

The three principals are looking at business hours of 11 a.m. to midnight Sunday through Thursday; until 2 a.m. on Fridays and Saturdays. The kitchen will be open to within one hour of closing. The application also shows that they'd be 19 tables seating 52 people, plus one bar with 12 additional seats. The gallery-restaurant would employ between 20-25 people. Lastly, there are proposed "promoted events, scheduled performances."


Big Brother said...

Is Patty Hearst still in the SLA?

Anonymous said...

Wow. I'm surprised they got approved at all. What recourse do the neighbors have if these folks refuse to abide by the closing time? I hope it works out well for everyone, but honestly, this seems like it's going to be a disaster for everyone involved.

Uncle Waltie said...

General Field Marshal Cinque will be taking reservations after 3 PM.

Brian Van said...

If they don't abide by the stipulations as a liquor-serving business, the SLA will have good cause to decline to renew the license in a year or two. Given that the space is not ready to open tomorrow, it's not the end of the world - at best, it could only be a nuisance for a few months before consequences would catch up to them. The Superdive situation was an aberration... and was eventually resolved without the place being a nuisance for too long.

The problem is that CB3 ineffectively negotiated terms with yet another business operator, and the SLA made an (indirect) statement once again that CB3 argues against the side of reason. The SLA thinks it's okay for this location to be licensed with certain stipulations. CB3 came up with no such solution - they simply heckled and harassed anyone who attempted to seek an endorsement.

I think it'll work out in the end for mostly everyone, but I'm also pretty sure that there will be a couple of the usual NIMBYs on that block who repeatedly seek things to complain about. We likely haven't heard the last of this.

Hey19 said...

Speaking of north Ave A, whats w this place, 'The Horse Box'? Why is it in apostrophes? What is a horse box? I had a drink or two on sunday, after being wary, and its a good little spot, less crowded than Destination, better music actually, relaxed, cool staff. It just seems like it popped up while i wasnt looking, and I am really confused w the punctuation.

dwg said...

CB3 as well as residents presented a good case against renewal and SLA was ready to deny until last minute acceptance by Hospitality to close earlier. They will indeed be under a microscope, but it's obvious they will try to extend hours of operation as soon as possible. The last thing this neighborhood needed was another bar/restaurant (art gallery or not). There has been and will continue to be reason to make complaints, but fingers crossed that 200 Ave A will be a reasonably quiet venue and run as well as they say.

Anonymous said...

The people involved with Hospitality LLC are the most audacious Hipster/Yunnies around. You know, they shove it in your face. They originally tried for the whole nine yards but were repeatedly denied by CB3, and rightfully so. They wanted a 4 am closing with the use of the backyard, a bar, a restaurant, an art gallery, an artists studio a residency program, an herb garden, local foods, fine teas and artisanal cocktails.
They pitched that they are cutting edge innovators of culture, combining food, art and intellectual conversation for a futuristic world which they are going to pioneer. Well if the people tell you that they don't want this shit-show then stop forcing it down our throats .

I'll tell you what really went down and why they got approved. The former owner of Superdive threatened to sue the SLA, who had incorrectly denied his renewal. in other words the former owner of Superdive kept his license in safe keeping and the SLA for some reason has no legal right to deny the renewal, so they forced a compromise in order not to be sued. The compromise is a 12 am closing seven nights a week with an art gallery that will close at 8 pm every night and any live music for the gallery portion will have to close at 8.

glamma said...


NO ONE is policing bars or bar-goers in the mardi gras that has become alphabet city.
Why would we expect them to start now??

I would like to cordially invite the entire SLA to spend a Saturday night on Avenue A. Please, oh please, be our guest.


Brian Van said...


Respectfully, I've been on Avenue A on Saturday nights, and I find things to be quite orderly and peaceful, almost always. Most of the local businesses are very cooperative with the neighbors. Superdive was the exception. (I am hoping that the new venue does not "pull a Superdive" and instead has minimal negative impact on its neighbors)

I'm seeing very differing opinions on what constitutes a reasonable level of noise/activity on Avenue A at certain hours. That's perhaps understandable. What I don't understand is why the debate about it is so shrill and vicious. That's one thing that certainly each side could control in the debate, because otherwise everyone's getting nowhere fast. (And the SLA is acting accordingly)

It is interesting to consider that this license approval is the result of the SLA botching the Superdive situation.

Anonymous said...

Art gallery my ass. Rapture Books / Superdive was supposed to be a bookstore. Hanging one or two paintings on a wall does not make it an art gallery.

Anonymous said...

@ Brian Van

"local businesses are very cooperative with the neighbors", maybe. But the patrons aren't. And I know these businesses have no control over their partorns behaviours. However, the whole point is, Avenue A, not to mention EV, is already saturated with bars that attract not the locals but the fratboys, bridge and tunnelers, college kids, transients, a majority that have no ties to the neighborhood, thus do not respect how they treat it. SLA could've made a statement by declining them a liquor license. It does not have to be a bar that has to open up there. Avenue A and the EV is a residential neighborhood. It is not some strip main street in Podunk, Midwest U.S.A. where it's commercial during the day and bars and nightlife at night. You obviously did not grow up in the EV. Jersey, yes. But how much longer will be in the EV?

Anonymous said...

What time have you been out, what night of the week and what was the weather like? On a Friday or Saturday night in May, without any rain? On those nights when you turn down Avenue A beginning on 14th street you can hear the roar of the crowds, as every one of these places has their front-doors and windows open. There are people staggering into the street and screaming at cabs, there are cabs lined-up down the entire stretch of the Avenue, delivery bikes going in every direction. If you don't have your head on a swivel you might be walking to Beth Israel. Then in the morning every single Village Voice box is turned over, trash cans knocked over and garbage mixed with vomit on the sidewalks. Not being shrill, just stating the facts that most of us who live on Avenue A deal with every nice weekend.

dwg said...

Respectively I live on Avenue A between 12th and 13th 365 days a year. If you'd lived through Superdive and now endure crowds and noise from Common Ground, Destination, Drop Off Service, Fat Buddah, Percy's and now Double Wide your opinion of quality of life would be quite different.

Brian Van said...

I think the point that everyone is missing is that Avenue A is designated as an AVENUE.

I live on First Avenue. Even our back windows are exposed to tons of vehicle noise at all hours. Heavy vehicle noise is MUCH LOUDER than people.

When I lived on Allen Street, it was much worse. There were people talking loudly, there were loud vehicles, and there were guys blasting music from the car speakers at all hours.

But it was OK! And I knew what I was getting into when I moved there. And so should everyone who moved to Avenue A, because it's always had a bunch of shops and bars. It's a good idea to limit that activity to the designated avenues. I suspect the people who have the most complaints about the situation are being disingenuous, acting as if normal city ambient noise is a "nuisance". I can name a bunch of places in NYC, with residential zoning, where the ambient noise at night is much, much worse than what you're dealing with.

Maybe some people are sensitive because Alphabet City has a troubled past, and thus wasn't as busy 20-30 years ago? I think it's more realistic to walk one block over to First Avenue and see how the noise compares. I know Avenue A should have less noise than that. In my experience, it clearly does.

glamma said...

@ Brian Van - respectfully.
You do make a good point about the debate not needing to be quite so vicious and shrill. I concede. Some may laugh but I am actually trying to "reign it in a little" myself these days, if for no other reason than to have my statements be more digestible and thus audible to a larger audience.
However, the picture that 4:58 paints is spot-on.
As a stand alone event, this action by the SLA is one thing.
But taken in the context of Avenue A 2012, it is entirely problematic.
First off, that the SLA conpletely undermined the CB3 in this case fares dangerously for future decisions. In many cases CB3 is the last, thin veil of reason protecting us residents from all-out bedlam in our hood. As you may have noticed, even in resolution areas, licenses STILL get granted, and at an alarming pace nonetheless. There is a reason these have been declared resolution areas- they are entirely overrun with bars. There are like 30 liquor licenses on St Marks bet A & 1st ALONE. Second, that the SLA did this on the back of and to compensate for their own error is even worse.
Third, considering 4:58's desctipion, that there is absolutely ZERO police presence in the area leaves us further vulnerable (and is blatantly intentional). Bloomberg and Kelly's NYC is one in which consumers have carte blanche, and residents are a nusiance that stand in the way of profits (increasingly had with blatant corruption at the hands of government agencies). Community organizing is under attack. Peaceful nonconformists are beaten by police.
It's not so much the noise, it's not that it's simply crowded on the street, or that people are drinking (9alot) - it's the TYPE of culture around all this that is being propogated, and moreover, the pre-existing (far superior) culture that is getting stamped out as a result.
The East Village has ALWAYS been a culturally and socially important neighborhood, an ethnic melting pot full of artists and activists, diverse, progressive people with a social conscious, respect for eachother and for the history of the city.
Now we are relentlessly invaded by vapid consumerist maniacs hopped up on cupcakes and artisal cocktails. It's really, really sad.
Think about it. We received revenue from 50 MILLION tourists last year, a record number, yet they are slashing every social program they can, closing entire schools, hospitals, nursing homes... This is about more than just money. It is an all-out assault on the residents of New York City and I simply fail to see it as anything but.
Who will protect us from out own government? Please, tell me. I'd really like to know. Not the SLA, that's for sure!

Jill said...

@brian - if this was the neighborhood I moved into I would probably have a different attitude, but this is not the neighborhood I moved into or have been in for 2/3 of the time I've lived here. You knew what you were getting into, but this has dramatically changed, so no, this is not what I signed up for, and my roots are here, leaving isn't so easy or desirable. Even people in big cities develop emotional ties to their neighbors, friends, life, and want to stay, just like in non-cities where people live in the same house for generations.

Now, even living on a side street, it is noisier and more obnoxious than it's ever been in 30 years and it's getting worse. Plus, some members of the community are promoting the idea that bars and restaurants are the economic future of our neighborhood and are trying to find ways to encourage MORE to come in.

The SLA is the only legal obstruction to opening a new bar, and a lame one at that. Why beer and wine is differentiated from hard liquor is beyond me, they cause similar trouble. Anybody who has experienced a keg party would have to agree.