Monday, September 18, 2017

[Updated] A look at tonight's CB3 agenda, which includes the return of The Honey Fitz

CB3's SLA committee meets tonight at the Public Hotel, 17th Floor, Sophia Room, 215 Chrystie St. between Houston and Stanton. The festivities start at 6:30.

Here's a look at a few of the applicants on the agenda:


• 20 St Mark's Place — Applicants from Ichibantei, the 7-year-old "Japanese Soul Food & Drink" bar-restaurant on 13th Street near First Avenue, are looking to open a similar-sounding concept at 20 St. Mark's Place.

This space is above the Grassroots on the block between Second Avenue and Third Avenue that previously housed Sounds.

According to the application (PDF) at the CB3 website, this unnamed restaurant would seat 64 during their daily hours of 11 a.m. to 1 a.m.

The paperwork doesn't note if this would be a second location of Ichibantei or if they plan to move the business.

The fact that an applicant is looking to sell liquor in a space that wasn't previously licensed in a so-called Saturated Area has raised the ire of a few people on the block. While not named in the story, this application was the news hook in a St. Mark's Place Is Full-of-Bars piece in the Post yesterday.

Per the Post:

A proposal for yet another bar and restaurant at 20 St. Marks Place shows there are an astonishing 32 liquor licenses within 500 feet. And that’s before you count two more pending applications for watering holes, State Liquor Authority records show.


“Stacking bars on top of bars is not a happy thought for me,” said Ian Fair who ran Sounds for many years and still lives in the building. He closed the shop in 2015 after the landlord tripled the rent.


• 58 E. First St. — Applicants with experience at Casa Mizcal on Orchard Street and the Black Ant on Second Avenue are looking to open a restaurant called Boticarios in the space where Esperanto Fonda lasted nine months.

The application at the CB3 website (PDF) includes a sample menu.

While they haven't yet secured the liquor license, the owners have left a note for the neighboring residents about some renovations in the restaurant...


• 210 Avenue A — Applicants for The Honey Fitz are making another run at Avenue A. The proprietors, James Morrissey and Ian Nolan (The Late Late on East Houston and The VNYL on Third Avenue), were looking to open in 2016 in the space that is now home to Starbucks on Avenue A and St. Mark's Place. However, they held off given the uncertainty at the time surrounding the lease at Nino's.

They are proposing a bar-restaurant with hours of 11 a.m. to 4 a.m. daily. (I don't know if the networking space for freelancers is part of this proposal as it was for the St. Mark's Place space.)

The application (PDF) has all sorts of details about the proposed venture, including the menu. No. 210 at 13th Street is currently home to Percy's Tavern, who presumably would close if all this is OK'd.

Updated 9/17

BoweryBoogie reports that CB3 denied the application for the Honey Fitz. Per BB:

[Residents] further alleged that bringing in Morrissey with a 4am liquor license, and who has a terrible track record with VYNL and The Late Late, would only exacerbate an already saturated area. Indeed, the latter operation is considered one of the worst offenders in the district, and carries a report card of more than thirty 311 complaints. Residents on East 1st Street regularly complain about noise, which first has to travel past a clamorous Houston Street and then through First Park.

Remember, of course, that the original intent of The Late Late was an Irish gathering space that would feature “Irish gourmet food” and small poetry readings. Talk about bait-and-switch. This could be why so many turned up to speak in opposition (i.e. more than a dozen).


• 151 Avenue C — Studio 151, the three-year-old club from the owner of Nublu, is on the agenda for a new liquor license for the upstairs space here between Ninth Street and 10th Street.

I'm not sure what's going on with the space, which has been closed the past six months, per Studio 151's social media.
(You can find their CB3 application here.)

Neighbors have already been circulating flyers about this item...

[Photo by Steven]

The flyers cite Studio 151's "thirty year history of noise." To be fair, Studio 151 opened in July 2014. Speakeasy closed here in the spring of 2014.


sophocles said...

The New York Post has got it right. The "public interest" exception to the 500-foot rule has swallowed the rule. There is no public interest in having 10, 20, or 30 bars within 500 feet of each other. I've observed the 500-foot hearings at the Lennox Avenue State Liquor Authority Office, and I was basically told that without community opposition to a particular license the judge will recommend approval. Approval is the default position at the SLA. That's why we have endless liquor licenses...Contact me at rnh141 at gmail dot com to discuss solutions.

Anonymous said...

I don't know why or how the EV has earned the unequivocal destination for bros, sorority girls, and drunks. What is it about our community that attracts them?

As a long time, forty-something resident, I am concerned for the safety and well-being of fellow neighbors. With this bizarre loophole in place, how do we maintain equanimity amongst us? I have no issues with younger men and women who wish to spend money and have a bit of fun on the weekends. What I do take aim at is the over saturation of them. With more bars and so called full restaurants in line to open, it is impossible to avoid the insanity, crowding or noise.

There has to be another loophole, which protects people like us, who pay exorbitant rent, who don't want to deal with the bullshit. How do we draw the line?

Anonymous said...

Anyone concerned about the Honey Fitz application to take over Percy's should know that their business model is based on the concept that it's not enough for a restaurant to just serve food they also have to be a source of entertainment. Percy's offered enough "entertainment" as a loud, sports bar and the neighborhood doesn't need more of the same on a block that already has six noisy bars.

Scuba Diva said...

Consider this: if Ian Fair had gotten had gotten a liquor license for Sounds, he might still be there—even with the tripled rent.

Anonymous said...

Of all people to give a liquor license to: the Ichibantei folks should be given one. It's not a bar. It's definitely a restaurant with beer and wine. If you've ever been to the spot on 13th, they're so considerate and professional.

Anonymous said...

The attack on Nublu is beyond absurd. It is not a standard bar and they are good neighbors. They have diverse programming and with losing The Stone I think we really need them in the area. I don't understand fighting them at all.

Peter Feld said...

Very interesting background from GVSHP's Andrew Berman on the history of the building that houses Studio 151 (which, I have always liked Nublu's experimental music). The structure was designed by John B. Snook, who also designed the first Grand Central Station and both Vanderbilt mansions. It was commissioned by Macy's Nathan Straus as a safe milk lab for the neighborhood.

Anonymous said...

There was a guy sitting in front of 151 Avenue C trying to get me to sign his petition to open some sort of club on the second floor. He was annoyed when I said I couldn't because I don't live on that block and that the decision should be up to the people who live right there.

Anonymous said...

I feel for the people who live over Percy's. I was at a community council meeting attended by one of the residents who is tortured by the noise from the bar now. Why don't these joints have to get proper sound proofing? I don't get it. How can there be no rules about that?

Anonymous said...

The upper blocks of Ave A have become a "mini-Hell's Square" in the past few years. One loud bar after the other, open facades and concert level music pouring out from each one of them. Customers yell on top of the noise to hear each other, Ubers' taxis private mercilessly honk their horns all hours of the night. If we don't show up at these CB3 meetings we what is left of any quality of life is fucked.

Anonymous said...

I hate that this neighborhood has somehow (how, Mayor De Blasio?) become a de facto drunk-a-rama. Forget "bodega" vending boxes, they should just install alcohol vending boxes and maybe there'd be less pounding music to go with that.

I live here & have lived here for many years; yes I was young once - but I didn't "party" every single weekend, nor did I get vomit-drunk or blackout-drunk regularly, as I see (and hear) young people doing on the streets around my home every weekend.

I feel like if anyone were TRYING to drive stable, sane, long-term tenants out of this neighborhood (and BTW, I don't rent, I own), they could hardly do a better job than the SLA and current NYC administration are doing.

Anonymous said...

Just your typical song and dance from CB3 and SLA. There's really no rhyme or reason for their liquor licences approval -- arbitrary and capricious and political.

And just another excuse for them to get into posh "meeting places". Sp expect liquor licenses being shilled out esp. to The Honey Fitz, since this will be held at the 17th floor of The Public Hotel where they are immune and insulated from noise from the bars below.

sophocles said...

They voted to oppose the honey fitz largely because of owners poor track record.

Unknown said...

I am a neighbor to Studio 151. They operate against the law. They do NOT behave as good neighbors. They should be denied the right to operate for the full building.

Anonymous said...

I love how these new places post these friendly signs asking neighbors to stop in and say hi, then they aren't so friendly once they are in place and making noise and neighbors stop by to complain.