Monday, August 17, 2020

SLA temporarily suspends the liquor license at St. Dymphna's on Avenue A


[Photos by Stacie Joy]

St. Dymphna's is temporarily closed now on Avenue A between Seventh Street and St. Mark's Place.

According to the paperwork from the State Liquor Authority posted on the front windows, the Irish-style pub had previously been warned — on June 18 and Aug. 5 — for patrons "lingering and/or congregating" outside the establishment.

The paperwork also states that on Aug. 11, an SLA agent saw patrons drinking "without accompanying appropriate food orders" ... and that "the licensee was unable to produce any receipts for food to comply with the requirement that the licensee serve food with any alcoholic beverage purchase."







Co-owner Brendan McElroy addressed the closure in an Instagram post yesterday:

With a heavy heart, I have to announce to you all that St Dymphna’s will be closed, pending a hearing for our liquor license suspension. We were unfairly targeted by the state liquor authority, and issued baseless citations — similar to what has happened to several other bars in the neighborhood. Our attorney is on the case and we will fight this. Looking forward to the day we when we reopen and hang out in our new backyard space...

St. Dymphna's opened here last August, relocating from its home of 24 years on St. Mark's Place.

Several other East Village establishments, including Lucky, the Hairy Lemon, Maiden Lane and the Wayland, had had their liquor licenses temporarily suspended in recent weeks.

Lucky owner Abby Ehmann had started a petition calling for Gov. Cuomo to reverse the state's new mandate that bars must serve substantial amounts of food with any alcohol purchase.

Updated 5:30 p.m.

The SLA posted this about their actions at St. Dymphna's:

On August 11th, investigators with the state's multi-agency task force observed numerous patrons standing, drinking, and ignoring social distancing guidelines outside the premises, with multiple customers observed ordering beverages from a takeout window. Investigators checking sales receipts found that practically no food was purchased with orders that evening, in violation of the Governor's Executive Orders. This was the third strike for this business, a repeat offender that the SLA had charged for violating the Governor's Executive Orders on June 26th and on August 10th.

30 comments:

Anonymous said...

I love this place and am a customer but the situation is out of control now that they are on Avenue A and everyone has to drink outside. The sidewalks are clogged with people. They are also ordering at the bar and bringing the party into Tompkins and they are drunk and not wearing masks. It isn’t the bar’s fault. They can’t control their customers. People drink and get tipsy and less careful. But this isn’t working for anyone.

afbp said...

tiresome---'the other guys are ignoring the mandate'---take some responsibility (as business neighbors) and follow safety stuff !

Anonymous said...

The fine balance of small businesses operating amidst this pandemic was always going to be a challenge.. instead of social goers taking this opportunity to step back from normal day to day and avoid crowds, they want to be out at these outdoor places more than ever it seems.. shouldn’t take it out on businesses, have cops moving people along the public streets instead of loitering ...

Anonymous said...

Thanks Cuomo! We don’t need any bars or restaurants left in the city, anyway.

dwg said...

Insisting bars become restaurants doesn't seem realistic. But at the same time too many bars are allowing large crowds, little or no social distancing, noise and loud music. Those are things they can control but are intent in keeping a party atmosphere at any cost which is negligent.

Anonymous said...

I wish people waiting for tables at Yuca bar on 7th and A would not congregate on the curb. I saw some of them not move for a man using a wheelchair.

Anonymous said...

Honest question -- do you have to order food with every round of drinks? Can I have a drink, then order a second one later with food?

Anonymous said...

Yes,a Yuca suspension is high on my wish list.

Anonymous said...

You only have to order once.

Anonymous said...

@8:50 AM
you have to order food only for the first round.
that's why the police's complaint that patrons were drinking "without accompanying appropriate food orders" is fishy, since when I get my second round I'm not eating anymore. I guess you need to keep some food crumbs on you plate as proof haha.

Giovanni said...

So close down a lane of traffic on Avenue A and put out as many tables as are necessary. This constant back and forth with the SLA is a ridiculous waste of time and money. The inspectors should instead be talking to customers an educating them on distancing rules.

People are also clustering in large groups in all of the city parks. I saw over 100 guys all dressed in Speedo’s halving a drinking party in the Sheep’s Meadow in Central Park last weekend, and no masks. It looks like the Fire Island parties have moved back into the city where no one is breaking them up. The issue is with people in. general who are still not behaving responsibly. Now that college students are returning to school, the drinking parties have already begun in Alabama and Georgia. Next stop, the East Village.

Anonymous said...

"we were unfairly targeted" ... HUH? Because you had no idea any enforcement was going on?!

Now pull my other leg.



Anonymous said...

They should only focus on enforcing the distancing. The food rules are ridiculous!

Anonymous said...

I'm sorry but this suspension was absolutely was not "baseless" and I highly doubt they were "targeted" for any reason beyond non-compliance. Last Saturday I walked home on Avenue A from 14th street to 6th street around 8 p.m. and absolutely regretted it. There were hoardes of people outside everywhere, very few wearing face coverings, many drinking without food, tables nowhere near appropriately spaced and the corner with St. Dyphna's and Yuca Bar were by far the worst on the avenue. It was already hard to be a pedestrian in this city and now it's near impossible. I have lived in this neighborhood my entire life and I want nothing more than for our small businesses to succeed and be able to weather this pandemic. But IT IS still a pandemic and these establishments are doing nothing to abide by the rules put in place to protect all of us from what just weeks ago was a catastrophic death toll in our state. How easily people forget. Drinking outside with huge groups is not necessary. I haven't been to a bar, hair salon, pool, beach, or anything all summer. I have seen next to none of my friends. Vacations and concerts all canceled. I'm bored, too. But I don't see how getting a beer is more important than the potential lives lost. Order from your favorite restaurants! Stop by for takeout! It's not hard to support businesses safely, if that is everyone's main concern. But it seems getting drunk is higher on the priority list.

Anonymous said...

Well, this used to be a low-key neighborhood hangout, but as the word got around and the neighborhood changed, St. Dymphna's has tilted towards a clannish and cliquish bar, like a private club where you are welcomed based on your looks/appearance or know a secret handshake or password.

I guess that exclusionary has bommeranged on them since the SLA has exclusively "unfairly targeted" them "and issued baseless citation", much like when a customer is being unfairly targeted and issued a baseless judgments by St. Dymphna's staff when they feel like you do not belong in this private, posh, privileged club.

St. Dymphna -- patron saint of the mentally ill and emotionally disturbed, go figure.

LPIFLY said...

Unfortunately Yuca has a full 'substantial' menu to offer so doesnt look like they be in the first round of targets even though I agree theyve been pushing it for months

EP said...

The whole point is that you shouldn't be ordering round after round of drinks. You should not remain at the establishment after you've finished eating. So if you get a second drink, it should be while you still have some of your meal in front of you. If you're done eating and you order another drink, you're now not complying and should either yes, order more food, or more appropriately, call it a night. Which was obviously the point of making this rule that people must eat substantial food with their drink. It was supposed to deter people from lingering and causing these large crowds.

Anonymous said...

If they put half the effort into smarter, more efficient, and more fact based guidelines, all this bureaucratic SLA nonsense wouldn't even be happening.

Clown mayor, clown governor, leads to clown policy.

Poor candidate options yield poor elected leaders and we end up...here.

Ugh.

Anonymous said...

Who needs the SLA shutting things down when we have a major downpour almost daily to make outdoor seating impossible? These sudden showers and thunderstorms — plus that hurricane two weeks ago — has meant even less business for restaurants, especially when it rains on the weekends. We just had another huge downpour tonight that cleared out the few customers that came out to eat on a Monday night. And winter is coming.

Anonymous said...

This business needs to hire someone who solely enforces public mandates and ensures measures. I am tired of the shit show that is Alphabet City. I am unable to walk past this place to my apt on most days/nights because a majority of patrons aren't wearing masks and social distancing. It boils my blood to witness inconsiderate assholes with no regard or respect for the very neighbors like me and others who pay an enormous amount of money to live here, who just want to make it through the pandemic and not become ill or die. I am done with those who don't care about the safety and public health of others. Grow up, people! This isn't 2019 or the French Quarter!

Sarah said...

Walk by this place a lot and have to say the suspension was merited.

C'mon, people, everyone wants you EV small businesses to survive, so how about a little basic responsibility?

Anonymous said...

I am a patron of St Dymphnas. Guys, let's be honest, you were not in compliance on multiple issues. Pull your tails out from between your legs, clean up your act & get back to business.

Anonymous said...

To a certain degree the places that are having trouble with the SLA are the very same places that were poor neighbors in the before times. A prime example of this will be what appears to be the re-opening of the place on Avenue C between 10th and 11th. If the crowds they will draw behave similarly to their traditional customers they will not be open for more than a few weekends before we, their neighbors, report them once again now that the stakes for them are even higher. Has anyone drawn up a list of tradition santacon supporting places so we can be rid of them once an for all?

Anonymous said...

These bars were bad neighbors before the pandemic and they are just as bad now. I am so tired of dealing with drunken bros. The owners don’t care about putting people in danger. If it wasn’t legal for people to drink on the street before, why do it now? We have to walk not by one or two drunk guys. We have to navigate sidewalks packed with dozens of drunk people. It’s so dangerous because of the pandemic and for safety in general.

Anonymous said...

Wow, what a terrible sentiment. Let’s make complaints against bars *we don’t like* just to take advantage of the current precarious climate, in which so many businesses are struggling to survive?

I hope you aren’t one of my neighbors.

Anonymous said...

It’s not *bars we don’t like*, it’s the bad neighbors, as 4:58 and others have pointed out. These are largely the same places that never had crowd control before and still have not learned how to do so.

Anonymous said...

Restaurants and bars need to sue Cuomo for a new reopening plan, since there currently isn’t one,

Anonymous said...

“Has anyone drawn up a list of tradition santacon supporting places so we can be rid of them once an for all?”

Right. Certainly not about bars the commenter does not like.

Sanctimony is sanctimony. Specific personal ideology not required.

An EVer said...

Um have you seen the insanity of santacon?
Why would you want to support bars like that?

Pat Volpe said...

This is a sad story. Yes, it’s rather disingenuous for the co-owner to fault “unfair targeting” rather than own up to flagrant, repeated violations. That is an understandable response, though, seeing that there are numerous policy and social issues colored grey in these interesting times. And you’ll see a quiet transformation, that from first posting a vow to “fight” the assessment, there follows this week a post begging donations to pay off the fine and legal fees. Perhaps in time there will be contrition.

As for the criticism that St. D’s has become cliquish and exclusive, that has always been true, just as all bars and restaurants develop a certain character and crowd. Perhaps what the critic found offensive is the particular make-up of the ‘in crowd’. The former St. Marks St. Ds was egalitarian and broadly artistic, drawing a daytime crowd of affable soccer fans giving way to eccentrics, poets, SVA alum .. a tight dance of the mentally inflicted and vapid but stylish scensters. The outwardly douchey were either naturally discouraged or found no attraction in such a place, although in recent years the accommodating of NYU students made weekends less desirable for the locals.

And the ‘new St Ds’? St Ds on A? What about its degree of hospitality and component of patrons does our fair critic find fault? Yes, it is a different ownership group, with a very young heir / silent investor with an edict from the get-go to attract and cater to the beautiful fabulists of the LES. Has that been at the expense of say, a ‘regular regular’ marginalized or frozen out like so many margaritas to go? Why does it matter? There are other bars! A great, great many other bars. And that’s how this tale might resolve itself, unfortunately to the detriment of the owners.

I believe in private clubs. I think it proper and wonderful that each year, each generation a gang may form out of the city’s new blood, from England, Sweden, Columbia, even as far as upstate New York, that can bond, and call a place ‘home’, and that likewise, a club can say “there,, there are Our people” … such a kinship is stronger than a simple bar-patron relationship. Again, though, that is to the detriment of the owners. For these wonderful, outrageous scensters, agents, camera-men and other peripheral figures of the fashion industry will — and have — regroup and plant their flag elsewhere. Drink at say, one of the Josie’s but Like the St Ds Instagram. Where does that leave the owner?

Sadly, I fear the active partners, who are good, fine people, and were perhaps over influenced by their silent young bon vivant of a master, are left holding the bag. And maybe, they have time for some soul-searching. However long a ride lasts as a bar owner, it ends with a question : ‘was it worth it?’ We would hope, invariably, the answer would be yes. To be atop a hierarchy of libertines can provide a lifetime of blissful memories. So that even if one’s pockets are empty, the mind is full of truly amazing escapades. But as things stand, these guys are in the hole for a lot of money, and one wonders: how can it go on, and if it goes on, how shall it go? To those being asked for a donation, what can they expect at a new, new St Ds on A? The age-old question arises : What does it profit a man to sell-out the soul of a 30 year old neighborhood institution, for a few months of exclusive parties, only to lose the body of that bar?

I believe that if this gang shows some contrition, vows to the community that it has in place a way for the violations not to re-occur, and perhaps broadens the group of people it deems welcome (side note: where is it written that the dark shadow of a certain Columbian, welcomed into this country and city but openly known as the single biggest discriminating asshole in the LES must have authority over any business with the name of Saint Dymphna? ) then the funding will come in, and the party will go on. Hopefully we are all soon raising our “Imperial-sized” glasses and toasting “To St Ds. Many many more!! “