Neighbors Accuse Death & Co. of Noise, Evoking Nazism

We’re staying out of this one.Photo: Ben Ritter
Sasha Petraske’s new wine and beer joint wasn’t the only boîte that took a royal drubbing during Tuesday’s CB3 meeting. Neighbors of Death & Co. protested that the cocktail den, which serves a menu of small plates like macaroni and cheese on silver spoons, is only masquerading as a restaurant and deserves to have its liquor license revoked. The most vociferous protestor was upstairs neighbor Joe Hurley (who happens to be the front man of a bar band). In addition to complaining about noise, Hurley said that neighborhood seniors are scared of Death & Co.’s name (apparently, they’re okay with Rogue’s March, the name of Hurley’s band). Though Death’s name comes from a Prohibition-era anti-drinking propaganda piece, neighbors (according to those who spoke at the meeting) find it reminiscent of Nazi fascism and believe the stark cedar exterior recalls an Auschwitz rail car. “A restaurant with no windows seems like an affront,” Hurley said.

“I have a Holocaust relative myself,” said owner Dave Kaplan. “I have never considered it would be offensive in that way.” In fact, Kaplan says he’ll take down the scary black flag hanging outside (the exterior has been marked with a small sign since cops, during one of several noise-complaint investigations, issued a ticket for lack of posted name or address). Also at issue is the fact that the bar is less than 200 square feet from a synagogue, though it is no longer used as such and the rabbi signed a letter of no-complaint when the liquor license was granted six years ago to Little Hands Café, the owners of which are also involved in Death & Co. Though community-board members conceded the venue was serving small plates as it originally promised, they ultimately voted five to two to recommend non-renewal. For his part, Kaplan has hired a lawyer and is penning a letter to Mo Pitkin’s where Joe Hurley and Rogue’s March plays, to let them know Hurley isn’t exactly a friend of neighborhood bars. —Daniel Maurer

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