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Neighbors Block Sale of Williamsburg Hip-Hop Bar to Balthazar Bartender

We’ve heard plenty about bars being shot down by the community when they try to open, but what about when they’re trying to close? Lindsey Caldwell sent us a desperate e-mail on behalf of her husband Myles Tipley, a co-owner of the artsy Williamsburg hip-hop bar Triple Crown, saying that “the community board refuses to allow [the owners] to sell the place.” The bar has been closed for eight months (with events here and there) after the burden of addressing noise complaints proved too much. But in the meantime, rent and bills have cost the owners $135,000, plus an average of about $7,000 per week in lost revenue, Caldwell says.

According to Caldwell, a months-old plan to sell the bar to potential buyer Mike Jaramillo, owner of the Maxim gym, fell through when neighbors wearing “No Triple Crown” T-shirts presented a petition protesting the sale. Jaramillo rescinded his offer in the middle of a community board meeting. Last Wednesday the CB refused to approve a sale to Jeff Webber, a bartender at Balthazar who has been under contract for the past eight months to buy the bar and turn it into what Caldwell says would be a “lounge/wine bar/cafe. WAY more chill and quiet.” The neighbors are apparently suspicious of guilt by association, and the CB says it will approve the transfer only with certain provisions to be outlined later (and that Caldwell suspects will be unreasonable). “This is a personal vendetta against us,” insists Caldwell. Which makes us wonder how the neighbors feel about the bar down the block that lets people smoke and stays open after-hours?

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