Is Sweet & Vicious the Next Downtown Drink Den in Danger?

Photo: Lauren Klain Carton

Should we add Sweet & Vicious to the list of downtown nightlife institutions that are in danger? As with most stories that come out of the bar, the details are hazy, but owner Hakan Karamahmutoglu tells us this much: “Somebody wants my business and they are trying back channel ways to get it.” Back in January, an establishment named Spring Bar was expected to come before Community Board 2 to ask for a liquor license at Sweet & Vicious’s current address, but it withdrew its application; now it’s back on the docket. Here’s how Karamahmutoglu explains it: “The landlord claimed he signed a lease [with Spring Bar] a year ago but these people never acted on the lease. They never applied for their liquor license. They don’t have any budget for a liquor license — at the time they were together with the landlord to force me out.”

Karamahmutoglu says he thinks his landlord told him about the deal “just to scare me” into paying a higher rent, and he describes Spring Bar’s dealings as “very shady … everything stinks,” but says that its lease was eventually canceled. Spring Bar fought for it in court, but Karamahmutoglu says that just yesterday a judge ruled in his favor, and he expects to sign a new lease in the coming days. As things now stand, he says, “The landlord doesn’t want them — the landlord went to the first liquor license meeting and told them he wasn’t with them.”

Karamahmutoglu doesn’t think Spring Bar will show up at tonight’s meeting, but he himself plans to show up just in case. He admits that the owners of Spring Bar are still after him: “They’re asking to get money from me to disappear, but the judge has already decided, so I don’t know why I have to pay these people. They have no grounds for a lease.” So what if they do make a move to bump Sweet & Vicious from its space after fourteen years? “If they want to come take everything from me with a $10,000 budget, I’ll rip everything up,” says Karamahmutoglu. “I’m not giving my license to anyone anyway.”

Is Sweet & Vicious the Next Downtown Drink Den in Danger?