Community Board 3’s liquor license committee approved Matt Levine’s takeover of Mason Dixon’s license earlier this month, and now the full board has voted (31–1, with one abstention) to support his bid. But not before LES condo residents living above the bar voiced their heated objections during the board’s meeting last night. Levine had wanted to stay open till 4 a.m. daily, but agreed to restrict his hours from 10 a.m. to 2 a.m., Sunday through Wednesday. He left the auditorium of P.S. 20 with Mason Dixon owner Rob Shamlian and Shamlian’s wife Emily, who hope to sell the bar to Levine and his partner Michael Shah, the bar's landlord. Emily claims he has become the target of a "smear" campaign by condo board members (Mrs. Shamlian) and been "harassed" (Mr. Shamlian) by the NYPD's 7th precinct cabaret unit, which shuttered the honky tonky establishment for two weekends last month for underage drinking.
Levine's application would have been denied by CB3 unless he conformed to the hours and several other stipulations, among them that he maintain a full-service kitchen serving food up to one hour before closing. Several condo residents said they feared Levine's proposed eatery would remain mainly a bar. One man claimed pub crawlers at Mason Dixon left "urine and vomit" in their wake and "milled around" in the pre-dawn hours. Condo board president Wesley Gaus was aggressively questioned by board member David McWater, himself a bar owner: McWater accused the condo board (which has sued Rob Shamlian) of running Shamlian "out of business" at Mason Dixon. CB3 member Chiun Ng described the back-and-forth as “really contentious.” He said, "It was a tough call for me." As always, the State Liquor Authority has the ultimate say.