The NBA lockout is looming over at Madison Square Garden, but Ark Restaurant Group is moving ahead with its plans to sell liquor at its café on the second floor of Basketball City, the new seven-court sports facility expected to open in November at Pier 36. And Ark got some welcome news on Tuesday night when Community Board 3 gave those plans the okay. But, as you might expect, that ruling didn’t come without some debate.
Elinor Tatum, a board member and publisher of the Amsterdam News, expressed concern about potential problems in “mixing basketball with liquor.” Others worried about the message drinking might send young residents with hoop dreams playing below the café. One member suggested that the board deny the app and “take the high road … because we don’t want to have people [on the street] getting drunk and losing control.”
But the app, which had been previously approved by the Board’s SLA committee, passed overwhelmingly — and with only a few stipulations, like the requirement that Ark consider hiring local residents. “And they’re not really restrictions,” Susan Stetzer, CB3 district manager told Grub. “Most of these big companies do that and [Ark] has said that they’re happy to do this.”