At last night’s meeting of Community Board 3’s DCA & SLA Licensing Committee, several angry residents (none of them twin sisters) showed up to contest the Box’s application for a liquor-license renewal, with one neighbor saying that living near the venue amounted to “two years of hell.” The committee’s recommendation of denial came down to the ongoing complaint that the business had applied as a restaurant theater, but is seemingly operating as a full-on nightclub. When one of the owners begged to differ, an audience member interjected, “Oh no, we read in New York Magazine that Lindsay Lohan parties there.” Zing!
In the meeting’s real heartbreaker, Mercury Dime’s Sasha Petraske and T.J. Siegal pleaded their case for a tavern wine license only to once again be recommended for denial. The two had collected 528 supporting signatures and Siegal promised no outside smoking or cell phone usage, adding “We don’t attract the crazies.” Indeed, the twenty-seven-odd supporters who stuck around till after midnight seemed sane enough, but they were matched by an equal number of detractors, some holding signs like “No More Bars on 5th Street” and “Our Quality of Life Is Not for Sale.” Committee members professed to liking Petraske (one even admitted he had impeccable taste), but in the end they deferred to residents who were already hot under the collar about places like Sin Sin and the future Cooper Square Hotel.
Likewise, CB3 member and fellow bar owner David McWater went on at length in support of Mitch Banchik, proprietor of spots like Gin Mill and Jake’s Dilemma, but it didn’t get the rest of the board behind Banchik’s planned burger bar at 114–116 Third Avenue.
No-shows Mercadito and Village Pourhouse were also snubbed for renewal recommendations. There was speculation that Mercadito’s absence was due to the fact that councilwoman and neighbor Rosie Mendez showed up in opposition.
On the flip side, Jason Hennings is on his way to securing a liquor license for his sidewalk café at E.U. It turns out Hennings is also one of Adam Cohn’s partners in the reinvented Seymour Burton. Last night he was given the thumbs-up for a beer and wine license at the new venture, but he didn’t reveal much beyond saying that it will serve mid-Atlantic seafood and feature a raw bar. He did, however, have plenty to say about the old place’s cockroach-plagued condition: “I’m surprised the place didn’t burn to the ground.”
The licensing committee’s recommendations now go to the full board, which meets September 23 to decide what to advise the SLA.