Bowery Steakhouse, Burger Joint and Beer Garden Given Blessing for Liquor Licenses in East Village
By Patrick Hedlund
DNAinfo News Editor
EAST VILLAGE — A steakhouse on the Bowery, a new burger joint on Orchard Street and a beer garden on Second Avenue all got the go-ahead from Community Board 3 in their bids to serve booze at the forthcoming locations.
The board's liquor license committee gave its thumbs-up to a host of new applicants Monday night, with a couple of boldface names to keep the relatively small agenda interesting.
A new restaurant that will replace the year-old South African-themed eatery Bunny Chow at 74 Orchard St. received approval for a transfer, succeeding in getting the committee to support its application for a full liquor license to serve until 4 a.m.
A partner in the popular Ludlow Street taqueria/tequila bar Los Feliz, Andy Boose, explained that his unnamed venture will offer a much-needed lunchtime option for the area.
"It's going to be a place for the neighborhood to have good burgers, fries, fish and chips, spaghetti and meatballs," he explained. "A place everyone can go for lunch and dinner."
Committee members cited the need for a successful business in the address given previous failed establishments there, and only took issue with the possible noise coming from the space under the operators' plan to feature live DJs.
"We'd like to be in business at night. That's when I like to have my burgers," local resident Boose said of the venture, which committee members noted sits on a commercially zoned block that hasn't weathered the kind of complaints from residents that other nightlife-heavy stretches have.
"We don't think it's going to be menace to society."
A group from the swanky Cooper Square Hotel appeared briefly before the committee to transfer their liquor licenses as part of a rumored sale of the property to owners of the SoHo and TriBeCa Grand Hotels, Hartz Mountain Industries.
The applicants agreed to adhere to a list of stipulations already established at the hotel regarding its multiple bar locations throughout the building.
A rep for the hotel declined to comment on the sale.
The chef behind critically acclaimed East Village pizzeria Motorino, Mathieu Palombino, appeared before the committee to pitch his plan for a steakhouse at 241 Bowery, located next to longtime skid row holdover the Sunshine Hotel.
The 2,500-square-foot space will have an 18-foot-long bar, seating for 72, and close at 1 a.m. on weekdays and 2 a.m. on weekends, said a rep for the establishment. No specifics were given about the menu.
The committee agreed to recommend a full liquor license for the restaurant, providing it operates within its stated hours and uses an employee to monitor congestion outside the space. The steakhouse will also seek to add sidewalk seating for the warmer months, the representative added.
A beer garden at 54 Second Ave. — which gained attention over the summer for painting the colors of the Belgian flag on its exterior plywood — also earned the committee's official OK for a beer and wine license after previously being approved.
The Belgian, at the corner of East 3rd Street, will have two bars and about 70 seats total, open until 4 a.m. on weekends, 3 a.m. on Thursdays and 2 a.m. the rest of the week, according to its application materials.
The beer garden's opening has been delayed due to construction work concerning an existing elevator shaft in the property, representatives said.
The popular year-old restaurant Northern Spy Food Company at 511 E. 12th St. was turned down in its bid for a full liquor license to serve original cocktails due to its location on a residential side street near a strip of bars on Avenue A.
The committee could not support its upgrade application, despite the restaurant's reputation and success, because it agreed with members of the block association that the street could not handle more patrons that the addition of a full liquor could potentially bring.
Owner Chris Ronis stated that he had productive talks with the block association, but neighbors ultimately decided the 40-seat mid-block restaurant would only exacerbate issues with encroaching nightlife in the area.
The committee did agree to approve renewal licenses for two establishments with a history of complaints, providing they plan to continue working with neighbors to muffle noise coming from patrons.
The landmark concert venue Webster Hall at 125 E. 11th St. had its full liquor license renewed, despite a recent uptick in noise complaints, because the space "has been a nightclub at that location certainly before most of the people in this room were born," said committee member David McWater.
As part of his license approval, the owner of pinup-themed bar Nurse Bettie at 106 Norfolk St. said he would work better with neighbors to quell noise coming from customers of his small establishment. He agreed to create a roped-off area for smokers to gather and also place signs outside the bar asking patrons to respect the neighbors.
The committee also approved a full liquor license for Mini Thai Café at 105 Avenue A; a beer and wine license for Mexican eatery Sabor a Mexico at 160 First Avenue; and a full liquor license transfer for Lit Lounge at 93 Second Ave.