Police Say 420 Bar and Lounge is a Hotspot for Drugs, Fights
By Leslie Albrecht
UPPER WEST SIDE — Police say an Amsterdam Avenue bar has become such a neighborhood nuisance that they're working to shut it down.
420 Bar and Lounge on Amsterdam Avenue and West 80th Street has become a hot spot for noise complaints from neighbors, and police say there's been drug activity, fights and underage drinking at the bar.
At a recent 20th Precinct Community Council meeting, commanding officer Captain Christopher McCormack said his officers have been issuing summons for violations of state liquor laws so they can build a case against 420 Bar and Lounge.
"The bottom line is that we put it in to be closed," McCormack said.
Officials have already taken some action. The New York State Liquor Authority fined 420 Bar and Lounge $5,000 in 2008 after a fight broke out on the premises, an SLA spokesman said.
Representatives for the bar could not be reached for comment.
The police enforcement is good news to people like Beverly Scheiner, a photographer who lives directly above the bar.
Scheiner said 420 Bar and Lounge generates more noise than other neighborhood drinking establishments because 420 rents out its basement room for private parties where DJs play music.
When she's complained about loud music, the volume gets turned down for "10 minutes," then turned up again, Scheiner said.
The crowd at the bar is a problem too, Scheiner said.
"Kids come out at four or five in the morning and scream and fight and cause disruptions," Scheiner said.
Police moving to shut down a bar is a rarity on the Upper West Side, a neighborhood known more for nannies than nightlife.
Ian Alterman, president of the 20th Precinct Community Council, was hard pressed to remember the last time a bar was shut down because of complaints about noise and rowdy crowds.
From time to time there are "bad bars" that generate neighborhood complaints, Alterman said, but those bars usually try to respond to locals' concerns.
"If it's gotten to the point where the precinct and other agencies have all gotten together to have the bar closed, that speaks volumes," Alterman said. "It's a rarity on the West Side. Even though bar noise is a common complaint, we rarely get to the point where there's a concerted effort on the part of agencies to actually close a bar."