Hell's Kitchen Gastropub Brings Back Controversial Sidewalk Cafe

By Mathew Katz on October 13, 2011 7:38am 

The controversial sidewalk cafe in front of Albert Hall was back on Oct. 11, 2011.
The controversial sidewalk cafe in front of Albert Hall was back on Oct. 11, 2011.
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DNAinfo/Mathew Katz

HELL'S KITCHEN — An unsanctioned sidewalk cafe is back on the menu at Albert Hall Tavern, and it's once again drawing ire from Community Board 4 members.

This is the second time the board has dealt with complaints about the cafe, which disappeared in August after the bar was made aware that it was operating without a permit.

The offending furniture, which consists of two tables in front of the bar at 508 Ninth Ave, was up in front of the bar on Tues. Oct. 11. Albert Hall's general manager Artan Gjoni said the cafe was within three feet of the bar's entrance, and thus was allowed by the city.

"Nobody has come to us to give us a ticket, I do not know why they are up in arms about that," he said. "So far, when I asked the city, they said I had three feet."

At a meeting Tuesday night, the Community Board 4 Business Licenses and Permits Committee voted to send letters to both the city's Department of Consumer Affairs, along with City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, demanding enforcement.

If the DCA finds that the sidewalk cafe is illegal, it could mean fines for the bar.

"We’ve had complaints by people in wheelchairs who can’t get around it," said committee co-chair Lisa Daglian. "It’s really discouraging to see no effort to be neighborly."

Daglian said the committee had asked the bar to attend the meeting, but no one from the bar showed up.

"It's not like anyone can say they didn't know," she said. "They've been told."

But Gjoni said the meeting went on behind his back, and that he was not invited. Dealing with complaints about Albert Hall has been on the meeting's agenda, posted on the CB4 website, for at least a week.

In August, one of the gastropub's chefs told DNAinfo that the cafe had been taken down after the bar consulted its lawyers. Now, Gjoni said he does not plan to remove the cafe.

"We have a property of three feet that goes in front of the restaurant and I was told was that we’re allowed to put in two tables and chairs," he said. "It's just simple."

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