Blue Note Planning Meatpacking District Jazz Club and Restaurant

By Andrea Swalec on January 13, 2012 8:14am 

Blue Note is planning a still-unnamed, 272-seat venue and restaurant on Little West 12th Street, as of January 2012.
Blue Note is planning a still-unnamed, 272-seat venue and restaurant on Little West 12th Street, as of January 2012.
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Facebook/Blue Note Records

GREENWICH VILLAGE — Jazz club the Blue Note has been a Greenwich Village institution for more than three decades, and now it's trying to get a musical foothold on the Meatpacking District.

The club's owner is planning a three-floor venue at 22 Little W. 12th St., with dining rooms on the landmarked building's sixth and seventh floors and a small live music venue in the basement, he said at a Thursday night meeting of Community Board 2's State Liquor Authority advisory committee.

"The late-night jam session in New York — we're hoping to reestablish that in this location," said Steve Bensusan, who owns Blue Note, B.B. King Blues Club & Grill in Midtown and the Highline Ballroom in Chelsea.

The 80-person-capacity basement club would feature "jazz, live music and R&B" and provide "room to develop new artists," he said.

The name of the new venue would "most likely not be 'Blue Note,'" representative Frank Heidinger said. Rather, its name may evoke the Japanese food it plans to serve.

About a dozen locals stayed at the meeting later than 10:30 p.m. to voice their opinions on the planned club, which scrapped plans for a seventh-floor terrace in response to neighbors' worries about potential noise.

Maria Passannante-Derr, a former CB2 chair, spoke in favor of Bensusan's liquor license application and said noise on a terrace could be contained.

Richard Meryman worried that sound from a terrace would carry to his brownstone on Horatio Street, which he said he bought in the 1960s.

"So far, rooftop entertainment has been held down. This feels like a breach to me of that," he said.

Bensusan had promised to control noise on the terrace and brought with him acoustic consultant Alan Fierstein, who worked on The Standard Hotel.

The final vote on the committee's application was not immediately available Thursday night.

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