Gay Sports Bar Boxers Planning Three-Story Space on Ninth Avenue

By Mathew Katz on August 29, 2012 9:56am 

HELL'S KITCHEN — Boxers is back — and bigger than ever.

After a failed attempt to open next to a school on 10th Avenue last year, the popular gay sports bar is aiming to bring a three-level, 275-person location to 742 Ninth Ave. — just blocks from the controversial spot it tried to get off the ground last year.

Community Board 4's liquor license committee gave the OK to Boxers' request for a liquor license at the new address, formerly the home of Italian restaurant Terraza Toscana. According to documents filed with the board, the bar will have cellar, ground floor and rooftop space, complete with televisions for watching big games.

The bigger design is similar to Boxers' plan for a two-story location at 766 10th Ave. that drew ire last year from locals who didn't want a bar immediately next to P.S. 111's playground. The bar's original location is on West 20th Street in Chelsea.

Community Board 4 voted against that application last year, leading to a draw-out battle that lasted until February, when the State Liquor Authority denied Boxers a license there.

Throughout that saga, multiple board members said they had no problem with Boxers itself — only the proposed location next to a school. So far, the new plan has drawn significantly less criticism, according to Community Board 4 member Larry Roberts, who was opposed to the 10th Avenue location but said he had no issues with the new one.

"We really meant it when we said that Boxers was more than welcome in the neighborhood, just not in the schoolyard," added former opponent Leslie Nipkow. "We hope it works out!"

Boxers' owners declined to comment, but documents show that the bar will keep rooftop televisions on mute, will close the rooftop at 11 p.m. on weekends and will employ a dedicated security staff.

The board will make its final recommendation on the application at its meeting on Sept. 5.

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