New Bar With Police Stationhouse Theme Planned for Midtown

By Heather Holland on April 30, 2013 7:25am 

MIDTOWN EAST — This bar has a good way of keeping rowdy patrons in order — constant police presence.

A former NYPD officer of 27 years, Stephen Barounis is hoping to make his dream of creating a police-themed bar a reality at the former Rock & Rose karaoke bar on 53rd Street and Second Avenue.

The centerpiece of the cafe, called 53rd Street Station House, will be a 1968 NYPD police car that will be cut in half so it can fit inside, said Barounis, 49, who came before Community Board 6 on Thursday to get its blessing for a liquor license.

“I was in the taskforce and I found it fascinating,” said Barounis. “There are people who hate cops, and people who love it, but then you look at all these TV shows like 21 Jump Street, NYPD Blue and SUV, and you see people really love this stuff.

“I have to soften the edge though,” Barounis explained. “I don’t want to bring up bad memories. I want to bring up nostalgic, creative memories, and not the day you got arrested."

Station House will be made up of one bar, a kitchen and three separate themed rooms, he said.

A room will be dedicated to Hollywood heroes like Columbo, another will focus on real heroes, and the back room will be adorned with mug shots of famous celebrities including Frank Sinatra and Lindsay Lohan, Barounis said.

In addition, the bar will be made to look like an on old precinct desk. There will be jail cells in certain rooms.

Barounis also hopes to offer family-friendly activities including fingerprinting for kids, and will distribute faux missing person packets as souvenirs.

“I want to bring the tourists down to Second Avenue, and that’s my goal ultimately," he said.

Though Barounis comes from a family that owns multiple bars in the city including Back Room in the East Village and The Auction House on the Upper East Side, this is his first business venture on his own, he said.

He appeared before Community Board 6 on Thursday night in hopes of getting a liquor license application for the venue at 303 E. 53rd St.

CB6’s Business Affairs Committee said it would vote to approve the license only under the condition that the bar closed at 2 a.m., that an owner’s contact number be posted in the window and that there would be no congregating outside the establishment.

“We are asking that no new bars open past 2 a.m.," said committee chairwoman Nicole Paikoff, adding the board is open to revisiting the issue in a year when its license renewal comes up.

Barounis, however, said he wouldn't agree to a 2 a.m. closing time. He said the bar would have to remain open until 4 a.m. to compete with neighboring businesses.

“There’s a lot of competition in the area,” Barounis said. “I’m going to lose out on a lot of parties.”

In response, the committee voted to reject Station House’s application for a liquor license. Their decision is merely advisory, with the State Liquor Authority having the final say.

After the committee voted against the liquor license, Barounis said that he isn’t sure if he will ink the lease to the space yet. If the bar isn’t able to get a liquor license at this location, he said he would look at other spots on the east side including 83rd and 33rd Streets.

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