Gay Sports Bar's Rooftop Parties 'Like Bourbon Street,' Neighbors Say
HELL'S KITCHEN — Wild rooftop parties at a recently opened gay sports bar has turned a section of Hell's Kitchen into a scene reminiscent of New Orleans' Bourbon Street, neighbors said.
Boxers HK's rooftop patio is driving neighbors nuts with loud noise and partying long into the night.
The bar opened late last year at 742 Ninth Ave., but neighbors said the trouble began in early April — when the weather warmed up and patrons began flooding to the rooftop.
The bar agreed to have a maximum of 84 patrons on the roof, all of which would be seated. But locals said there are far more.
"In the four nights that have exceeded 65 degrees, they've had a roof party that looks like Bourbon Street," said Joe Haines, who's on the board of neighboring Worldwide Plaza.
According to Haines' count, there have been between 87 and 140 people on the roof. Tenants in roughly 35 units in his building have been kept awake late at night thanks to the noise, he said.
"There are mothers who are asking where to buy earplugs for their toddlers," Haines said.
Others at the building said they witnessed employees from Boxers emptying ice bins from the rooftop bar onto the sidewalk below, and that the rooftop was staying open later than its agreed-upon closing time of 10 p.m. on weekdays and 11 p.m. on weekends.
Members of the Hell's Kitchen 50th-51st Street Block Association said 184 people were on the rooftop after making their own count early Sunday morning.
"It was a wild and crazy time, there was no control," said Bob Minor, co-chair of the block association.
"Every single one of their stipulations, they've broken."
Rob Hynds, the bar's co-owner, admitted that there was a problem.
"There were too many people up there," he said.
"There's a learning curve — spring popped up and we had a couple of days where the rooftop was just packed."
Hynds said the bar was "blindsided" by the amount of people who wanted to go up on the roof, and said at one point there were roughly 110 people up there.
He added that the bar's manager recently had surgery, leading to confusion about capacity, but that he had made sure the rooftop closed when it was supposed to.
According to Boxers' liquor license stipulations, the rooftop is meant to be a "service bar only" and used for seated consumption of food and booze.
Hynds said that he planned to add rooftop furniture, along with eight-foot trees that will block off the patio from the street.
"We didn't order all the furniture for the roof until the weather was warm enough," Hynds said.
"Once they're here, everybody will have a seat up there — everybody will have a table."
Boxers, which also has a location on West 20th Street, first drew the neighborhood's attention in 2011 when it tried to open a 10th Avenue location next to P.S. 111. The move drew widespread condemnation from neighbors who decried it as a "bar in a schoolyard" and its liquor license application was eventually denied by the State Liquor Authority.
When applying for the Ninth Avenue location's license Hynds, along with co-owner Bob Fluet, promised to be "good neighbors" with the community.
Haines admitted that the problem with the rooftop had improved in recent days, but was skeptical all the problems would disappear with the appearance of chairs.
"There's been too much of a breach of their agreement to say they've now gotten the message," he said.
Community Board 4's Business License and Permits Committee is scheduled to discuss the complaints againsts the bar at its May 14 meeting.