NYPD Tries to Shutter One of City's Rowdiest Bars

By James Fanelli on January 23, 2014 7:07am 

 PJ's Cocktail Lounge and Restaurant, which had a makeshift memorial for Calvern Wallace outside on Thursday.
PJ's Cocktail Lounge and Restaurant, which had a makeshift memorial for Calvern Wallace outside on Thursday.
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DNAinfo/Trevor Kapp

CENTRAL HARLEM — It’s a bar full of shots — and shooters.

Since 2010 PJ’s Cocktail Lounge and Restaurant has made a case for being named the city’s rowdiest drinking hole for its rogue’s gallery of brawling barflies.

The Harlem hot spot has been the scene of four separate shootings, a stabbing, an assault, a gunpoint robbery and an attack on two police officers, according to NYPD records.

The fourth shooting took place Jan. 8, when a man walked into the bar and gunned down a 33-year-old patron, police said.

The latest act of violence prompted the NYPD to go to Manhattan Supreme Court on Tuesday to ask a judge to close PJ’s for at least one year on grounds that it’s become a public nuisance, court records show.

In its lawsuit, the NYPD accuses the bar and its owner, Elizabeth Pace Goodwin, of taking a “business as usual” stance to the violence.

“This pattern of illegal, dangerous and disorderly conduct has endangered the safety and health of a considerable number of individuals,” the lawsuit says.

The bar has been shuttered twice previously — in 2009 for selling alcohol to minors and for four months in 2010 for employing unlicensed security guards.

But police say in the past four years PJ’s patrons have been raising hell while raising glasses. The violence includes:

• A female patron being shot in her right foot in January 2010 when a male customer’s illegal handgun discharged. The victim is currently suing PJ’s.

A drunken female motorist killing a 53-year-old male pedestrian in a hit-and-run moments after she left PJ’s in her BMW on July 21, 2011.

• A male patron being shot in the abdomen by another male patron after a verbal dispute inside PJ’s on Feb. 16, 2012.

• A male patron beating another male patron about the head and face during a March 14, 2013, fight that spilled into the street outside PJ’s. The victim told police, “They hate me.”

 Calvern Wallace, 33, was fatally shot in the face in Harlem bar PJ's Cocktail Lounge and Restaurant on Jan. 8, 2014. Family and friends erected a makeshift memorial in front of the shuttered bar.
Calvern Wallace, 33, was fatally shot in the face in Harlem bar PJ's Cocktail Lounge and Restaurant on Jan. 8, 2014. Family and friends erected a makeshift memorial in front of the shuttered bar.
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Flickr.com/photos/J-No

• A female patron chasing another female patron down the sidewalk outside PJ’s on Aug. 17, 2013, and shooting the woman in the left hand. The shooter was charged with attempted murder.

• Three men brandishing a gun at a male patron in the bar’s bathroom and stealing $1,400 and a cellphone from him on Oct. 3, 2013.

• A male patron being stabbed twice by another male patron in the bar after a verbal dispute. The victim suffered serious injuries and required surgery.

• A highly intoxicated patron challenging police officers outside the bar to a fight on Nov. 9, 2013. The drunk kicked the hood of the officers’ car and threw punches at the officers before they handcuffed him for disorderly conduct, possession of marijuana and resisting arrest.

• Police giving two patrons in the last two months tickets for carrying open beer containers out of the bar.

A gunman walking into the bar and shooting 33-year-old Calvern Wallace in the face on Jan. 8. Wallace died at the scene, and a suspect has not been caught.

It’s not just police who say PJ’s is a dangerous dive. Some Yelp reviewers warned bar hoppers to beware of the 2256 Seventh Ave. bar.

“This place is a nightmare!” reviewer Denise G. wrote on Sept. 21, 2013. “I will never come here again in my life! Please, please PLEASE take my advice and avoid this place.”

Goodwin did not respond to a request for comment about the lawsuit.

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