LIC Flea Looking to Serve Booze at Outdoor Market

By Jeanmarie Evelly on March 21, 2014 9:59am 

 LIC Flea & Food is looking to serve alcohol this summer.
LIC Flea & Food is looking to serve alcohol this summer.
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Facebook.com/LICFlea

LONG ISLAND CITY — You might be able to get booze with your bric-a-brac.

LIC Flea & Food is looking to serve up drinks this summer in its new and popular outdoor market and possibly an old ferry boat docked nearby that was once eyed for a floating beer garden.

Also seeking to get a foothold in the booze game is the much-buzzed about, yet-to-open noodle shop Mu Ramen, which started out as a popup shop.

Reps from LIC Flea & Food and Plaxall, a plastics company in Long Island City that partners with the flea and leases it its site at 5-25 46th Ave., told members of CB2 that they're looking to apply for either a beer and wine or full liquor license to serve drinks at the outdoor market this summer.

The group also said it plans to seek approval to serve alcohol aboard an old ferry boat that's docked in nearby Anable Basin, adjacent to the flea market, which Plaxall purchased two years ago. The company told DNAinfo at the time that they were hoping to turn the boat into a floating beer garden.

Pat O'Brien, who heads CB2's city services and public safety committee, said the board wanted to focus on the liquor license plan for the flea market specifically, since a proposal for the ferry — which still needs to be renovated — has yet to be fleshed out.

"I'm assuming there's going to be an awful lot of work to be done," O'Brien said of the boat. "Well it's great to know that you want to do that, I think we can only deal with it at a time when you present us with far more concrete plans."

As for serving drinks at the flea, attorney Kathleen E. Negri Stathopoulos said the proposal is to set up a "roll-in bar," in a blocked off section of the open-air market, in a space that could accommodate about 60 people.

"We can open that up to people coming into the flea market to have along with the food," she said, saying they have not decided yet if they plan to seek a full liquor license or just a beer and wine license.

LIC Flea and Food was launched last summer by publishing company Schneps Communications, and hosted a mix of food and goods vendors every weekend in a waterfront lot owned by Plaxall near 5th Street and 46th Avenue.

"I think [it] has been a very positive thing for the neighborhood," Plaxall's Andrew Kirby told members of the board, saying the ability to serve drinks at the flea is vital to its continued success, particularly to the success of its food vendors.

O'Brien said the board had received some complaints about noise and traffic stemming from the market, which will be discussed at the city services committee meeting next month.

Also vying for a license was Heidy He, co-owner of Mu Ramen, a Japanese ramen eatery that started as an after hours pop-up shop in Bricktown Bagels in November before signing a lease for its own brick-and-mortar location last month.

The yet-to-open eatery generated a huge buzz last month after New York Times food critic Pete Wells gave it a glowing write-up and named it number one on his list of top 10 ramen destinations in New York.

Along with her husband, chef Joshua Smookler, He is planning to open Mu Ramen's permanent location at 12-09 Jackson Ave., the former Malu LIC space, an ice cream shop that closed its doors last month.

He and Smookler are looking to apply for a full liquor license to serve beer, wine and sake at the eatery, which will be large enough to accommodate 22 customers at a time, with six seats at the chef's counter and 16 seats along a communal table, He told members of CB2 Wednesday.

CB2 members had some concerns about the eatery's plan, specifically their request to stay open some nights until 4 a.m.

The late-night hours were only to accommodate the large number of restaurant workers who live in the neighborhood who need more food and drink options at the end of their shifts, He said.

The board plans to continue discussions on both Mu Ramen and LIC Flea's liquor bids at its city services committee meeting April 9, O'Brien said.

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