Kids' Piano Recital Space's Plan for Liquor License Opposed

By Nigel Chiwaya on March 28, 2014 7:20am 

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  La Galleria Cafe proposed serving drinks across the street from two elementary schools.
CB12 Votes Down Liquor License for Kids' Piano Recital Space
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INWOOD — A business' plan to host children's piano recitals by day and serve liquor by night is on the rocks.

Set to open at 4863 Broadway near West 204th Street, the Italian bar and restaurant La Galleria Cafe applied for a liquor license and told Community Board 12 they wanted to serve a broad clientele with the dual function.

But CB12 voted against the application on Tuesday night, with members deciding a business that serves alcohol doesn't belong across the street from two elementary schools, CB12 notes show.

La Galleria owner Yvette Aquino promised not to sell liquor during daytime hours, according to meeting minutes. But board members said her proximity to the Amistad Dual Language School and Muscota New School sunk the application.

La Galleria's future location is roughly 130 feet from the schools, breaking the State Liquor Authority's rule that liquor licenses cannot to issued within 200 feet of schools, board members said.

The board's licensing committee voted to approve the La Galleria's application on March 12 before a measurment of distance had been taken. They wouldn't have supported the application if they had realized how close the proposed bar would be to schools, members said.

"Had [the licensing committee] had this information, it is overwhemingly likely that it would have been a negative resolution," board member Elizabeth Lorris Ritter said at the meeting.

After CB12's advisory vote, the SLA will review the application by La Galleria, which is slated to open in July, according to board documents.

Aquino proposed operating hours of 2 p.m. to midnight Monday through Thursday, 2 p.m. to 2 a.m. Friday and noon to 2 a.m. Saturday and Sunday.

La Galleria's plan comes after a similar one by Brooklyn's Rock and Roll Playhouse which is seeking to host music classes for children 10 and younger during the day and serve alcohol at night. The playhouse has drawn the ire of Gowanus residents and the city is still reviewing that plan.

La Galleria was not the only business turned away Tuesday night. Starbucks hit a roadblock to plans for a sidewalk cafe at the 4761 Broadway and Dyckman Street location. No Starbucks representative appeared at the Board's March 12 Licensing Committee meeting and it is Community Board 12's policy to vote against applicants that do not appear before the board.

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