Residents Skeptical of Inwood Bar's Promises Of Quieter, Calmer Tone
INWOOD — A shuttered Asian fusion restaurant and bar with a reputation for excessive noise, rowdy crowds and underage drinking faces an uphill battle to get its liquor license back, even as the owner promises a new, quieter tone.
But the change may not be enough to sway locals and members of Community Board 12, which voted against the restaurants' liquor license application at Wednesday night's licensing committee meeting.
Hashi, located at Broadway and 214th Street, was shut down for more than two months by the State Liquor Authority for failing to pay more than $180,000 in taxes.
Hashi owner Liliana Rodriguez blamed the tax issues on her previous management staff, saying it did not comply with what needed to be done. The owner, who said she had taken a hands-off approach to the restaurant until March, vowed to be completely involved from now on.
"I'm going to take charge and focus on the restaurant," Rodriguez said. "I'm going to be running it myself."
"It's going to be a complete change," she told CB12's licensing committee Wednesday night. "New staff, new menu."
Locals are skeptical.
"You've had enough warnings and enough complaints," Inwood resident Jennifer Fox told Rodriguez. "I'm not feeling a lot of love or a lot of trust here."
Fox, who has lived above Hashi since September, said that the restaurant routinely sent wild crowds out into the street past its 4 a.m. closing time and refused to deal with them.
"They're the worst neighbors ever," Fox said, adding that Hashi staff has hung up on her when she has called to complain.
Rodriguez said she would change the closing time to 1 a.m. every night, rather than its previous time of 4 a.m.
In addition, Rodriguez said the restaurant would forgo live music and consider discontinuing valet parking, which locals have said added to the bar's rowdy atmosphere.
When asked by the board if the music change would be permanent, Rodriguez replied: "For now."
Rodriguez claimed to be unaware of the noise and crowd issues, to which Fox replied: "It's your business to know how you're operating your business."
"I don't think public interest would be served by approving this license," added Inwood resident and former CB12 member Martin Collins.
Hashi's application will appear before the full community board at its May 27 general meeting. Should the license be renewed by the State Liquor Authority, Hashi would likely reopen in June, Rodriguez said.