By Carla Zanoni
INWOOD — Upper Manhattan may need to wait a bit longer to sip a frosty pint in its much-anticipated beer garden after the State Liquor Authority placed a hold on the operator's liquor license application.
The SLA is taking a closer look at Ouva Wine Bar & Beer Garden's license application, which was originally filed in March 2010, and then refiled in August 2010, when the application was changed to reflect the addition of a beer garden with 24 outdoor seats.
Upon hearing community concern about the restaurant opening, the SLA discovered a possible paperwork snafu that calls into question whether Community Board 12 was ever notified of the application, either in March or August.
"It's not that we're concerned that the owner misled the community," SLA spokesman Mike Smith said, "but there is some discrepancy here."
Smith said the application would be placed on hold indefinitely until the file was completely reviewed.
Pamela Palanque-North, CB12 chair, said the board would hold a community discussion about the application once the SLA says it is up for evaluation.
Community sentiment about Ouva, at 4957 Broadway, seems to be increasingly divided, with a faction of Inwood residents excited about the prospect of an outdoor drinking space and others voicing concern about noise. These concerns stem from the owner's nearby restaurant Garden Café that plays live music in the rear garden.
An article about Ouva's planned opening ignited a tempest of comments last week, with people voicing their opinions about the opening and new development in Upper Manhattan.
An online petition created by Inwood couple Karla Fisk and Phil Simpson, who live behind the beer garden and Garden Café, asks the community board and SLA to request the establishment to limit outdoor hours to 10 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and midnight on Fridays and Saturdays, much like the agreement hammered out by elected officials and several restaurants on Dyckman Street.
The application currently has 29 signatures, although some of the signees write that they live as far as Kentucky and Colorado.
Ouva owner Gus Anton said that he would be willing to work with the community to find the best arrangement to suit everyone involved.
"We're not going to do music if it's going to be such a problem," he said. "Neighborhood people come to our restaurants for the food and atmosphere, not just for the music."