By Patrick Hedlund
DNAinfo News Editor
EAST VILLAGE — Croissants and cocktails, anyone?
A controversial nightclub on Second Avenue that shuttered last year after a fatal shooting will reopen as a "European-style bakery" in the coming months, but the operator's plan to serve booze and stay open late has neighbors worried.
The new eatery at the corner of East 5th Street will replace the now-closed club Sin Sin, a two-story nightspot that earned a bad reputation among nearby residents for noise and raucous crowds before the deadly shooting involving bar-goers last summer.
Building owner Alex Shkolnik gave a tour this week of the under-construction space, tentatively named "Sweet Boutique."
The restaurant will have food display cases and café seating on the ground floor. The second floor will feature more seating and waiter service, as well as a small bar, for patrons to munch on things like pastries, salads and sandwiches, he explained.
Shkolnik's intention to secure a full liquor license — his application will come before Community Board 3 this month — and stay open as late as possible isn't necessarily passing muster with local tenants still smarting over the situation at Sin Sin.
"It's a little confounding," said Stuart Zamsky, of the East 5th Street Block Association, who previously did battle with the nightclub and has sought to reduce the number of incoming bars. "I am unsure as to why a bakery would need a full liquor license."
Neighbors had long complained about the situation created by Sin Sin, noting that incessant late-night noise and fights occurred regularly outside the former club.
Then, last August, 41-year-old Devin Thompson was fatally shot outside the nightspot near closing time by a pair of still-unidentified suspects, police said. The victim and suspects had all been inside Sin Sin before the shooting occurred, police added.
The incident sparked outrage in the neighborhood, with dozens of residents showing up at the local police precinct to demand more be done to prevent future violence at the club. Sin Sin closed shortly thereafter.
While Shkolnik stated that the new venture is "never going to be something like was there," he said he needs to serve alcohol and keep late-night hours for business to stay viable.
"They have to have liquor," he said. "I don't think it's going to be bar."
Zamsky, however, remained skeptical.
"I am having a hard time envisioning what kind of patisserie that would be, serving vodka and croissants," he said. "It makes me very suspicious."