GRAMERCY — The general manager of the controversial Upper East Side nightclub Vudu Lounge is looking to branch out beyond the velvet rope — and break into the country-and-western world.
On Thursday night, Michael Stein went before the business committee of Community Board 6 and presented his proposal to make his cowboy dreams a reality at 274 Third Ave. between East 21st and 22nd streets.
But despite Stein’s promises of no live music, no dancing and plenty of security seven days a week, his plan was rejected by the committee, in large part because of his connection with the embattled Uptown lounge.
“We go to the character of the person,” said Carol Schachter, chair of the board's business affairs and street activities committee. “The Vudu Lounge does color your character.”
The Vudu Lounge, on First Avenue between East 77th and East 78th streets, was reportedly shut down by the NYPD earlier this year over community complaints and legal problems.
The venue reopened, fully licensed, a few weeks later. In an article from Our Town, Stein was quoted as saying that people who complained about the lounge were “just against nightclubs in general…It has nothing to do with us.”
At the meeting, Stein dismissed the article, claiming he had been misquoted.
“I’m not coming here to turn [the new venue] into a nightclub,” Stein said.
“This is his opportunity to kind of break out,” added Stein’s attorney, Matthew Leone.
Sean Brady, a Gramercy resident and frequent attendee of the committee meetings, noted that local City Councilwoman Jessica Lappin was quoted in the same article calling Vudu “a bad neighbor.”
That hit home for the committee, as did the dozen or so community residents who came to protest the proposed establishment. Schachter also noted that the community board office had received 15 letters from those opposed to adding another bar to the neighborhood.
Typically, the committee asks those who come before it to sign an agreement pledging to close at 2 a.m., rather than the legally sanctioned 4 a.m., and to steer clear of pub crawls. But on Thursday night, the committee didn’t let the process get that far.
The members voted unanimously to oppose the liquor license request, with their resolution set to go before the full board for final approval on Nov. 9.
As Stein and his attorney left the meeting, both declined to comment further on whether they will appeal the request at the full board meeting or take their case directly to the State Liquor Authority, which has the final say in issuing liquor license applications.