EAST VILLAGE — A yet-to-be-named bar proposed for East Broadway was the subject of a Monday night community board meeting that drew a huge turnout from local residents in favor — and opposed — to its request for a liquor license.
Owners of the bar, which would be located at 221 East Broadway, will have to wait until Community Board 3's full meeting next Tuesday to determine if they will get support for a liquor license after a split vote by a lower committee.
More than 50 residents turned up to oppose the bar during Monday's meeting, held in a room that needed to be partially emptied at one point because it got too crowded and violated fire code restrictions. Many opponents were from the neighboring Seward Park Co-op or from nearby religious institutions and presented the committee with about 600 signatures against the watering hole.
They argued against the bar's proposed operating hours, from lunchtime to 4 a.m. seven days a week, as well as its close proximity to schools and numerous religious institutions.
Wei-Li Tjong, an attorney who sits on the Seward Park Co-op board, argued that if the proposed liquor license was approved it would break the 200-foot rule, which is designed to prohibit bars from operating too close to schools or houses of worship.
Tjong noted that the Congregation Beth Hachasidim De Polen and the Iglesia Primitiva Cristiana church would sit on the same block with the bar.
Dr. Edward Green, 60, a faculty member at the Manhattan School of Music and a Seward Park Co-op resident, said he hopes his quiet corner of the neighborhood remains unchanged.
"It is not really that we don't have enough bars already," he said. He also expressed concern that nearby schools, including P.S 137 and P.S 134 on East Broadway, would be dismissing their students for the day when the bar is already open.
A handful of residents, however, showed up in favor of the new venture, which presented its own petition of 500 supporters. Linda Jones, an 8-year resident of Seward Park Co-op, welcomed the idea "of a little more life" in the area.
"The streets surrounding our co-op are dark and forbidding late at night," said Jones, adding that she would be able to see the bar from her window. "With more establishments we will feel safe."
She also expressed shock over the "vitriol and fear unnecessarily generated" by others in the housing co-op over the proposal.
Jennifer Coffey, a social worker who has lived in the Seward Park Co-op for 10 years, said she also sees the bar as a new opportunity.
"This has been an empty storefront for years," Coffey said.
The full Community Board 3 is set to discuss and vote on the license application June 26.
"We are sad to see how contentious this had become," wrote bar owner Sivan Harlap, 32, in an email after Monday night's meeting. Harlap has owned and operated East Village bar B-side for more than nine years.
"We set out to help foster and strengthen this community, to become an important and contributing part of it," wrote Harlap. "We are sorry to see that some do not recognize that spirit in our efforts."
The bar would serve a serve a small, but specialized, menu of fish, hot chips and falafel.
The community board's vote on liquor licenses is not binding. The State Liquor Authority will make the final decision, but does take community board recommendations into consideration.