While full bottles of champagne and wine will be available for purchase at the combination sports bar and high-end restaurant, patrons won't be able to buy bottles of hard liquor, said Forest City Ratner Companies spokeswoman Ashley Cotton at a Tuesday night State Liquor Authority hearing on the Barclays Center's liquor license.
Bottle service — the practice of selling entire bottles of hard liquor to bar patrons, usually at wildly inflated prices — has come under fire in the wake of the booze-fueled brawl between Brown and Drake's entourages at a SoHo club that injured several bystanders.
Neighbors who live near the Barclays Center worry that the arena will bring drunk, late-night crowds to their quiet blocks, and some have demanded a 10 p.m. cut-off time for booze sales at the 18,000-seat venue.
Locals' fears multiplied when the news broke that the 40/40 Club would open a location inside the new arena. The upscale restaurant, co-owned by Jay-Z, has a Flatiron District location where high rollers can shell out for bottle service packages such as the $3,000 "Hollywood" package, which includes two bottles of Champagne, two bottles of vodka, one bottle of whiskey or cognac, and one bottle of tequila.
Gib Veconi, a member of Brooklyn Speaks, a coalition of local groups opposed to the arena, told the SLA Tuesday that neighbors were "staunchly opposed" to bottle service, and noted that Park Slope's Community Board 6 recently voted down a liquor license application by Kemistry, a lounge that planned to offer bottle service.
"[Bottle service] basically puts the operator in the position of losing control over how much the patron has had to drink," Veconi said at Tuesday's hearing. He presented the SLA with signatures from 1,300 residents who want a 10 p.m. halt for alcohol sales at the Barclays Center.
But Barclays Center representatives shot down speculation that the 40/40 Club's arena location would offer bottle service at Tuesday's hearing. Cotton said the restaurant wouldn't sell entire bottles of hard liquor, but noted that private VIP suites at the arena could stock full bottles of booze.
As they did at a previous SLA hearing, arena officials at Tuesday's hearing worked to minimize fears about Barclays Center crowds creating disturbances. They said only about 1,800 patrons will be allowed to buy alcohol as late as 2 a.m. Neighbors have argued the 2 a.m. cut-off time is too late, but Barclays Center officials on Tuesday said serving booze as late as 2 a.m. would be the exception, not the rule.
"The cases in which we would be selling liquor until 2 a.m. would be few and far between," Cotton said.