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State Turns Down Liquor License for Astoria Bikini Bar 'Racks'

 “Racks” is located on Steinway Street between 19th and 20th avenues.
“Racks” is located on Steinway Street between 19th and 20th avenues.
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DNAinfo/Ewa Kern-Jedrychowska

DITMARS — There might be bikinis, but there won't be booze.

A proposed Astoria bikini bar that's drawn the ire of local politicians had its liquor license rejected by the State Liquor Authority on Tuesday.

The owners behind Racks, at 19-26 Steinway St. between 19th and 20th Avenues, applied for a liquor license this spring with plans to open the space as a bar and grill where the female servers would don bikinis.

Several neighborhood politicians came out in opposition to the planned adult-entertainment spot, arguing Racks is an unsavory addition to the neighborhood and would negatively affect the area's property values.

"A place like Racks is wholly out of character with the family-friendly neighborhood of its proposed location," said Astoria Assemblywoman Aravella Simotas,  who led the public charge against the bar, collecting signatures from local residents and holding an opposition rally at a nearby park.

"Astoria does not need scantily-clad women performing lap and pole dances a stone’s throw away from a playground, middle school, and our neighbor’s homes," Simotas said in a statement.

Racks' owners had argued previously that the bar's location is in a largely commercial area near a waterfront waste treatment plant, and would not be a disruption to Astoria's residential community.

Kerry John Katsorhis, an attorney for Racks' owners, did not immediately return a request for comment on Wednesday. But he told DNAinfo New York in April that he thought his clients were being unfairly judged by critics based on a "lack of understanding."

"People are prejudiced towards a lot of things, and I hate prejudice in whatever form it comes," Katsorhis said at the time. "The mere fact that a person wants to operate a bikini bar does not mean it's going to be detrimental to the public welfare."

Queens Community Board 1 voted against a liquor license recommendation for Racks earlier this spring.

The bar's owners could still choose to go forward and open — even as a full-on nude adult entertainment establishment — and just not serve liquor.