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Uptown Bar Trying to Open Under New Name After Liquor License Rejected

By Nigel Chiwaya | May 21, 2014 2:58pm
 The owner of a proposed bar at 5060 Broadway that was rejected by CB12 in November is planning to open under a new name, documents show.
The owner of a proposed bar at 5060 Broadway that was rejected by CB12 in November is planning to open under a new name, documents show.
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DNAinfo/Nigel Chiwaya

INWOOD — If at first you don't succeed, try again with a new name.

An entrepreneur who tried this winter to open a bar at an Inwood corner known for being loud and violent is making a second attempt at getting a liquor license after her initial bid was rejected.

Dozens of uptown residents fiercely opposed businesswoman Maria Rodriguez's application in November for a State Liquor Authority license at 5060 Broadway at 215th Street, saying a bar she planned to call Lumus would attract disorder.

Lumus never opened, and now, Rodriguez has registered another business at the same location — this time called Brown Sugar Restaurant and Bar, New York Department of State records dated April 7 show.

Rodriguez recently visited Community Board 12's office to ask to address the community at the group's licensing committee meeting in June, District Manager Ebenezer Smith said, noting the board expected to receive paperwork for a new liquor license application.

Attempts to reach Rodriguez were unsuccessful.

Inwood residents collected 475 signatures this fall in opposition to Lumus's application to serve liquor at Lumus, which Rodriguez said would have 20 tables and 80 chairs. CB12 then voted against the application "in the strongest possible terms," their resolution said.

The NYPD's 34th Precinct also urged the SLA to deny Lumus's application, citing a history of violence at the location, including two murders, police said.  Police did not immediately provide additional details. Rodriguez did not lease the property at the time of the murder.

Rodriguez never took Lumus' application to the State Liquor Authority after the community board's advisory vote, leading residents to wonder whether she had given up on plans. But the space received a Department of Buildings permit for an interior renovation and bar addition on January 24, records show.

News on Brown Sugar came as a surprise to residents who fought against Lumus opening.

"We didn't know, and we're all in constant communication," said Tony Martignetti, one of dozens residents who spoke in opposition to the bar in November.

"Nothing has changed," he added. "We’re still concerned about the saturation of on-premise liquor licenses between 212th and 218th streets on Broadway and 10th Avenue. Especially at that location, because there was a history of criminal activity."

Santiago Almonte, the owner of 5060 Broadway, said Tuesday that Brown Sugar was looking to open in the summer.

"Maybe in two months," Almonte said.