INWOOD — A restaurant and hookah bar known for its loud, late-night parties was forced to temporarily shut down after workers were caught serving alcohol to underage customers, officials said.
Cavala Cafe at 5035 Broadway had its liquor license suspended for 45 days after the State Liquor Authority determined that minors bought alcohol on at least three separate occasions between June and August of 2013, the SLA said.
Cavala's license is suspended from July 28 through Sept. 11, and the owner was fined $10,000 for the violations, according to a notice posted at the restaurant.
Cavala’s owner did not respond to requests for comment.
Residents have long complained about the noisy parties at the venue, which serves $22 sirloin steak for dinner but converts to a lounge late at night, locals said.
“Cavala is a terrible neighbor,” said Tony Martignetti, 52, a representative of the Inwood Owner’s Coalition, which focuses on quality of life issues in the northern section of the neighborhood. “There’s noise until 3 o’clock in the morning when they close and then people linger.”
Martignetti said Cavala frequently hosts live music acts or DJs that disturb local residents, and he added that the owner has not been responsive to community concerns.
"We're going to be watching closely when they reopen," Martignetti said. "We hope that they become a good neighbor, but the history has been nothing good."
Martignetti and about 20 other residents recently raised concerns about Cavala at a June meeting of Community Board 12's licensing committee, where Cavala's owner was seeking a new liquor license because its current license is still under the name of La Estufa, the business that formerly occupied the space. Cavala's owner also sought a license for a sidewalk cafe.
CB12 recommended that state and city authorities disapprove both applications, based on noise and other complaints.
The 34th Precinct also asked that Cavala's applications be rejected, unless its operating hours were rolled back earlier than the current 2 a.m. closing time listed on the bar's website.
A police source said the 34th Precinct made the recommendation after receiving repeated complaints about Cavala from the community.