The DNAinfo archives brought to you by WNYC.
Read the press release here.

City Hits Exclusive TriBeCa Speakeasy With Overcrowding Violation

By Irene Plagianos | October 31, 2014 8:38am
 Residents have been complaining about the thumping music from new Bandit's Roost at 313 Church St.
Bandit's Roost Violation
View Full Caption

TRIBECA —  New TriBeCa restaurant Church Street Tavern and its exclusive, underground speakeasy Bandit's Roost are crowding in more scenesters than are allowed, according to a recently issued violation from the Department of Buildings

That’s no surprise to residents of the speakeasy's five-story loft building, who've been infuriated by the thumping music and crowds from the hot spot since it opened in September.

"They have DJs blaring music all night and I can hear it — and feel it,” said Cheron Tompkins, who’s lived on the top floor of the building for 23 years. “It’s just awful.”

The DOB slapped the restaurant and speakeasy, which both opened in September, with a partial vacate order on Oct. 10, saying the venues were exceeding their combined legal limit of 74 patrons.

According to the DOB, the eatery and bar must comply with the limit because it does not have a Place of Assembly certificate, which would allow for up to 120 people in the space.

Building residents started having issues with the cellar bar, which operates from 10 p.m. to 4 a.m. Thursday to Sunday nights, soon after it opened.

The small lounge is billed as an exclusive speakeasy and began using the restaurant's fire exit, which opens into the residential lobby of the building, as its hidden entrance.

“All of a sudden we had a bouncer outside of our door and these people wandering through our lobby to get inside,” said Terry Hirst, a 34-year resident of the building. “It was ridiculous.”

In addition to the crowds, the reverberating music from the lounge, named after a 1900s photo of a crime-ridden Downtown alley, has been an ongoing problem, several residents said.

“There’s partying all night, and we’re concerned with having strangers wandering through our building,” Tompkins said. “They call it [a] speakeasy, or lounge, but it’s a club, with a DJ, and it’s loud.”

Bandit's Roost has no cabaret license, a permit required when a business that sells food or alcohol allows dancing.

Jon Behling, owner of Church Street Tavern and Bandit's Roost, said his businesses are not in violation of city codes and there's no dancing in the lounge. The management is "doing the best they can" to handle the noise, Behling added.

Since receiving the DOB violation, Bandit's Roost patrons have stopped using the fire exit as an entrance and are accessing the speakeasy by a staircase inside the restaurant, residents said. Behling said there are no plans to go back to using the fire door.

The liquor license for Church Street Tavern and Bandit’s Roost, which carried over from a previous restaurant, is slated to expire on Nov. 30, according to State Liquor Authority records.

The owners of the eatery and bar are slated to appear at Community Board 1’s TriBeCa Committee meeting in November to seek support for the renewal, CB1 representatives said at a recent board meeting.

The building’s landlord did not immediately respond to a request for comment.