BEDFORD-STUYVESANT — A DeKalb Avenue bar will undergo a change in management this year — and its new owner is seeking to serve more than just drinks.
Dathan “Bobby” Jones, who will take the helm at Brooklyn Nights in February, is looking to boost neighborhood development with community service events benefiting local children and residents.
The 35-year-old Crown Heights native has already hosted fashion shows, spoken word and hip-hop nights at the bar, at 497 DeKalb Avenue, for the past three years with childhood friends Joe Carter and Edwin Dor.
The current owner, after running the business for several years and working late nights, felt it was time to pass the torch on, according to Jones.
Brooklyn Nights’ owner could not be immediately reached for comment.
In an appeal for a liquor license letter of support from Brooklyn’s Community Board 3 this week, Jones told attendees and board members that his plan is “not just about alcohol.”
He described back-to-school events with donated school supplies and toy drives for the holiday season, which have been hosted by the trio in past months.
“We want to have a space to allow the building of the community and give back to the kids,” he told DNAinfo New York. “You do see a change in the community with a lot of new bars, but there’s not a lot that reflects the people in the neighborhood."
“It’s important that as the place changes and we embrace it — diversity is a beautiful thing — it’s important that we keep a piece of Bed-Stuy.”
CB3 approved the application for a new liquor license, which awaits a decision by the State Liquor Authority.
Along with an emphasis on giving back to the neighborhood, Jones said he hopes to use his background as a social worker to help formerly incarcerated individuals.
“When I worked as a benefit advisor at Rikers Island, I noticed the same people who kept coming back and finding themselves in destructive patterns,” he said.
“It would be awesome to find a way to make a connection with those guys and help them get their credentials for becoming a food handler, chef, or server by helping them in our kitchen.”
While Jones said he and the new chef will try to integrate more Caribbean food, he added that he will keep the venue’s current menu offerings, with $10 Seafood Thursdays that include snow crab legs, shrimp and two sides.
“It’s very important that we stay affordable and convenient for people and make sure we focus on customer service," he said.
"There’s nothing like going to a place where everybody knows your name.”