LOWER EAST SIDE — Longtime dive 169 Bar could be shut down after the city accused the watering hole of selling alcohol to minors in a recently filed lawsuit.
The city wants the bar to pay a $1,000 penalty for each day it allowed the sale of alcohol to minors, according to the lawsuit, which was filed in New York Supreme Court on April 7.
The city also asked the court to direct a sheriff to seize, remove and sell “all material, equipment and instrumentality used in the creation and maintenance of the public nuisance” as well as close the premises for a year following its decision.
Authorities caught the East Broadway bar selling beer to minors twice last year when underage auxiliary officers bought two cans of Pabst Blue Ribbon on Nov. 19, 2014 and two cans of Miller Lite the next day, court documents show.
Bouncers checked the minors’ IDs at the door, according to affidavits signed by undercover police observing the scene, but they were still allowed into the bar. The bartenders did not ask the underage officers for their ages or identification when they purchased drinks, according to court documents.
The city said the underage beer sales “were conducted in an open and notorious manner” and created a "public nuisance," according to the lawsuit.
“The owners knew or should have known of the alleged activity being conducted in the subject premises and have intentionally conducted, maintained or permitted the aforementioned public nuisance,” the lawsuit states.
Owner Charles Hanson said the city began to pay attention to the bar last March when a neighbor began making numerous complaints.
"That's why the police choose to focus on 169 Bar, and during that focus mistakes of inattention may have occurred, that does not mean we are actively trying to profit off of underage drinkers, that's a ridiculous accusation," he said in an email.
The city’s Law Department referred all questions to the NYPD, which said the bar did not have any previous violations and is still open. The next court date is April 16, according to the NYPD.