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Liquor License OK'd for Washington Hts. Club Where Officers Were Assaulted

 Two police officers were assaulted in front of Lucky Seven, but the bar may receive a renewal license. 
Lucky Seven
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FORT GEORGE — A bar where two NYPD officers were punched last month while breaking up a fight got the go-ahead to renew its liquor license from the local community board — after police declined to object to the nightspot's request. 

Lucky Seven Tapas Bar, at 1447 St. Nicholas Ave., applied for a renewal of its liquor license last week, earning a unanimous vote of approval from Community Board 12's licensing committee.

On April 29, two officers from the 34th Precinct were assaulted in front of the bar at about 1:30 a.m. after responding to a call about a fight that started inside of the venue, police said.

Dajon Melendez, 24, and Jacab Harris, 25, were both charged with assault and resisting arrest after they punched two police officers who were trying to break up the crowd, the criminal complaint said.

The officers sustained minor injuries including bruising, swelling and cuts around their eyes, the complaint added.

Harris, who records show previously served two years in state prison for weapons possession, was also charged with criminal possession of a weapon after police found a razor blade in his pocket, the complaint said.

However, when an officer from the 34th Precinct was asked to weigh in on Lucky Seven's liquor license at a May 13 meeting, he declined to object to the renewal and did not mention the assaults.

Tom did ask the owner to schedule a walk-through of the business with NYPD before the general board meeting on May 26. 

The night after the officers were assaulted, Deputy Inspector Chris Morello of the 34th Precinct said at a community council meeting that police were aware of the issues with Lucky Seven and mentioned the attacks.

"Lucky Seven has been a challenge," Morello said at the time.

He noted that police would be meeting with the club's owner to discuss the disordely conditions and ways to improve the bars operations, such as adding more security.

Neighbors said Lucky Seven has been a frequent source of noise and bad behavior since it opened, with some attending the community council meeting to voice their concerns. The bar, which operates from 4 p.m. to 4 a.m. seven days a week, received its initial license in 2010.

“Even in winter with windows closed, the noise is so loud you can feel it in your sternum,” said Kai Hunter, who lives close to the nightclub. “There is public drunkenness, people regurgitating on the street, and nothing happens.”

Police did issue a summons to Lucky Seven for disorderly premise over the assault, a police source said. The issue has been forwarded to the State Liquor Authority, which will determine any penalties and vote on Lucky Seven’s renewal application, police said.

The owner could not be reached for comment.

The committee voted unanimously in favor of the renewal application, which will receive a final vote at the full board meeting on May 26.

Harris is currently being held on $30,000 bail, according to the Department of Corrections. His lawyer declined to comment on the case.

Melendez is being held on $1,000 bail. His lawyer did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

In other licensing news:

► The committee voted against an application for La Catalina, an open-air beer garden proposed for 10th Avenue and 205th Street after the owner declined to sign a document stipulating certain changes to the operation.

The beer garden, which would take over space that currently houses a parking lot, would operate from 10 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. seven days per week, according to applicant Rud Morales.

Morales, who sits on Community Board 12 but not on the licensing committee, has also served as the manager or owner at Inwood lounges Negro Claro and Ganesha.

The committee raised concerns about potential noise issues arising from an open-air venue.

Morales said she planned to use the same sound system that is in place at Ganesh, which is also an outdoor venue that the owner said has not received noise complaints. She would also leave a buffer zone between the beer garden and the closest residential building.

The committee was prepared to vote in favor of the application, but reversed its decision when Morales refused to sign the stipulations that she and the committee had discussed, including submitting a copy of floor plans to the board and installing a sound governor.

“My word should be respected,” said Morales, who said she was happy to meet the board’s requirements, but did not want to sign the agreement. “I’ve been in business for four years.”

However, the committee members said that everyone was expected to sign stipulations.

“We can’t show you special treatment,” said committee member, Angela Sanchez. “You know the procedures.”

► The owners of Made in Mexico restaurant at 3950 10th Ave. applied to open a second venue a few doors away in order to accommodate their large weekend crowds, said the restaurant’s representative, Ariel Ferreira.

The venue, which does not yet have a name, would be located in a former catering hall at 3964 10th Avenue. It would only be open on Friday, Saturday and Sunday nights from 10 p.m. to 4 a.m.

Tony Martignetti from the Inwood Owner’s Coalition, a group the focuses on quality-of-life issues in northern Inwood, said that the late hours raised a red flag for some residents.

“What’s the public advantage here?” Martignetti asked. “It’s a late-night drinking place. What does that say about our neighborhood if we support another application like this?”

Ferreira pointed out that the committee had recently voted in favor of other applications with similar hours.

He explained the lounge had hired two retired NYPD officers to manage security. He added that other security measures could include cameras the NYPD can access at any time and a 3:30 a.m. last call for a smoother closing time.

The committee ultimately voted in favor of the application, which will receive a final review at the full board meeting on May 26.