INWOOD — A nightlife veteran and Washington Heights native has proposed opening a three-story Dominican-themed restaurant and bar with a rooftop terrace on Dyckman Street.
Brendan Straw, who got his start as manager of Coogan’s Restaurant and co-owns both the Astoria Brewhouse and the Brooklyn Brewhouse, is hoping to open a traditional-style Dominican spot at 160 Dyckman St. with a business partner.
The venue, which does not yet have a name, would replace four rundown storefronts near the corner of Dyckman Street and Sherman Avenue, according to plans presented to Community Board 12’s licensing committee earlier this month.
The establishment would have capacity for roughly 300 people spread across three floors, including a rooftop terrace that would seat about 80 people.
Straw plans to operate from 7:30 a.m. to 4 a.m. seven days per week, with the terrace closing at midnight each night, he told the committee, according to an audio recording from Board 12.
Board members raised concerns about noise and parking issues that may arise from the size of the venue.
“I have a little bit of concern because that corner right there, there’s a lot of traffic, a lot of double-parking, a lot of businesses,” said committee member Priscilla Mota-Willis. “I’m concerned… about a place this big with an outside patio. How are you going to be able to control the mobs, the music, the noise?”
A representative for the business said the owners have already made an agreement with the garage next to the venue to save 80 parking spots for its customers each night in order to address parking concerns.
He also said that there would be no music of any kind played on the rooftop terrace. Additionally, a sound-absorbing floor and thick glass panels would be installed in the rooftop area to cut down on noise from customers, he said.
Other committee members questioned the venue’s proximity to the already bar-heavy stretch of Dyckman Street between Broadway and Payson Avenue.
“We’re looking at total capacity of over 300 people, and of all streets in our district, this is the one,” said committee chairman Aldemar Diaz.
Straw, who grew up in Washington Heights, said he had previously looked at other locations in the neighborhood, but this was the first that really attracted his attention.
“I’ve always wanted to come back to my neighborhood, I just never had the opportunity,” he said. “I found a great location that’s a good deal.”
The representative noted that while some areas of Dyckman Street may be saturated with liquor licenses, this particular stretch is not. He also presented a petition with about 200 signatures from local residents in support of the venue.
The representative also emphasized Straw’s experience as a business owner.
“What’s key for us and what we need to persuade you of is that we’re not people who don’t know what we’re doing,” he said.
The committee voted 4-2 in favor of the application, according to board records. The application will be voted on Tuesday by the full board before being reviewed by the State Liquor Authority.