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Inwood Bar Illegally Reopens After Underage Drinking Sting, Authorities Say

By Carolina Pichardo | December 14, 2015 7:36pm
 Police shut down the popular lounge after several incidents of underage drinking.
Police shut down the popular lounge after several incidents of underage drinking.
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DNAinfo/Carolina Pichardo

INWOOD — A restaurant and lounge that was shuttered by police last week for selling alcohol to minors on multiple occasions illegally reopened over the weekend despite a court order that it remain closed, officials said.

Viva Tapas Bar and Lounge, located 65 Sherman Ave. between Dyckman and Thayer streets, was shut down on Thursday, Dec. 10, after an undercover NYPD sting operation allegedly found three separate incidents of underage drinking over as many months this year.

Court documents show trouble at the bar started when a police officer from the 34th Precinct went to the bar accompanied by an underage auxilliary officer, who was served alcohol on April 3 without having to show identification or proof of age.

The same officer returned with another underage officer on May 6, with the younger officer getting served a drink despite handing over an ID showing he was a minor, court records show.

The NYPD did a third undercover operation on June 5, with a waitress serving the underage officer without asking for ID at all, records show. The waitress was arrested that night, police said.

Despite the Thursday order, the bar reopened for business over the weekend — a move that would have only been permitted if the owners filed for a notice of appeal or an issue to stay the matter, spokesmen for the court system said.

However, there were no files on record as of Monday, the spokesmen noted.

The incidents were not the first time Viva has had run-ins with the law.

The lounge was issued a summons on Feb. 25 for selling alcohol at 4:35 a.m., past the legal closing time of 4 a.m., court records show.

The liquor license for Viva Tapas Bar and Lounge is issued to J&H Restaurant Associates, Inc. 

Viva’s owners, who are due back in court on Tuesday, Dec. 15, could not be reached for comment.