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Locals Oppose Liquor License for New Franklin Avenue Spot 'Crow Bar'

 Crow Bar is hoping to set up shop at 820 Franklin Ave., a storefront on the corner of Union Street in Crown Heights.
Crow Bar is hoping to set up shop at 820 Franklin Ave., a storefront on the corner of Union Street in Crown Heights.
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DNAinfo/Rachel Holliday Smith

CROWN HEIGHTS — A new bar looking to set up shop on Franklin Avenue is getting pushback from locals who say the business will further saturate a bar-heavy strip.

Crow Bar will take over a storefront at 820 Franklin Ave. on the corner of Union Street in Crown Heights, located a block south of the Franklin Avenue subway stop on Eastern Parkway.

Its owner, Dan Wilby, is looking for a full liquor license for the establishment to serve beer, wine and liquor from noon to 4 a.m. on weekends to accommodate the brunch crowd, he said, and from noon or 2 p.m. to 2 a.m. on weekdays, he told Brooklyn Community Board 9 on Tuesday.

This would be Wilby’s second bar in Brooklyn, he said. He currently runs Hollow Nickel, located on Atlantic and Third avenues in Boerum Hill.

At the CB9 meeting Tuesday night, three residents from the Crown Heights Tenant Union who live adjacent to Crow Bar opposed the bar’s opening, publicly asking the board to not support their liquor license application.

One of them, Esteban Giron, explained their reasoning: by his count, three bars with full liquor licenses are already operating within 500 feet of the Crow Bar address, violating the 500-foot rule mandated by the State Liquor Authority. (Wilby contended there are only two such operations in the same area.)

Further, Giron criticized the bar’s name, which is reminiscent of Crow Hill, a name once used for Crown Heights that referred to “crows,” a derogatory term for black residents living there.

“I don’t think that was something you’ve done on purpose,” he said, addressing Wilby. “But it gives you an idea, as board members, of how much attention they’re really paying.”

Ultimately, the board was evenly split on the liquor license application, with 17 members voting to support, 12 voting no and 5 abstaining; CB9 chairman Demetrius Lawrence said without a majority of yes votes, the vote counted as a tie and will have to be reconsidered.

The SLA will ultimately approve or reject Crow Bar’s application, taking CB9’s vote into account. Giron said the tenant union plans to push for a new hearing by the SLA to consider the 500-foot rule in the new bar’s application.