WEST VILLAGE — Devotees of classic Bedford Street watering hole Chumley's must gird themselves for yet another fight, as its opponents have convinced the State Liquor Authority to delay issuing the bar a liquor license.
The SLA holds hearings before its full board when it hears from people who object to the issuance of a license. Although Chumley's won over the local community board, which issues an advisory opinion to the SLA, the bar's diehard opponents haven't given up.
A spokesman for the SLA said Chumley's license "needs to go to the full board for review, due to opposition we have received."
The opponents, under the name BarFreeBedford, took out a full page ad in Westview News with the heading "NO MORE BARS ON BEDFORD," claiming they "represent the neighborhood in which certain individuals are attempting to open a new bar at 86 Bedford Street, formerly the location of Chumley's" and that the bar re-opening has "no local support."
But a local supporter, Steven Monroe Smith, who lives around the corner from the bar, started up an online petition to try to counter the opponents' efforts.
Both the ad and Smith's petition urge people to email the members of the SLA to convey their feelings about the bar.
BarFreeBedford previously sued the SLA based on opposition to Chumley's. The group also still has an active suit against the Department of Buildings and the Board of Standards and Appeals.
Calls to the group's lawyer and Thomas Kearney, the lead plaintiff in the case, went unanswered.
The SLA has not set a date for the bar's hearing. They meet roughly every two weeks.
The bar is currently being rebuilt after a series of struggles and renovations following the collapse of a wall that forced it to close nine years ago.
The bar has deep ties to a nearby firehouse, whose veteran smoke-eaters have been waiting for the bar to reopen to celebrate the street outside it being named after one of their fallen friends, a longtime Chumley's bartender.
The owner, a former firefighter himself, recently turned over majority ownership to the restaurateur behind Sushi Nakazawa to help Chumley's reopen.