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'They Hate Me,' Old Man Hustle Owner Says of CB3 Liquor License Denial

 Old Man Hustle is located at 39 Essex St.
Old Man Hustle is located at 39 Essex St.
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Old Man Hustle

LOWER EAST SIDE — The bar Old Man Hustle was denied a liquor license renewal by the local community board on Monday due to its fraught history with both neighbors and law enforcement — but the owner insists the board has a personal vendetta against his business.

Jesse Danoff, owner of the watering hole at 39 Essex St., came before Community Board 3’s State Liquor Authority committee to request a liquor license renewal just months after the NYPD temporarily shuttered the bar for serving minors. 

The committee unanimously voted to recommend denying the renewal, citing a litany of complaints from locals in addition to the legal troubles. But Danoff, who declined to address the complaints before the board, told DNAinfo after the meeting that the community's gripes are baseless and the push to disenfranchise his bar is personal.

“The accusations and complaints are unsubstantiated, and a lot of it amounts to slander,” he said.

“They hate me,” he added, calling the allegations against his business “personal attacks.”

Before the denial, committee chairwoman Alex Militano dove into the bar’s bad neighborhood reputation, rattling off a bevy of mounting offenses related to noise pollution and illegal activity.

Neighbors have often complained of loud noise coming from the bar past 4 a.m., said Militano, despite the bar’s approved operating hours ending at 1:30 a.m.

Twenty-eight calls regarding noise complaints — most of which reported loud music and party sounds— have been made to 311 from January through April, city records show.

The local police precinct has received 44 calls regarding activity at the bar from the beginning of the year up until May 10, Militano noted.

The complaints detailed only cover the past few months, even though the dive has been in the board’s bad graces since first seeking a license years ago. 

The community board had initially voted to deny Old Man Hustle’s liquor license in early 2014 unless it agreed to abide by a list of stipulations, one of which was closing by 1:30 a.m. The SLA granted the space its license months later.

In December 2015, the NYPD busted the bar for incidents of underage drinking, leading to a temporary closure mandated by the SLA, Bowery Boogie reported at the time.

But the bar bounced back and reopened just days later. Danoff then came before the board the following January to request an extension of his hours of operation — hours the board argued he was already violating by keeping the party going far past 1:30 a.m., sometimes until 6 or 7 a.m., according to a recommendation that was sent to the SLA. The meeting led to a heated exchange with community members, the Lo-Down reported, and Danoff ultimately withdrew his request.

The local block association, which had previously inked a written agreement with Danoff ensuring a 1:30 a.m. closure, wrote a letter to the committee prior to Monday’s meeting imploring it to deny the renewal request, Militano said. A rep for the association came to the meeting to speak to the bar’s bad behavior.

“They pretty quickly seemed to do whatever they wanted to do,” said Emma Culbert, of the SPaCE Block Association. “We feel as though they haven’t been good neighbors.”

Despite the denial, Danoff said he was confident the SLA would renew his license, which expires on May 31, and shrugged off the committee’s remarks.

“I don’t pay any attention to them,” he said.