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Troubled Queens Club Where Cab Driver Was Shot Closes

 Local leaders held a press conference outside Purlieu nightclub in March calling for it to be shut down.
Local leaders held a press conference outside Purlieu nightclub in March calling for it to be shut down.
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Courtesy JImmy Van Bramer's Office

ASTORIA — A Queens nightclub with a history of violations that earned the ire of local leaders after a cab driver was shot in the head outside in March closed its doors for good last month, according to an attorney for its owners.

Purlieu, located at 36-04 34th St. off 36th Avenue, shuttered about two weeks ago and surrendered its liquor license Thursday, according to the State Liquor Authority and Kerry Katsorhis, a lawyer for the owners.

Katsorhis said the closure was not spurred by recent controversy around the club, but because "business was not going as expected."

"It was a business decision," he said. "They chose to cease all business operations."

Purlieu had earned notoriety in recent months after gunfire broke out in front of the club on March 4, seriously injuring 34-year-old livery driver Roberto Castillo, who was shot in the head as he was dropping off passengers there.

In the days after the shooting, elected leaders rallied outside Purlieu in an effort to get the club shut down, saying the site was a drain on police resources.

The club has received a number of violations, State Liquor Authority documents show. In February of 2015, SLA investigators visited the club and found it was allowing "adult entertainment" — including scantily-clad pole dancers — despite a stipulation in its license that prohibited such acts.

The investigators also found that required signs warning patrons about the effects of consuming alcohol were not properly displayed in the club, records show.

In March of 2015, a fight broke out inside Purlieu that ended with three men stabbed and robbed of their cell phones, police said at the time.

The SLA cited the club with violations in the fall of 2015 and in early 2016, including infractions related to emergency exit signs, improper employment of security guards, failure to keep and maintain adequate business records, and failure to display its liquor license, according to records.

City Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer, one of several politicians who called to shut down the club in March, released a statement in light of its closure that described Purlieu as "a clear and present danger," to the neighborhood.

"Club Purlieu was a bad business and a bad neighbor that brought violence and disruption to our community," he said.

Purlieu's owner has no plans to reopen the club, Katsorhis said.