HELL’S KITCHEN — A Ninth Avenue gay bar seeking a 4 a.m. closing time on the weekends has secured a preliminary stamp of approval from the community board — despite protests from locals concerned about quality of life in the neighborhood.
Since the bar opened last year at 859 Ninth Ave., near West 56th Street, it has carried out extensive soundproofing and sound testing to ensure it doesn’t disturb neighbors, attorney Donald Bernstein explained at the meeting.
“This board is very protective of side streets, yet 4 a.m. closings were given to some of these other bars, and we were saddled with 2 a.m.,” Bernstein said. “If anyone is going to get a 4 a.m. for a bar on Ninth Avenue, it should be these guys.”
The full board gave advisory approval to Rise back in 2014 when it asked to close at 4 a.m. Thursdays through Saturdays, but the State Liquor Authority asked the bar to close at 2 a.m. for a year before returning with a new application, bar owner John Blair previously told DNAinfo.
A number of meeting attendees, however, spoke out against Rise’s application, citing concerns about noise, late-night crowds and unruly patrons.
“You… have individuals who are drinking into the wee hours of the morning, and then bombing out into our streets,” a Hell’s Kitchen resident named Paul said. “So to talk about anything that’s beyond 2 o’clock is not for the people that live in this neighborhood.”
50-51 Block Association co-chairman Steve Belida, meanwhile, took issue with letters Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer, Councilman Corey Johnson and state Sen. Brad Hoylman sent to the State Liquor Authority supporting Rise’s proposed closing time.
The politicians drafted their letters without consulting residents, he said.
“We represent many people who can’t be here,” Belida said of attendees opposing the application. “We wouldn’t be complaining if there wasn’t a problem.”
Committee co-chairman Burt Lazarin countered that the bar “[doesn't] have any control over” its patrons once they left the venue.
Attendees hadn’t brought up any “specific incidents” of trouble caused by the bar, he added.
“I am pretty heavily influenced by the fact that the full board approved this [in 2014],” committee co-chairman Frank Holozubiec said.
The committee ultimately voted in favor of Rise’s application.
CB4's full board will vote on the application at its meeting on Nov. 2.