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Fourth Incarnation of 'Trash' Hookah Bar Shot Down in East Village

By Allegra Hobbs | November 16, 2016 8:20am
 Tut was located at 189 E. Third St.
Tut was located at 189 E. Third St.
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DNAinfo/Allegra Hobbs

EAST VILLAGE — Neighbors to an ever-changing Moroccan eatery on East Third Street shot down the proprietor's pitch for a new liquor-serving hookah bar and restaurant in the space, claiming they have already lived through three incarnations of the business that have each been a quality-of-life nightmare.

Community Board 3's State Liquor Authority subcommittee on Monday voted to deny a liquor license for a new eatery to replace the shuttered Tut Restaurant and Lounge at 189 E. Third St., previously Casablanca and Lumiere before that, when neighbors railed against the establishment they said has consistently been a scourge on their block.

"When I come home at 2 in the morning, the last thing I want to do is deal with another loud-ass bar that I have to try to sleep above," said building resident Michelle Brilliant, who works late hours at a restaurant.

"We just don't want to have to deal with it again," she continued. "It literally is a nightmare."

Proprietor Amar Patel had managed the bar's previous incarnations, Lumiere and Casablanca, while his mother had managed Tut, which was seized by a city marshal in January 2016 due to a dispute with the landlord, according to a lawyer for Patel.

Brilliant was one of six building residents and neighbors who slammed the bar for blasting music late at night, drawing rowdy crowds, and over-serving patrons who vomited on the street.

Patel had also installed a door on the street leading into the building's basement, residents said, allowing bar patrons to wander into the building and into the backyard.

One building resident said she often came home late at night to pulsating music and asked management to tone it down — the volume would lower for roughly five minutes before blasting again, she said.

"It's the same people running it over and over again," said Ruth Alvez. "They have a blatant disregard for the concerns of the residents."

Alvez said she has also dealt with over-served bar-goers causing trouble on the block.

"The patrons, the people who come there, are just trash...they'll throw up, they'll vomit."

Board members noted Tut often served its patrons on the sidewalk despite not having a license to serve outside, and had hosted events with dancing and DJs, going against the stipulations of its license.

District Manger Susan Stetzer said the board had spoken to police about the bar, and that 9th Precinct officers considered the spot a "serious problem."

"The history of this place is among the worst that we've had," Stetzer said.

Patel tried to assure community and board members that his restaurant would in fact be "calming," centered around tea and conversation rather than dancing and liquor.

"It's going to be more of a restaurant," he said. "I'm not promoting it as a club or nightlife."

Three locals did turn up to vouch for Patel's character and management. One, a building resident, argued the rowdy crowds and noise just came with the neighborhood.

"This is New York, it's the East Village," said a building resident who identified himself as Frank. "You don't have to go to bed at 8 o'clock."

Nonetheless, the community board unanimously voted to issue a request to deny the spot its license, though the SLA will ultimately make the determination.

The space on Tuesday afternoon was draped with a sign advertising that it is available to rent by owner.