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First Word: CB3 Weighs in on Klimat, The Fat Hippo, Odessa, and the Team from Bar Veloce

The Community Board 3 news continues. In addition to the Veselka approval and Las Ventanas rejection and the epic Le Souk fight, a number of other owners went up before the community and the all powerful CB3 committee. How the fates were sealed for seven restaurateurs in a stuffy senior center last night:

1) Our favorite debate of the night by far was during the second appearance for Casa Mezcal, a four floor Mexican cultural center set to go into 85 Orchard Street. The plan: the basement will have a cinema and live music, the first floor a restaurant and bar, the second floor a gallery, and the third floor, a workshop. The owners, one of which owns Nolita's El Portal, own a similar operation in Mexico and also import their own Mezcal tequila. The CB members loved it. All of it except the name. They spent 20 minutes telling these owners that they shouldn't be promoting the consumption of tequila, that the demographic on the LES isn't the same as in Mexico and would see it simply as a drunken party spot, and that they should rename it "Casa Cultural" or "Casa Oaxaca." Thankfully, the debate eventually ceased and they were granted approval, name in tact.

2) The owner of Bar Veloce, Bar Carerra, and Solex appeared in an attempt to open an Austrian wine bar in the old Cafe Gigi space at 417 East 9th Street, but the community was not having it. Since Gigi didn't have a liquor license and is located on a side street, they were not about to budge. Important note to potential bar owners: the committee sounds like it's considering a moratorium on liquor licenses for all side street bars. Take heed.

3) The restaurant at 71 Clinton is moving forward as planned over a year ago and will become The Fat Hippo. The owners appeared before the committee last year and won approval, but the landlord raised their rent on them soon after the meeting and leased the space to a new restaurant, San Marzano. When that fell through, the landlord came crawling back to team Fat Hippo, who again won approval this time around for their "full service American" restaurant.

4) Odessa, a spot beloved by many committee members, won approval for renewal even though they were busted on three occasions for selling to minors. The owners explained that they have employed new security measures.

5) Karaoke bar Galaxy 45 won approval from the community board even though their license was revoked by the SLA. It's a long story but basically it was a Japanese restaurant that extended its hours and became a karaoke bar late night without telling the SLA. The CB gave their approval, because there have been no complaints and they didn't want the workers to lose their jobs due to the owner's ignorance of CB3 and SLA protocol.

6) Klimat on East 7th Street and the bar 40C both received approval despite a number complaints as long as they close earlier (in the case of Klimat) and maintain high security (40C).
· First Word: Neighbors, As Usual, Up in Arms Over Le Souk [~E~}
· Veselka on the Bowery Finally Gets CB3 Green Light [~E~]

Casa Mezcal

86 Orchard Street, Manhattan, NY 10002 (212) 777-2661 Visit Website