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First Word: CB3 Green Lights Tonda, Sonia Rose, Drops Hammer on 205, Cafe Deville

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The rough economy took center stage at last night's meeting of Manhattan's Community Board 3 SLA Committee. Multiple establishments appeared beseeching the board for upgraded liquor licenses to help them brave the storm and remain afloat. The five and a half hour meeting included the requisite community member complaint on the state of St. Mark's Place, heated debates between CB members, and plenty of denials, approvals, and ubiquitous "deny unless" ruling. Let's get to it.

1) Controversial club 205, 205 Chrystie Street, appeared before CB3 to renew their full liquor license. If you'll recall, The SLA had previously revoked their license, but the club is operating under a court order after winning its battle in the Supreme Court. CB3 opted to deny their liquor license based on the 2006 nuisance abatement, the fact that they're still under review by the SLA, that they are currently operating under a court order, and that they had complaints as recently as March 13, 2009.

2) A yet-to-be-named establishment at the former Carne Vale space on Ave B, promising to be a Greek seafood restaurant, appeared before the committee requesting a full liquor license in a resolution area. The committee proceeded to discuss the unfortunate problems afflicting Avenue B, citing Le Souk and China 1 as particularly egregious. As expected, the application was ultimately denied. Furthermore, a letter is being sent to the landlord informing him that no liquor license will be granted for that space in the foreseeable future.

3) Kate's Joint, 58 Avenue B, appeared before the committee for a renewal of their beer and wine license with complaint history. Complaints include loud music and loud crowds on the street at 4 am. Neighbors appeared before the committee in support of the restaurant, including one EVill veteran who said that people should expect a certain amount of noise: "Don't mess with NYC culture". One sympathetic board member said of the owner, "She's invested a decade of her life. What is she going to do, go and get a new job?". The CB ultimately approved the renewal stipulating that the restaurant close at 3 am, have licensed security guards two nights a week, install sound proofing, move the speakers, and close the 4th Street gates at 2 am.

4) Cafe Deville, 99 Third Avenue, attempted to transfer their liquor license to new owners proposing a sports bar and restaurant with a possible DJ in the downstairs. The new establishment would consist of a cosmetic remodel of the space using the same designer as Blue Seats. This application sparked a lively debate among the committee members regarding the guidelines for the transfers of liquor licenses. The application was ultimately denied as they applicant failed to show community support.

5) Fat Panda (Planet Rose), 219 Ave A, appeared again this month, asking that they be allowed to expand into the 300 square foot adjoining space for a private karaoke room. The bar has been in operation for nine years with no complaints. The committee voted to deny unless they agree to operate the new space as a karaoke facility, close at 2 am on Sun - Wed and 4 am on Thurs - Sat, install sound proofing, promise to host charitable and community events.

6) Caffe Pepe Rosso on Ave C made an attempt to upgrade to a full liquor license. The owner spoke earnestly about needing to do something to try to boost his low revenues. He has already had to close both breakfast and lunch service and is hoping that increased revenues from alcohol sales will enable him to survive. The committee basically said they didn't want to give a license to a restaurant that will fail anyway (because they don't know who will take it over next). For color, one resident added, "You have no idea what it's like to have to listen to the blood curdling screams of drunk people." The CB3 ultimately denied the upgraded liquor license stating oversaturation of the area and no public benefit to the upgrade.

7) Tonda, Robert Giardi's do-over at the EU space with the owners of Bread and Bread Tribeca, appeared to request an alteration in their method of operation. With the support of the Block Association, the Community Board approved the alteration, provided that Tonda is subject to the same stipulations beholden to EU.

8) St. Mark's Place Inc., 6 St. Mark's Place, formerly Kim's Video, appeared requesting a beer and wine license for a proposed three story karaoke joint in a residential area. The 8 St. Mark's Place Tenants' Association was present to speak against the establishment and the committee unanimously denied the license.

9) The Eastville Comedy Club, 85 E 4th St., appeared again before the Community Board to implore them to grant a full liquor license so that they might be able to increase profitability. Upon being granted their beer and wine license in Feb '08, the Comedy Club promised not to request an upgrade for at least two years but cites the unfortunate economy as the impetus for applying sooner. Their application was denied due to the fact that they weren't meant to request a full liquor license for two years.

10) Sonia Rose, 74 Orchard Street, appeared again trying to get a full liquor license. The applicant was able to show more community support than they'd shown in the past. Their application was approved provided that they close no later than 11.

11) Christos Restaurant, 29 East Second Street, appeared before the committee to request a beer and wine license, a downgrade from last month. The restaurant would be German/Swiss/French cuisine and is located in a Community Access building. Neighbors appeared speaking for the restaurant but against a full liquor license. The committee voted to deny unless they agree to the normal slew of stipulations involving closing times, street cafes, soundproofing, and security.

Other approvals: Bkkaffe, 6 Clinton St. (transfer from Thai on Clinton), Finnertys Irish Pub (transfer), Noodle King, 19 Henry St. (beer and wine), 151, 151 Rivington St. (renewal), Jeollado 116 East 4th St., (renewal), Apiary (upgrade to full liquor).

— Bailly Roesch