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First Word: La Lucha, Destination, Jewsion Spot Meet CB3

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Perhaps on account of the rain, Community Board 3's State Liquor Authority Licensing Committee meeting proved relatively brief last night, lasting a mere four hours. But, before we get to who appeared before the board and their fates, which may remake the East Village/Lower East Side dining and drinking scene forever, a little color from the crowd.

Before the meeting had officially started, one irate resident came before the board to complain about the sidewalk cafes on Second Avenue, saying, “I have complaints about almost every sidewalk café in the neighborhood.” Members suggested that she call 311 but were met with a frustrated response that the resident was too busy on the phone with doctors for her blind and dying mother: "When my mother dies, then I'll have time to go around and make complaints about all of these cafes." Ah, Community Board 3 meetings: always a special place. Meantime, to the victims, er, restaurants!

1) D Rivers, a proposed tapas restaurant at 132 First Ave., appeared before the board to request a full liquor license. While located in Tribe's old space—which still has an active full liquor license—the owner decided to avoid any association with Tribe and opted to get a completely new license. The board denied them, unless they follow the usual stipulations (operate as a restaurant, close at a specified time, maintain respectful noise levels, etc. etc.), and in addition required the establishment to host at lease one non-profit event per month. The ghosts of Tribe are strong, friends.

2) A self-described Jewsion restaurant at 1 Essex Street (no official name yet) proffered itself up next, promising to use local, organic produce and be reasonably priced. Charming! This, of course, is the spacious corner space where Essex meets Canal Street, once rumored to be eyed by Keith McNally himself. Instead, last night saw two sisters, their mom, and a friend make the case to the board. The community board voted to deny unless they follow the usual stipulations.

3) Reps from La Lucha, a proposed Mexican restaurant with a lucha libre wrestling theme at 147 Avenue A (at East 9th Street, inside a dreaded "resolution area," where licenses are even harder to obtain), came forward to apply for a beer and wine license. The main area of contention with the board was the fact that this would be a liquor license in a previously unlicensed location; the application was withdrawn due to incompleteness.

4) Destination, a proposed restaurant, bar, and grill (whoa, the trifecta!) with a transferred license at 211 Avenue A (at East 13th) got an easy deny unless, plus the usual stipulations. In other words, check back soon.

5) May Chan Ramen & Robatayaki, a new ramen joint going into the defunct Love Saves the Day spot on Second Avenue also had an incomplete application, and thus was withdrawn.

6) Gena’s Grill, at 210 First Avenue, had previously been denied for the simple reason that no representative from the establishment had appeared before the committee. However, this turned out to be due to a language barrier solved by the presence of a translator. Nonetheless, the proposed Caribbean restaurant got a deny unless, plus the usual stipulations.

7) Jason Hennings' Butcher Bay on East 5th (between Avenues A and B) came to request a full liquor license. One neighbor present at the meeting protested the upgrade, rambling on about having pictures of one of the owners painting at night and using a hammer during the day (both of which were, er, pointed out to be lawful activities). Still, hammers or not, the board voted to deny the license upgrade due to liquor license oversaturation in the nabe and the 500 foot rule.

8) Cozy wine bar Terroir appeared to request an extension of their hours of operation to include Sundays from 5:00 p.m. – 12:00 a.m.. The request was approved. Score one for good taste.

9) With previous 311 complaints regarding loud music already logged against him, the owner of Horus on 93 Avenue B was asked to address these issues to the board. The representative reported that he had moved the speakers and made them smaller in March and that the joint has received no complaints since. The community board voted to deny license renewal unless the owner continue to abide by the stipulations previously set forth in his last renewal, including maintaining appropriate sound levels.

10) Cozy Café on 42 E. 1st St. was required to answer questions regarding alleged illegal use of their outdoor space, to wit, that the outdoor space cannot be used because the establishment lies in a residential area. The community board opted to deny renewal unless the establishment cease the alleged use of their alleged outdoor area. Allegedly.

11) Roots & Vines at 409 Grand Street hoped to extend their hours to 4 a.m. to encourage more business. (Savvy gambit!) One board member spoke out in support of the establishment, but the board voted to deny unless with the usual stipulations of maintaining their method of operation, their hours of operation, and so on, and so forth.

12) Kuta, at 65 Rivington Street, came in front of the board to beg them to alter the previous stipulations of their license that they could not request a sidewalk café. Citing the poor economy as impetus for the expansion, the representatives hope that the extra tables provided by new outdoor space would keep them afloat. Miraculously, they were approved.

13) A proposed Irish pub at 76 E. 1st Street would be exactly the same as the one currently there (One and One), save for a new name and a DJ space in the basement, the new owners explained. The transfer of the existing application was approved with the usual stipulations.

14) Rong Hang, a Chinese restaurant keeping the same name as the one currently there at 38 Eldridge Street, requested a transfer of the current liquor license. The board voted to deny unless plus the usual stipulations.

15) Kasadela Inakaya on 647 E. 11th Street seeked to transfer its license to a new owner; it was denied unless plus the usual stipulations, plus the request that they close the facade by 10 p.m.

And.... exhale.
— Reporting by Bailly Roesch
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