169 Bar, the sprawling, popular East Broadway dive, is in danger of being shut down by the city for selling alcohol to minors. As DNAinfo reports, the city filed suit against the bar in New York Supreme Court a week ago, demanding that it pay up $1000 for each day that it allowed underage customers to buy alcohol. More than that, the city is also asking that the sheriff be allowed to shut down the bar for a year after the court's decision, and to seize and sell off "all material, equipment and instrumentality used in the creation and maintenance of the public nuisance." Does that include the leopard print pool table? The popcorn microwave? Everything? Unclear, but it certainly does not sound good.
According to the lawsuit, undercover police caught 169's bouncers letting minors into the bar even after checking their IDs. Then the bartenders inside didn't check IDs, and on two occasions last year served beer to minors working as undercover auxiliary officers. The lawsuit calls these sales a "public nuisance," and claims that "The owners knew or should have known of the alleged activity."
For his part, owner Charles Hanson says that the bar only came under scrutiny from the city a year ago, when a neighbor started filing many complaints. Under the police's increasingly watchful eye, "mistakes of inattention may have occurred," Hanson says, but the bar isn't intentionally serving minors on a regular basis. The NYPD says the bar hasn't received any violations previous to this, which would seem to back that up.
Meanwhile, 169 Bar remains open and safe until the case is settled. The next court date is this Thursday.