Seminal East Village tequila bar Mayahuel may be closing next month, but the landlord of the building Keith Siilats says he plans to open a new, similar bar in the same space. He is taking over many of the components of the bar at 304 East 6th Street.
Mayahuel owner Ravi DeRossi previously said that the bar closed because he couldn’t come to a lease agreement with the landlord, but the story behind the closure is more complicated than that.
Siilats says DeRossi and co. hadn’t been paying rent for a while — a fix that he says was solved after he bought the business from the prolific East Village restaurateur and bar owner. DeRossi acknowledges that they hadn’t been paying Siilats directly, but only because they had sued him years ago for illegal construction that was impacting business, such as flooding the space when it rained. Their attorney had recommended that they keep the cash in escrow, according to DeRossi.
“After years of fighting with Keith in court it came time to renew our lease, as we could not come to an agreement with him we all just decided to go our own ways,” DeRossi writes.
Indeed, public records show that a judge ruled in favor of DeRossi and Mayahuel in 2014 for more than $60,000. The Department of Buildings records also show that the property has eight open violations dated from 2009 to 2014, including for working without a permit. A stop work order exists on the building.
Siilats did not mention the construction issues. The landlord says he always loved the idea behind Mayahuel and is already applying to transfer the liquor license in his name. “The business has been amazing,” he says. “I want to continue in the same spirit.”