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What Is Happening Between NY State and Acclaimed Wine Bar Claud? [Updated]

Claud announced it would turn into a bakery after a permit liquor license was declined — within 24 hours the State Liquor Authority changed its mind.

A marble countertop is loaded with chicken, beans, shrimp in a cast iron skillet, and other dishes in smaller portions.
Claud, known for its wine bar, has had its liquor license application disapproved.

What a whirlwind: Claud, which announced yesterday it was going to pivot to a bakery, will remain a wine bar after all.

The East Village restaurant, by Momofuku vets, which was operating with a temporary liquor license since its opening in 2022 — which it applied for a monthly basis — claimed that its liquor license application was declined by the State Liquor Authority. The temporary liquor license was otherwise set to expire on August 10, says co-owner Chase Sinzer.

The SLA apparently changed its mind. Today, Claud posted, “We’ve received one hell of an anniversary gift. Our temporary permit has been reinstated,” adding that it would return to regular service on Sunday of this weekend. The permanent application is still pending, according to the team.

Yesterday, Sinzer said in a statement to Eater, “We couldn’t be more keen to work with the SLA to get this matter resolved as quickly as possible, so we can continue to be able to employ our staff and serve our guests.”

After learning about the SLA decision not to renew the temporary license on Friday, Claud’s lawyer filed for reconsideration, says Sinzer. He was not expecting the liquor license to be reinstated so quickly; the agency told the restaurant that it could take a few months for reconsideration, which he why he chose to announce the bakery news.

An outpouring of community support may have played a role in the SLA’s change of heart, Sinzer says.

In a statement to Eater on Tuesday, the State Liquor Authority said that its administration was “aware of the matter and the subsequent disapproval letter. As with any application, the SLA is open to consideration of any new facts that may be presented.” Claud declined to share why the application had been initially rejected. Community Board 3 told Eater that it was unaware of the rejection.

Operating with a temporary liquor license is a common move in the restaurant industry, especially in a city like New York, where getting liquor licenses approved by the SLA can sometimes take upwards of a year. In fact, in 2021, a law was approved by the city to help expedite the process, granting temporary permits.

It’s unusual for a restaurant known for, ahem, wine — opened by Momofuku Ko vets, Sinzer, a sommelier, and chef Joshua Pinsky — to have to stop serving the very drink that’s been spearheading accolades for the restaurant. In addition, the wine bar has had to apply for a temporary liquor license monthly for the past year, while having to communicate the SLA switch-up to their nearly 22K followers on Instagram and their customers. The reason Claud’s temporary license wasn’t initially extended remains unclear.

In its first year, Claud has been celebrated for its sizzling shrimp as well as its chocolate cake, among other staple dishes. That year, Eater named it “best wine bar” in the Eater Awards. In 2022, Pete Wells at the New York Times gave the restaurant three stars.

Upon reopening, Claud will remain exactly as it was, according to the team.

Update: July 31, 2023, 5:40 p.m.: This article was updated to include information from the Claud team that the restaurant is no longer turning into a bakery and will reopen this weekend, as well as a statement from the State Liquor Authority.