CB3 Committee Recommends That Heathers Bar Go Dry

heathersNick DeSantis

Before André Balazs and his Cooper Square Hotel associates breezed through Community Board 3’s SLA Licensing Committee meeting last night, the committee members heard vocal complaints from neighbors about Heathers Bar on East 13th Street. Members of the East 13th Street Residents’ Association accused Heathers of repeatedly violating numerous stipulations of its Sept. 2009 liquor license renewal.

After a long debate, the committee voted to recommend a denial of the bar’s application to renew its license.

“A lot of people are sick of having to spend so much time being policemen,” said Dolores Schaefer, one of the bar’s neighbors who waved beige signs reading “No renewal for Heathers Bar.” Among other things, neighbors were upset about two Sundays when illegal unlimited drink specials were allegedly offered.

Owner Heather Millstone defended her establishment, arguing that her doormen had been “working their butts off” to comply with the stipulations of the bar’s liquor license, which include closing the doors when music is playing and keeping patrons from congregating on the sidewalk.

“I have the most unobtrusive bar on a block of bars,” pleaded Ms. Millstone, claiming that she had taken extra steps to ensure that customers stayed under control. She said the alleged unlimited drink specials were promoted by someone who was not a member of the bar’s staff.

saveheathersNick DeSantis Posted on the door Tuesday evening.

Her statements were met with eye rolls from some. Members of the residents’ association told stories of drunken bar-hoppers urinating on private property, as well as unreasonable late-night noise. The two sides sparred until the committee motioned to deny the bar’s license unless Ms. Millstone held monthly meetings with her neighbors to hear their concerns.

The proposed motion didn’t satisfy the bar’s critics, who said they had already done enough to negotiate stipulations with Ms. Millstone. The first motion to set up monthly community meetings failed, and a second motion to outright deny the bar’s renewal application succeeded.

After the meeting, Ms. Millstone and her attorney declined to comment on the licensing committee’s vote.

Beth Ellor, one of the bar’s disgruntled neighbors, said after the meeting that the community should not have to chase down the owners of problematic establishments in order to air their grievances.

“It’s like raising babies – you know, you have to correct the babies all the time. Well, that’s okay if you’re the mom, but we’re not the mom.”

The licensing committee’s vote will be considered by the full community board during a meeting on September 27, after which the State Liquor Authority will have the ultimate say.