C.B. 3 Blesses Booze at Keybar’s Hungarian Spot and Other Liquor Bids

Keybar SLAJessica Bell

B.A.D. Burger wasn’t the only restaurant that went before members of Community Board 3 last night: at the meeting of the S.L.A. and D.C.A. Licensing committee, Gyula Bertok, 42, and Attila Draviczki, 43, received support for their bid for liquor at a new address. The partners plan to take over the former home of Angels & Kings on East 11th Street and serve sausages and other Hungarian fare.

The Local reported in December that neighbors opposed Keybar’s previous plan to relocate to 14 Avenue B. “We were here a month ago and the community opposition was huge,” Mr. Bertok admitted. “We understand the concern, but we are part of the community as well. We think we can change this for the better, and they supported us finally.”

Neighbors spoke out against the proposed 11th Street location as well, issuing the usual pleas that the area was already too congested with nightlife; but at least one neighbor welcomed the idea of Hungarian cuisine.

forrentKathy Grayson 125-127 First Avenue.

Mr. Bertok said, “We want to introduce Hungarian food to Manhattan again.”

Also during the meeting, several nearby business owners and residents came out to support Nick Morgenstern’s efforts to bring hard alcohol to his East Fifth Street eatery, Goat Town.  A neighbor, Walter Paul, was the lone critic. He said the restaurant overheated his apartment, and that kitchen odors wafted in. He also bemoaned the workers taking smoke breaks in the backyard by the eatery’s garden.

“I hear conversations about things beyond herbs that are going to be planted back there,” said Mr. Paul.

In 2009, the business that previously occupied Goat Town’s address, Butcher Bay, sued the board for recommending that the S.L.A. deny its request for a license upgrade. The outcome was happier here, as the committee voted to recommend approval of Goat Town’s upgrade.

BareBurger, which recently opened in the former Sin Sin space on the corner of East Fifth Street and Second Avenue, received support for its beer and wine license application.

Another burger joint, Five Napkin Burger, will open at 14th Street and Third Avenue in “a couple of weeks,” according to Robert Guarino, one of the owners. The committee voted to support an outdoor cafe setup that would seat 25 people.

Meatpacking District restaurateurs Mark Birnbaum and Eugene Remm got the go-ahead for a liquor license at their unnamed bakery-restaurant at 199 Bowery. To alleviate concerns about crowding in front of the business, the pair said customers would pass through the bakery to reach the restaurant, meaning most queuing would be indoors. The restaurant will serve Asian fusion cuisine, with the help of “Top Chef” winner Hung Huynh.

Mr. Remm assured the committee that his new business would not be another velvet-rope hotspot. “This is an opportunity for us to be creative,” he said. “Late night craziness is being replaced by late night dining. Sharing plates and listening to music is an alternative to the late night mega-club.”

Ray LeMoine, Michael Herman and Jamie Manza got the committee’s support for a full liquor license at 125-127 First Avenue. The Local wrote about their restaurant with raw bar concept on Jan. 3.

Cafe Khufu on Third Street was denied a third time for a beer and wine license. That didn’t sit well with the owner, Paul Said. “They’re saying we’re being denied because we’re on a residential location,” he said. “They’re just trying to demonize a local business. They only help you if you have money. We’ve been there for five years, with no complaints. We grew up here. We’re really a local place.”

On Twitter this morning, Northern Spy Food Co. wrote, “CB3’s logic continues to mystify.”

As usual, the committee’s recommendations go on to the full board and are then considered by the State Liquor Authority, which has the last call.

Additional reporting by Stephen Rex Brown