Liquorland: Nublu Move OK’d, Beatrice Inn Vets Victorious; Westville’s Lines Draw Ire

NubluSuzanne Rozdeba Nublu’s current home.

A little over a year after it was shut down because it was too close to a Jehovah’s Witness Kingdom Hall, Nublu has been redeemed. At last night’s meeting of Community Board 3’s liquor licensing committee, the club managed to win support for a proposed move up the street. Another high-profile applicant with ties to the legendary Beatrice Inn also went home happy, but Westville East, L’Asso EV and others failed to emerge unscathed.

Ilhan Ersahin, the owner of Nublu, plans to move the club a handful of blocks, from 62 Avenue C to 151 Avenue C, near 10th Street. Mr. Ersahin repeatedly referred to the new space — currently an unused car garage — as a “box within a box,” due to its structure as well as how it will presumably stop the sound of live music from emanating into the surrounding neighborhood.

Though neighbors spoke out against a license at Nublu’s current address just two months ago, the testimony was mostly positive this time; the committee voted to support a full liquor license by a relatively slim margin of two. Board member Ariel Palitz once again spoke in favor of the club, calling it an “exceptionally popular venue” and a “bastion of success” that is one of a dying breed.

Once the garage space is renovated and opened, the new license will be good until 2 a.m. Sundays through Tuesdays and until 4 a.m. Wednesdays through Saturdays, assuming it’s approved by the State Liquor Authority.

Yesterday’s most controversial case involved a sidewalk cafe rather than a liquor license. Neighbors complained of lengthy lines and loitering deliverymen at popular brunch destination Westville East, on the corner of Avenue A and East 11th Street, and said that barriers separating the cafe from the rest of the sidewalk were too tall. Some said Westville and its sidewalk monopoly “completely blocks the corner” (others shouted it).

Westville EastTrevor Leb

Amidst this onslaught, the owners and management team of Westville said that there is rarely a line outside. This resulted in a resounding “no” from community members in attendance.

As one woman continually shouted that “they don’t have the space” for more than two tables outside the restaurant, the board threatened to push the vote back until a later point in the evening when the crowd was less disruptive. Eventually the matter was settled with an agreement to remove the deliverymen from the sidewalk during their breaks, put a limit of six tables and sixteen chairs on the outdoor cafe, and prohibit people from waiting in line on Avenue A. The motion passed unanimously.

The Local can also report that a new spot proposed for 269 East Houston Street is a project by Franco Vlasek, a former bartender at the legendary Beatrice Inn who is a DJ and partner at West Village club Westway, and Matt Abramcyk, owner of SuperLinda, Warren 77 and Smith & Mills in TriBeCa. The duo hopes to add a basement lounge to the current Local 269 space, but otherwise details are slim: after winning the committee’s support for the project, Mr. Vlasek, who goes by the name Franco V, declined to speak with The Local about it.

Meanwhile, Nicole Ponseca won support for a full liquor license at Jeepney. Despite concerns about live music hosted during a Hurricane Sandy fundraiser, Ms. Ponseca won over board members with her life story of going from being a hostess at places like Colors, to managing various smaller venues around the city, to finally fullfilling her lifelong dream of running Filipino restaurants.

L’asso EV, the First Avenue pizzeria, withdrew its application after it came under fire for failing to fulfill promises it had previously made to the board to close the front facade and back door, stop live music, and end special events. “You don’t follow the rules,” board member Harvey Epstein told the owners, arguing that the application should be recommended for denial until they returned with a clean record.

The team behind Tres Carnes had hoped to serve margaritas at the Mexican takeout joint with walk-up counter bound for 90 Third Avenue (it was described as a cross between Dos Toros and Hill Country), but since owner Sasha Shor hasn’t run a restaurant in the city before, board members voiced concern about supporting a full liquor license. They offered to recommend the establishment for a beer and wine license instead, but Ms. Shor and the restaurant’s designer, Cortney Walleston, declined the offer, vying to withdraw their application and return with their management team next time.

IMG_0002Joann Pan The bar at Entrez.

The owners of Acme, who had filed a liquor license questionnaire indicating they were seeking to take over the old Lucky Cheng’s space on First Avenue, failed to make an appearance, leading the committee to recommend denial of their liquor license application. According to the questionnaire, the venue was to be a three-story restaurant-lounge serving Asian cuisine.

Finally, Entrez, Aiden Zekirovski’s restaurant on Second Avenue, not only went home empty handed, but also with what could be severe legal trouble. The committee confronted Mr. Zekirovski, who was applying for his first liquor license, with photos showing advertisements for beer and shots in front of the restaurant. While the advertisements shouldn’t come as a shock to anyone who has seen the fully stocked liquor cabinet in Entrez (much less it’s awning which includes the word “beer”) the fact that they were operating without a license didn’t sit well with board members.

Upon seeing the photos Mr. Zekirovski replied, “This is the first time I’ve heard of this,” proposing that since he takes off Sundays maybe the pictures were taken then. When he asked board member Carlina Rivera what his next step should be, she suggested consulting a lawyer.