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Spanky & Darla’s Closed For Operating Without a Permit


A tipster spotted this sign affixed to Spanky & Darla’s. The health department notice, dated Oct. 3, indicates the bar was closed for operating without a permit.

It’s not the first time the dive at 140 First Avenue has been forcibly shut down. In 2010, the bar’s predecessor, Cheap Shots, was closed after underage drinking busts and fighting caused it to be declared a “public nuisance,” a police department attorney told NYC the Blog.

During its time as Cheap Shots, the bar had to pay a total of $11,000 for offenses that included sales to minors, unlicensed security guards, and unlimited drinks specials, according to State Liquor Authority records.

The Liquor Authority’s Website indicates that a liquor license for the establishment was recently renewed, and activated on Oct. 1, 2012. The premises name and trade name are listed as Cheapshots rather than Spanky & Darla’s.

In May, Big Apple Reviews called the bar “a great place to go for a low-key night to just get some drinks, or get plastered before painting the town red.”

Lower East Side Nightlife Crackdown Leads to Spike in Underage Drinking Busts

super subway angstRachel Citron The 7th Precinct has been targeting bar owners for serving drinks to minors.

The police crackdown on bars in the Lower East Side resulted in a dramatic increase in charges of underage drinking against business owners, data provided by the State Liquor Authority shows.

During a three-month stretch of intense enforcement early this year, the S.L.A., which acts on recommendations from the police, handed down 39 charges of underage drinking in the neighborhood, compared to 31 charges issued during all of 2009 and 2010.

UnderageBoozing009_080211Lauren Carol Smith View full graphic

Bar owners in the three zip codes that, taken together, include the East Village and Lower East Side faced 230 charges of serving minors from 2007 to 2011, resulting in $1,034,800 in fines. The data shows that large numbers of charges come during intense periods of enforcement, and bars in the Lower East Side in particular have faced an unprecedented and disproportionate amount of scrutiny this year.

Each offense results in fines of up to $10,000, and repeat offenders risk being shut down permanently. Some of the more high-profile watering holes caught in the dragnet include Mason Dixon (which eventually closed altogether) and Welcome to the Johnson’s.

The increase in enforcement came as the 7th Precinct resurrected its cabaret unit, which focuses on the Lower East Side’s booming nightlife scene, as well as the arrival of Capt. David Miller at the precinct last year. An officer with Community Affairs in the 7th Precinct would not comment on enforcement of sale of alcohol to minors.

In 2009, the East Village’s 9th Precinct disbanded its own cabaret unit, though at a recent community meeting Deputy Inspector Kenneth Lehr said underage drinking remained a priority.

Many bar owners say that they are being unfairly punished for an issue beyond their control.

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