Mark Connell of Botanica Planning Upscale Spot for Nolita House

Posted on: August 9th, 2012 at 6:45 am by
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Nolita House remains mostly dark in the wake of closure at the end of May. Its flag was quickly deposed, but the awning is surprisingly intact. After eight years, no more happy hours or Bluegrass Brunches.

Despite the apparent somber setting, though, there is some movement up top. Walk by 47 East Houston on any given day, and the door is propped open, a computer printout still delivering the closure news. What’s happening here now, you ask? Look no further than the sub-level space that is Botanica Bar.

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Mark Connell, proprietor of the dark drinking den, appeared before Community Board 2 last month in an effort to secure liquor privileges for this space. The concept would be a stark departure from the more grungy aesthetic at Botanica. Upscale, they call it. He wants to provide a more “refined” experience than down below, offering small plates, wine, and cocktails. Two polar-opposite concepts operating side-by-side.

Pump the brakes, though. The full board fears that the new establishment would “creep” into the lower level and that both would end up being run in “an analogous manner.” Moreover, there is concern that the menu is too light and “not reflective of a filing for a restaurant” as defined by the State Liquor Authority.

CB2 ultimately recommended a unanimous denial.

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