CB3 Approves ‘Sports Themed’ Replacement for Sutra on 1st Avenue

Posted on: July 16th, 2014 at 5:33 am by
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Sutra is finished.

The asset transfer application was certainly a unique scenario in the canon of Community Board 3. Member Ariel Palitz found herself on the other side of the table at last night’s SLA subcommittee meeting. Not in the power position, and visibly on the defensive. Especially when the issue of 659 311 complaints was rehashed (apparently the most for any bar in the city).

Palitz admitted that she’d been seeking a replacement operator ever since she put Sutra on the market nearly three years ago. The co-owners of Mercury Bar and Tonic East since took the bait and fought for full liquor and 4am closing times. On paper the concept appears to be a sports bar – 12 TVs for a “sports-themed” bar-restaurant. But there was plenty of backtracking and explanations to the contrary. It’s a restaurant with full menu, they argued.

To their credit, applicants Keith McKeon and Kevin Caulfield plan to reduce the overall footprint of drinking real estate. Libations are only available on the main floor. The basement will be converted for kitchen and storage; no patron use. Expect a similar method of operation as their other establishments but on a smaller scale.

A slew of supporters (including Lucky Cheng’s owner’s daughter) echoed what a great asset Sutra was to the block, yet only a few could testify on behalf of the incoming crew. Building residents did say that the outreach was done.

The biggest sticking point was closing time. This address has reportedly been a 4am license for forty years, and Palitz argued that it should remain as such. Some on the board didn’t care, and thought it should be treated as a new application with curtailed hours. After all, McKeon and Caulfield have no history in the area and need to show some “good faith.” That didn’t go over so well. Back-and-forth continued for over an hour before an agreement was reached.

In the end, CB3 approved the transfer with a compromise of 2am closing Sunday through Tuesdsay, and 4am for the remainder.

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