Shady Le Baron Replacement in Chinatown Tries Again for Liquor License
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Chinatown longtimers aren’t taking too kindly to the influx of newcomer nightlife. Whether it’s the cool kids at Mr. Fong’s, the incoming Winnie’s replacement on Bayard Street, or faux area aesthetic of Chinese Tuxedo, none are seemingly welcome.
A unified front is established, spearheaded by neighborhood activist Karlin Chan. His latest conquest is 32 Mulberry Street, situated on a block that few Chinese businesses tend to touch due to an alleged superstition involving three funeral parlors in the vicinity.
This is where Le Baron aurally assaulted locals for years until its closure last summer. As previously reported, its former co-owner, architect Ron Castellano, is vying for a return to impart an endeavor that seems primed for a bait-and-switch (corporate entity is MJK Foods LLC). Seriously, a Japanese concept centered on “small plates” with a large “standing area” in the cellar bar area (i.e. dance floor) raises the requisite red flags.
Chan rallied the troops to the SLA subcommittee meeting last month with the purpose of fighting MJK. And it worked. Ron Castellano and his partners – one of whom is allegedly Happy Ending co-owner Max Levai – withdrew literally at the eleventh hour.
(It’s also worth noting that Castellano co-owned Santos Party House, which closed last month after the controversial booking of the neo-Nazi “Oi Fest.”)
Chan led the charge at the May CB3 meeting, armed with 140 signatures of opposition and photos of life under the thumb of Le Baron. He also measured the distance from the address to the True Light Lutheran Church on corner of Mulberry and Worth Streets; it’s allegedly under 200 feet which triggers greater SLA scrutiny. On defense, Castellano noted that it’s a previously licensed location. CB3 reportedly agreed that the state needed to weigh in with new measurements.
Rather than levy a full denial, the board let the applicants withdraw and return this month (tonight). That decision was met with anger. “I wanted a straight denial to test that new CB3 much touted decree that we will deny every application falling in 500′ rule that doesn’t prove benefit to community but [CB3 Chair] Gigi Li left door open for them by suggesting they withdraw and tweak their application until it passes.”
Either way, we’ll have an answer at tonight’s meeting.