‘Sensei’ Art Bar Moves to Street Level on Eldridge and Seeks Full Liquor License

Posted on: May 9th, 2017 at 5:04 am by

Neighbors weary of a so-called “Hell Square South” at the nexus of Eldridge and Broome Streets are in for another potential scare. We’re already fielding concerns from those fearing another bait-and-switch at 135-137 Eldridge Street where an “art bar” is taking hold.

One Joseph Latimore is moving his second-floor art bar, Sensei, from 278 Grand Street to this ground-level location. The hope here is for a full liquor license in a previously unlicensed location, on a block that’s quickly getting liquored up (and lacquered down). Sensei 2.0 is basically built out, too, ahead of an appearance before Community Board 3 for approval. Art is on the walls, and banquettes dot the floor.

According to application materials, Latimore’s Sensei will offer space for art exhbitions and sales, but with a stand-up bar in the rear. Light food is also available – a selection of paninis and chips. Hours of operation are noon to midnight during the week, and 2am on weekends.

These types of establishments don’t tend to have the best track records. Remember Gallery Bar, or how about Happy Ending just around the corner? Both positioned themselves as art bars, but were anything but. Let’s not also forget Whynot Coffee, which tried numerous times to break into this concept without success (it remains a popular cafe).

135 Eldridge St, Oct. 2014

Latimore is familiar with this type of concept, though. He managed Chelsea’s Passerby, and later opened Panda on Chrystie Street (closed in 2012).

Sensei will also be flanked by Lena Coffee, the West Village-based coffee shop, which also seeks to serve booze. Their beer-wine application sailed through last month.

As of this writing, there are sixteen on-premise licenses within 500 feet, according to the application, two of which are mere steps away (Attaboy, Doka Square).

The residents living upstairs can’t be pleased, though. They’ve been through a lot over the last couple years. You’ll recall that owner R.A. Cohen & Associates purchased the double-wide tenement building in October 2014 for $11 million. Shortly thereafter, problems for residents reportedly began. Same tired tactics – get rid of the rent-regulated tenants by any means necessary. Tenants sued last September.

Recent Stories

DOT Reinstalls Chinatown Bilingual Street Signs

The Department of Transportation yesterday began replacing bilingual street signs around Chinatown that had been removed for reasons such as damage or construction projects. Crews showed up early on Mott Street to install a missing sign at the corner of Mosco, then proceeded to other spots in the neighborhood. The bilingual street signs first appeared […]

After 120 Years, Future of Parisi Bakery Looks Uncertain on Mott Street

Parisi Bakery, an institution in Little Italy dating back to the turn of the last century, appears to be on shaky ground. The landlord (May Leun Realty) last week taped an official Notice of Termination to the shuttered roll-down gate at 198 Mott Street. Seemingly signaling the end an era. The letter noted a cancelation […]

The Push to Save New York Eye and Ear Infirmary Building, as LPC Stalls

With plans to close the 165-year-old New York Eye and Ear Infirmary building on Second Avenue, demolition is likely the next step. Preservation-minded groups have been lobbying the city to save the building from possible destruction. Led by Village Preservation, the organization sent a Request for Evaluation letter to the Landmarks Preservation Commission on April […]

Excavation Underway on Affordable Grand Street Guild Towers

Work is officially underway on two new towers adjacent to the Williamsburg Bridge. On-site excavation has been ongoing for several weeks at Broome and Clinton Streets, yielding plenty of dust and noise for neighbors. Earlier this year, demolition crews razed the two-story parking garage and Little Star early childhood center in the shadow of the […]

Mr. Fong’s Owner Plans All Day Cafe on Hester Street

Another day, another principal of Mr. Fong’s starting a new Lower East Side venture. Aisa Shelley – who co-founded the Chinatown hotspot with Lucas Moran, Noah Shelley, Daniel Eric Gold and Adam Moonves – is headed to 61 Hester Street. The long-inactive storefront previously occupied by L’estudio. There, Shelley will impart an “all day cafe” […]