‘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

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” […]

Truck Hits ‘OhK Dog’ Dining Shed on Ludlow Street

Ludlow Street neighbors began Saturday with the sound of a large crash. It was the sound of the OhK Dog dining shed collapsing to the ground. From what we gather, a truck driver headed southbound on Ludlow struck the popular restaurant’s outdoor annex. No one was hurt in the incident. This was apparently the second […]

New 21-Story Tower Begins Ascent on Market Street

A former Lower East Side parking lot is meeting its skyscraping destiny. Another tower. The through-block parcel on Henry Street, just west of Market, is already on its upward ascent. The new mixed-use development at 59 Henry will ultimately rise 21 stories (227 feet), with 57,395 square-feet of residential floor area and 40,305 square-feet for […]

‘Caribea’ Grill Readies Space Left Vacant by Domino’s on Allen Street

Ever since Domino’s ditched its decades-old Allen Street location three years ago, the commercial space has been a vacancy consistently peddled on the market. Now, a new concept is a-knockin. Caribea is as it sounds – a fast casual pan-Caribbean grill. The restaurant at 203 Allen will seat fourteen tables and a stand-up bar, for […]