Neighbors fill up on wine in Williamsburg bar fight

Community Newspaper Group
Share on TwitterTweet
Share on Facebook

Get our stories in your inbox, free.

Like The Brooklyn Paper on Facebook.

A Community Board 1 committee voted on Tuesday night to deny a liquor license for a Metropolitan Avenue wine bar as neighbors complained that booze-soaked, party-loving, “frat boy”–filled Williamsburg just can’t handle one more drinking establishment.

“It’s nothing personal to the people running this business, but the neighborhood is nearly saturated with bars,” Dennis Thompkins, a Williamsburg resident, told CB1’s public safety committee, which was considering a liquor license request by Custom American Wine Bar. “The area is becoming unlivable. What we need are businesses that serve our community, not a transient community.”

But the owners of the wine bar, which is at the corner of Driggs Avenue, said they have 17 years of experience in the food and beverage industry, and said their restaurant would be upscale and feature locally sourced food and alcohol.

Dan Lathroum and Stefan Mailvaganam also said they’d stay open as late as 2 am on some nights.

That anything-but-startling revelation led to an audible gasp among two dozen residents who stuffed the cramped community board office — prompting committee chair Mieszko Kalita to remind uninformed residents that licensed bars can stay open until 4 am under state law.

Not that Lathroum and Mailvaganam want to run such a late-night haunt, they said.

The crowd won’t be “drunken frat boys” who have been disrupting the neighborhood, Lathroum said. “Drunken frat boys don’t come to drink an $11 glass of wine, grab an indigenous bite to eat, and listen to jazz.”

But neighbors didn’t want to hear it, demanding at first that the bar close at 9 pm, though later saying that 10 pm would be acceptable.

“We are trying to prevent gang activity in the neighborho­od,” said Luis Santiago, who said he was representing tenants from 232 Metropolitan Ave. “Opening this restaurant with beer and liquor, with teenagers already going crazy here, it’s going to be an even bigger issue. I don’t think it’s a good idea for there to be tables and a cafe out on the sidewalk.”

Though seasoned in the restaurant world, Lathroum was still overwhelmed by Tuesday night’s dust-up.

“We expected opposition but I didn’t expect to be vilified,” said Lathroum.

The application will go before the full board on Sept. 9. The full board’s vote is only advisory. The State Liquor Authority routinely overrules community boards.

Today’s news:
Share on TwitterTweet
Share on Facebook

Get our stories in your inbox, free.

Like The Brooklyn Paper on Facebook.

Reader Feedback

jm from burg says:
As a local myself, I for one can say they is no scarier sight than teen gang memnbers jacked up on pinot noir and bruschetta.
Aug. 6, 2009, 1:34 pm
mike from Willaimsburg says:
It's true that this Wine bar will push out the drunken frat boys by bring in a more adult enviroment. This is a good change, now we just need a bank.
Aug. 6, 2009, 2:09 pm
Ed from WBurg says:
Thyey fear GANG ACTIVITY due to a WINE BAR?
Give me a break!
Aug. 6, 2009, 11:43 pm
Meghan from Williamsburg says:
Umm what? How is a wine bar going to add to gang activity? And what does that have to do with teenagers? Is Mr Santiago aware that teenagers are not lawfully allowed to drink? This wine bar sounds like a nice addition to the neighborhood.
Aug. 7, 2009, 11:05 am
jcanusee from bushwick says:
You never mention that this bar is going into a block with some of the remaining rent stabilized affordable housing in the neighborhood. Your tone ridicules residents who sijmply want quiet enjoyment of their homes. How terrible! - These people (lower income - horrors!) don't want a bar with $11 bottles of wine or any establishment that will prevent that quiet enjoyment. Your article is both arrogant and irresponsible. Your bias shows.
Aug. 19, 2009, 11:07 am
surfgirl from rockaway beach says:
You fail to mention in article that this proposed bar is in a rent stabilized building across from four more such buildings that comprise some of Williamsburgs dwindling affordable housing. These people are awakened at 5am by trucks on Metropolitan Avenue so a bar with late hours no matter how yuppified and genteel will be seriously disturbing. Playing up the gang fears in the article makes fun of honest people coping with real life problems in favor of those who have the leisure and the means to be sipping expensive glasses of wine. I guess you side with the new vision of Williamsburg and New York - but remember, you had to move to Bushwick yourself. And you wonder why the Eater/Curbed real estate flunkies took their customary smarmy tone - gangs vs pinot noir?? Get real. We're all losing in this kind of atmosphere. Who's quiet enjoyment is next?
Aug. 19, 2009, 11:33 am
kylah from sunrise apartments 306 says:
hi im kylah and i whant to know if you have eny house that are big please send pictures of houses thanks.
Aug. 21, 2009, 7:04 pm

Enter your comment below

By submitting this comment, you agree to the following terms:

You agree that you, and not or its affiliates, are fully responsible for the content that you post. You agree not to post any abusive, obscene, vulgar, slanderous, hateful, threatening or sexually-oriented material or any material that may violate applicable law; doing so may lead to the removal of your post and to your being permanently banned from posting to the site. You grant to the royalty-free, irrevocable, perpetual and fully sublicensable license to use, reproduce, modify, adapt, publish, translate, create derivative works from, distribute, perform and display such content in whole or in part world-wide and to incorporate it in other works in any form, media or technology now known or later developed.

First name
Last name
Your neighborhood
Email address
Daytime phone

Your letter must be signed and include all of the information requested above. (Only your name and neighborhood are published with the letter.) Letters should be as brief as possible; while they may discuss any topic of interest to our readers, priority will be given to letters that relate to stories covered by The Brooklyn Paper.

Letters will be edited at the sole discretion of the editor, may be published in whole or part in any media, and upon publication become the property of The Brooklyn Paper. The earlier in the week you send your letter, the better.