The party was over even before it started.
A popular bar on Williamsburg’s fast-emerging “Restaurant Row” quietly abandoned plans to expand its backyard garden after nearby residents complained about too much late-night noise.
Dave Rosen and Matt Relkin, owners of the seven-month-old S. Fourth Street bar, The Woods, wanted to add seven stools in an adjacent backyard and have the area serve as a meeting place for community groups and the pick-up spot for a neighborhood community-supported agriculture group to grab its vegetables this summer.
“The new back bar space can serve as a community meeting place for groups. The space will be closed for normal service during most weekdays and night, so it can be easily detected as a private meeting space or operated as a cash bar for fundraisers,” said Rosen in an e-mail sent to supporters.
Unfortunately, the expansion plan angered the bar’s neighbors, who swarmed to a Community Board 1 Public Safety Committee meeting last week to complain about noise from the bar’s existing activities.
The outcry prompted Rosen and Relkin to scrap the plans — much to the disappointment of some community leaders, such as Ryan Kuonen of Neighbors Allied for Good Growth, who said that the bar has hosted a fundraiser and meetings for her group in an area that has few community facilities.
As such, she thinks Rosen has been unfairly bullied by residents on the block and the community board.
“I’ve never had a problem with this bar,” said Kuonen, who lives three blocks away. “Since The Woods opened, South Third and South Fourth streets have been safe.”
Allison Davis, another South side resident, says the owner has done a lot for the neighborhood and wonders where the pickup for the Southside CSA will be.
“They’re following the same rules as everyone else, I don’t see why they can’t expand,” said Davis.
For his part, Rosen only added, “We support the neighborhood and we’re committed to being good neighbors.”
It’s not the first time that a South Side bar has been on the receiving end of neighborhood anger. Two weeks ago, Trophy Bar caught the ire of locals for holding a backyard party without installing a secondary exit.
Public Safety Committee Chairman Mieszko Kalita said that if bar owners want to renew their liquor license, they must agree to close their backyards at 11 pm on weeknights and 1 am on weekends, but most have demurred.
©2010 Community News Group
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