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Brooklyn bands together to help scorned ‘Rebar’ couples

The Brooklyn Paper
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The surprise closing of Rebar, a bar, restaurant, and event space on Front Street in Dumbo, has sparked former employees, scorned customers, and neighboring venues to band together to help save the dozens of weddings booked at the defunct party palace for the next two years.

Rebar employees came in to work on Friday expecting a normal day, but found a note on the door saying the joint was shuttered. A two line e–mail from Jason Stevens, Rebar’s owner, accompanied the note, but the message did not provide any further information about what is happening or why, nor did it make any mention of reimbursing the couples who have booked the space for weddings through 2016.

Borough businesses rallied to aid the spurned couples. At 1 Knickerbocker, a bar and restaurant in Williamsburg, one staffer recalled booking his own wedding not too long ago and said he shudders to think about how the stranded couples must be feeling.

“I remember going through all the different hassles and experiences of planning a wedding,” said co-owner Jesse Levitt. “I feel really terrible for these people.”

Levitt said his restaurant can host a party of 125 in a pinch, and most of the events it has booked right now are for the end of the summer and later. He is hoping to help fill some of the immediate void left behind by Rebar’s closing by offering a 25-percent discount for anyone trying to re-book their nuptials in a hurry.

“We happen to be in a position where we can help a little,” he said.

Supporters also started an online fund-raiser that hopes to raise $5,000 for each of the 18 couples with weddings booked over the next couple of months. They had raised $1,600 by Wednesday afternoon.

“It’s nice to see the positive aspects of humanity,” said Victoria Friedrich, a public school teacher who had a Feb. 2015 wedding booked at Rebar, and paid $20,000 for it up front. “But the financial loss is devastating.”

Rebar’s owner Jason Stevens owes the government millions of dollars in back taxes, the news website Gothamist reported, citing former employees of the venue as sources. It is also unclear if Stevens has actually filed for bankruptcy, as suggested by the signs he posted on Rebar’s windows Friday morning.

If Stevens really did file, it could limit the legal recourses available to the now not-so-happy couples. Calls to Stevens and Rebar were not returned, but the district attorney’s office said it was aware of the situation and is looking into any impropriety.

Reach reporter Matthew Perlman at (718) 260-8310. E-mail him at mperlman@cnglocal.com. Follow him on Twitter @matthewjperlman.
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Reasonable discourse

fort greene resident from fort greene says:
"...and shutters to think..."

or: "shudders?"
May 13, 2014, 9:12 am
Alexis Lenhart from Downtown Brooklyn says:
Hill Country in Downtown BK would love to help anyone impacted. Please contact us if you are still looking for a space. Email Sarina - slaw@hillcountrybk.com.
May 13, 2014, 10:25 am
Jim from Cobble Hill says:
It's tough to run a business in the city, especially if you're an idiot hipster transplant like the owner and all the employees (seriously if even one single one of then was Brooklyn born and raised I will be shocked). As someone who is Brooklyn born and raised, I will say that yes, it sucks to lose some thousands of dollars on a wedding reception you planned on (where did they get that money? Finance majors at an Investment Bank? Or from Mommy and Daddy? ...I'm damn sure it wasn't truly earned with hard work ...at best it just dripped down from an office environment, or real estate, definitely not true Brooklyn). So to be honest, us real Brooklynites, the ones who were born here and raised here, don't really give a crap about some beardo hipster vanity project that all of a sudden couldn't make it. I fuccking hate that "diehipster" character from the south just as much as anyone, that mofo belongs in Staten Island with "Carmine" but on this subject I am going to side with my native Brooklynites and say Good Riddance! I even own a few brownstones in Cobble Hill, and I have no problems gouging the —— out of you transplants... I've never encountered another Native Brooklynite but if I did, believe me, I'd give them free rent for a year.
May 14, 2014, 12:23 am
Roxy from Bayside says:
Believe it or not Jim, many NYC parents have raised successful and financially independent children. My father is a true "Brooklynite" and would never behave like you. He taught me the importance of working, saving and being independent. Your comments are cold and you're obvious an angry and bitter man. As one of the reBrides, I can attest that we are ALL hardworking individuals. My fiancé and I have saved all of our money to finance our wedding. I work for the city, and work two jobs in order to survive in NYC. We are both born and raised here. Get your facts straight before you start placing judgement on strangers who have been victimized.
May 14, 2014, 9:27 am
Jim from Cobble Hill says:
Hey Roxy! This is the unmoderated comments section of the internets. It is where people put their searing WHARRGARBL and you're just supposed to like it or lump it. Don't go injecting logic and reasoning into this, you'll ruin all the troll-tastic stuff for everyone else!

But losing a reception because some place just up and closes does indeed suck. Maybe the Brooklyn Historical society has some openings, because I know they can host event s thedre. It's a nice building and still in the general area (though not exactly the same spot). If it's a nice day you could have guests show up a bit early and they could walk the promenade. You could put little maps on the back of the programs so that they can follow nice walking routes or just go down to Jaques Toresses'sess'es for some chocolate or something.
May 14, 2014, 9:57 am
Jay from Bay Ridge says:
Jim, why so much hate? I personally know at least 2 employees that are NYC born and raised. Don't you realize this is NYC where people move to for a better future? Where should they work? Where should they live?
May 15, 2014, 2:44 pm
Chris from Mill Basin says:
Jim. You're a —— and a half.
That's all.
May 20, 2014, 2:11 pm

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