Amnesia is leaving Bay Ridge residents with a sense of deja vu, critics claim

Ridge panel allows drinking at Amnesia — but no dancing
Photo by Brittany Somerset

Amnesia is living up to its name, say community leaders who claim that owners of the Bay Ridge Brazilian steakhouse accused of bringing pounding music, rowdy customers, and illegally parked cars to Fourth Avenue has forgotten the terms of the deal they hammered out earlier this year to get their liquor license renewed.

In March, Amnesia owner Frank Sofia told Community Board 10 that he was done with running the controversial club and wanted to convert the space into a classy Italian restaurant with quiet background music, a buffet, and customers dining on Amnesia’s once-illegal dance floor.

Fast forward five months and nothing has changed: fliers promoting Amnesia have appeared under car windshield wipers throughout Bay Ridge this week with pictures of a pink-infused interior, a disco ball twinkling from the ceiling, DJ turntables, and dancing revelers — everything Sofia said the space wouldn’t become.

The flier promised “special guest DJs spinning the best of house, hip-hop, Latin, and more,” and encouraged readers to text for updates.

This paper fired off a message, and received a reply advertising a deejay showdown, and the first of a series of what the club promoters call “Saturday Amnesia nights.”

A call to the restaurant confirmed that the eatery was hosting dance parties.

CB 10 approved his liquor application on the condition that he agreed not to run Amnesia as a nightclub.

Yet Sofia didn’t have to abide by the deal since CB10’s recommendation is only advisory. The state ultimately approved his liquor license request, but Amnesia still doesn’t have a cabaret license, meaning that if patron’s start dancing, they’re doing so illegally, according to a city Department of Consumer Affairs spokesman.

Members of board’s Police and Public Safety Committee plan to jog Sofia’s memory about his pledge by pushing to have Amnesia’s booze rights pulled.

“If the owner of this venue blatantly disregards the stipulations they agreed to, we as a committee will seek to revoke their liquor license,” Chairman George Fontas said.

Sofia and his attorney Warren Pesetsky did not respond to multiple calls for comment, but an Amnesia staffer insisted that the hotspot was cleaning up its act and vetting party planners.

“We’ve got whole new management and whole new staff,” said assistant Mike Mendoza. “We’re not going to have any outside promoters, because that’s where the trouble starts.”

Reach reporter Will Bredderman at (718) 260–4507 or e-mail him at [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/WillBredderman