Controversial Slope sports bar to open as farm-to-table eatery

Akiva Ofshtein is under fire for his plan to open a bar in the old Royal Video shop at Flatbush and Sixth avenues. Locals say he’s bringing in a sports bar to capitalize on the future home of the Nets nearby, but he says he just wants a nice tavern for the neighborhood. And he posed for this picture, so that tells you something.
Photo by Stefano Giovannini

A once-embattled Park Slope sports bar will open with a new name and a strikingly different business model in hopes of becoming a slam-dunk for community foodies — not arena crowds.

Woodland, a farm-to-table eatery with an outdoorsy motif, will start serving food on Feb. 1 in the storefront at Flatbush and Sixth avenues that was slated to become Prime 6, a music venue and watering hole that sparked neighborhood controversy without ever opening amid concerns it would draw rowdy basketball fans and a hip hop scene.

Owner Akiva Ofshtein said he has altered his business’ vision and will now open “a nice cozy restaurant” with a 46-seat patio that closes by midnight on weekends in an attempt to better mesh with the community.

The menu at Woodland includes “Napa Valley-style” new American dishes such as bison burgers and fresh fish — a far cry from the planned menu at Prime 6, which featured bottle service and bar food.

That pleases neighbors, who feared that the proposed sports bar would have operated as a night club, drawing scores of raucous fans from the Barclays Center across the street who would have kept them up late and clogged nearby streets.

“I’ll be among his first customers,” said neighbor Steve Ettinger, who bashed Prime 6 at a Community Board 6 meeting last year. “I’m grateful he changed his mind.”

The eatery’s pending debut comes after dozens of Park Slopers launched a heated protest against Prime 6, turning the fight over the proposed pub — one of the first businesses perceived to be targeting the 19,000 fans who might fill the arena when it opens this year — into a proxy battle in the war over the Atlantic Yards mega-project.

Ofshtein says he’s waiting for “one final document” before he can open next month — about eight months after he originally planned.

The delay was caused in part by the backlash from neighbors, with whom he has held meetings to try to allay concerns.

“The past is the past,” he said. “I think we’re beyond that.”

Reach reporter Natalie O'Neill at noneill@cnglocal.com or by calling her at (718) 260-4505.

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