Dancing denounced: Panel rejects Club Amnesia’s cabaret license

Community Board 10 members slammed owners of a Fourth Avenue events hall who applied for a license to allow dancing at their space, citing complaints of loud noise and the fact that the hall has been operating illegally for months.
Photo by Brittany Somerset

Club Amnesia can forget about dancing the night away, a Bay Ridge panel ruled last week.

Community Board 10 voted 33 to one to bar the controversial Fourth Avenue nightclub from getting a cabaret license — which would allow them to have dancing — but club owners said the board couldn’t stop one’s right to shake their groove thing.

“Every group needs and has a right to party,” Amnesia manager Charles Atiles told the board at their Feb. 27 meeting. The Board’s decision follows a unanimous committee resolution against the events hall on Feb. 15.

Amnesia opened between 100th and 101st streets as a steakhouse in 2009, but the owners converted it into a rentable space for private gatherings last summer.

But neighbors say Amnesia is primarily a nightclub where its patrons are frequently found vomiting and vandalizing the area. The supper club’s valets also block nearby driveways for parking, residents complain.

Maria Mirra, an attorney for Club Amnesia said many of the allegations against the club were “never substantiated.”

“Our clientele are working-class residents who hold local jobs, not thugs and hooligans,” Mirra said, adding that club owner Frank Sofia has invested in soundproofing, parking, and security.

Club Amnesia’s landlord Arthur Maresca also defended the spot, saying that he lives six blocks away and he’s “never observed any problems.”

Atiles said Club Amnesia has benefitted Bay Ridge by renting space to community groups for fundraisers, families celebrating First Communions, and by “offering people peaceful enjoyment of dance in their community.”

Police and public safety committee chairman George Fontas said no one spoke in favor of the license besides those connected the club at his committee meeting, and club operators admitted that they permitted dancing without a cabaret license.

CB10 may have shot down Club Amnesia’s cabaret license request, but the place can still serve alcohol. The city may also authorize a cabaret license down the line, since the board’s opinion is only advisory in nature.

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