A violence-scarred 64th Street karaoke bar accused of allowing underage drinking and drug use on its premises has paid off $37,000 in state fines and is expected to get its alcohol permit renewed, a State Liquor Authority spokesman confirmed this week.
The state agency threatened to take away Crown KTV’s much-needed booze permit on March 27, but instead decided to hit the club with a stern, but costly, warning: a whopping five-figure fine. Club owners were also told that if they receive any more violations, the club would loose its liquor license, which is imperative in a business where one’s ability to sing in public is directly proportional to how juiced their voice boxes — and brains — have become.
State Liquor Authority spokesman Mike Smith said the club paid its debts on April 14. The state is now reviewing Crown KTV’s application for a liquor license renewal, but will most likely approve it, agency spokesman Bill Crowley added. The state almost never refuses to extend an existing permit, Crowley explained.
“If we find a place to be in violation, we bring charges against them and take disciplinary action,” Crowley said. “We did that, We had a hearing and the board decided to fine Crown KTV and put them on probation. The licensing bureau will be reviewing their license, but that’s really just an administrative matter. They usually choose to renew, as long as [the club] gets its application in on time.”
News of the state’s decision didn’t sit well with George Fontas, Community Board 10’s Police and Public Safety Committee chairman.
“The bottom line is that Crown KTV is consistently in violation,” Fontas said. “In no way has its owners sought to address our concerns and the club’s license should not be renewed.”
CB10 recommended that the State Liquor Authority revoke the karaoke bar’s hooch-selling privileges last month.
Crowley said the state took the community panel’s suggestion into account at the hearing, but said it probably wouldn’t influence the renewal process.
Five people were stabbed outside the club between Eighth and Ninth avenues last August after a fight inside spilled out onto the street. The bar has also come under fire for allowing teenage drinking and drug use.
But Crown KTV manager Eric Zheng defended the bar in an interview last summer, claiming that drugs — especially cocaine — aren’t popular with his clientele, which is almost exclusively Chinese.
Still, Zheng confessed that the club’s security could have done more to prevent the stabbing.