Fourth avenue event space takes heat for restaurant plans

Fourth avenue event space takes heat for restaurant plans
Photo by Danielle Furfaro

A private party space accused by neighbors of bringing unreasonable noise, triple-parked cars, and unsavory characters to Fourth Avenue may open as a bar and restaurant — and critical locals are already giving the plan bad reviews.

Kitty Hernandez is trying to convert Garfield’s from a party venue into a proper pub and eatery with a full-time liquor license after five years of hosting first communions, birthday parties, and other events with temporary permits near the corner of Garfield Place.

“We’re hoping to have brunch and a piano bar. There will be stroller parking for the kids. I want to have movie nights and karaoke,” Hernandez said. “I’ve got a beautiful plan.”

But skeptical neighbors say the venue on the border of Gowanus and Park Slope shouldn’t get a rubber stamp from the State Liquor Authority — claiming that on the nights when it’s open it clogs streets with traffic, closes too late, and serves underage drinkers.

“A few nights ago, they had a party for teenagers, and they were drinking in the streets,” said Gerald Siciliano, who says he could come around to support the business so long as Hernandez takes neighbors’ concerns into consideration.

Community Board 6 district manager Craig Hammerman said he has heard a handful of complaint about noise and rowdiness at Garfield’s, including one incident in which a partier allegedly sat on a neighbor’s car and hurled a bottle of Courvoisier cognac at the man’s door.

“These are just the kind of quality of life issues that one doesn’t want to hear about,” Hammerman said.

Hernandez claims that in the past year, most of the parties were family-oriented — including a 90th birthday party and a dental school graduation.

She says she only served alcohol at two events — a Cinco de Mayo celebration and a company’s employee party.

Back in the aughts, when some of the rowdier events took place, Hernandez said she subleased the space to other promoters. But she admits some celebrations got a little out of control under her watch, such as a last-minute memorial party for a corrections officer.

“I opened the doors and there were 1,500 people in and out of here,” said Hernandez. “If I had that to do over again, I’d be more organized about it.”

Garfield’s isn’t without its fans — Hernandez has collected more than 100 signatures from supporters who back the planned bar and restaurant, and a handful of neighborhood businesses have written letters of endorsement.

CB6 will vote on Hernandez’s application for a liquor license this month. In the meantime, Hernandez is considering changing the name of the venue to get a fresh start.

“Someone suggested Hurricane Kitty’s,” she said. “I think it’s adorable.”