Café Eleven, the Seventh Avenue coffee bar that closed three weeks ago after barely a year in existence, will reopen as a wine bar run by the owner of Big Nose Full Body.
Aaron Hans, owner of the wine store, which sits across Seventh Avenue from the failed coffee shop, said he was “not ready” to talk about the deal, but one of his staffers was more than eager to talk.
“It’s going to be awesome,” he said. “There’s nothing like it in the South Slope.”
Indeed, it was competition that did in Cafe Eleven, which battled at least a dozen other places selling coffee — including powerhouses like the Tea Lounge and Naidre’s — within a three-block radius. By comparison, the nearest “wine bar” is Sette, a bistro at Seventh Avenue and Third Street.
There is clearly a demand for more booze and less beans in the South Slope.
“Look at Beer Table,” the Big Nose staffer said, referring to a beer-themed restaurant between 14th and 15th streets. “They’re doing great.”
Of course, free-flowing booze isn’t for everyone. Some 12th Street homeowners have circulated a letter, first posted on the Gowanus Lounge Web site, raising the specter of “outdoor seating in the garden” and a 1 am closing time.
Though seemingly non-controversial, wine bars have proven to be extremely sensitive in some neighborhoods. In nearby Carroll Gardens, some of Black Mountain Wine Bar owner Jim Mamary’s neighbors bitterly protested his plans to open an adjacent oyster bar on Hoyt Street.
Community Board 6 voted last week to grant Mamary a liquor license, 18–6.
Meanwhile, the closure of Cafe Eleven did have a bit of good news: The Chocolate Girl sweet shop next door recently posted a sign declaring that Illy coffee — Cafe Eleven’s house brand — will be served there.
Cafe Eleven owners John (decaf with milk) and Marianne (milk with two Equals) Votto did not want to comment for this story.
Community Board 6 will host an “informational meeting” about the wine bar on April 23 at 6 pm at the 78th Precinct stationhouse (corner of Sixth Avenue and Bergen Street in Prospect Heights).