Greenpoint venue Saint Vitus Bar shuttered by Department of Buildings

saint vitus bar
Saint Vitus Bar in Greenpoint was suddenly shuttered by the Department of Buildings last week.
Photo courtesy of Google Maps

Five days after it was unexpectedly forced to close, Saint Vitus Bar in Greenpoint is still quiet.

Inspectors with the city’s Department of Buildings and police reportedly closed the Manhattan Avenue venue down in the middle of a show on Feb. 16 after discovering it was operating illegally, with the incorrect certificate of occupancy. 

The closure sent bands scrambling to rebook their shows and has sent ripples through the community. Inspectors headed to the venue in response to “over a dozen 311 complaints from members of the public,” said DOB spokesperson David Maggiotto.

Roughly 250 people were inside the venue, which Maggiotto referred to as an “illegal eating and drinking establishment,” at the time.

Saint Vitus, which opened in 2011, currently has a Certificate of Occupancy for commercial use and storage of machinery, per city records — not use as a music venue or bar. The DOB issued a violation to the venue’s owners, but not a vacate order. 

show at saint vitus bar
The venue has become a mainstay in the underground music community. Photo courtesy of Saint Vitus Bar/Facebook

“We are saddened and deeply frustrated by the circumstances and are working to remedy the situation as fast as we can,” representatives for Saint Vitus wrote in a statement on Instagram. “This closure is temporary, but we want to address everything that directly affects our community of artists and fans alike.”

The venue is working to rebook scheduled shows in partner venues, and said online it will share ways to support staff during the closure. One staff member, Leigh Barton, who teaches a fitness class called “Sweat Vitus” at the bar, launched a virtual fundraising fitness class to raise money to support staff members who were left without work.

“Our team is working our collective ass off to get shows moved to our friends’ venues, but most of the shows will be staffed by the other venues’ teams — so while the show goes on for the bands + fans, the lovely people who pour your drinks, check you in at the door, and make the music sound good don’t get to work,” Barton wrote on the sign-up sheet for the classes. 

City records show 16 complaints filed about the building since May 2023, most referring to the fact that the bar is not officially legally permitted to host large shows.

The DOB first issued a violation for the incorrect Certificate of Occupancy in July 2023 – but the violation was never corrected.

“That is why they were issued another violation by DOB on February 16th,” Maggiotto said in an email. “If the property owner wishes to legally operate the club, they can obtain permits to legally convert the space and obtain a new Certificate of Occupancy from DOB.”

The venue has received an outpouring of support from the community – including local elected officials. In a social media post, local Council Member Lincoln Restler called the sudden closure “super disappointing.”

“I have been in close touch with owners & DOB to make sure that the issues are swiftly resolved,” he said. “This is a terrific venue and we will do our best to get it back open soon!”