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It’s a booze cruise for Roulette • Brooklyn Paper

It’s a booze cruise for Roulette

Jim Staley, director of Roulette, an avant-garde arts group, has run afoul of some locals for his plan to serve booze inside his venue, which is being built in the empty YWCA theater at the corner of Third and Atlantic avenues.
Photo by Stefano Giovannini

A controversial performance art space in Boerum Hill moved one step closer to getting its all-important liquor license on Wednesday — but Community Board 2’s unanimous approval comes with strings attached.

Under the terms of the deal, Roulette, which relocated from Manhattan to Atlantic and Third avenues and opened on Thursday night, will be able serve booze as long as it does not turn into a noisy nightclub or play amplified music after midnight on Monday through Saturday and 11 pm on Sunday.

The conditions come after some residents complained that the new performance venue and its Lou Reed-loving fans would get out of control — but that’s not going to happen, said Roulette Director Jim Staley.

“The board had to be convinced we weren’t going to be Webster Hall,” said Staley, referring to a notorious nightclub in West Brooklyn.

Staley also reminded the board that his lease with the YWCA, which owns the building, includes security and noise guarantees.

The community board had rejected Roulette’s first application last month, but the stipulations eliminated many members’ concerns.

“We expect and think that Roulette is going to be a very good neighbor,” said Community Board 2 Chairman John Dew.

Final approval for the liquor license rests with the State Liquor Authority. Staley, who founded the theater in a SoHo gallery in 1978, said he expects to receive it by the end of the year.

In the meantime, Roulette secured a temporary permit to serve beer and wine at its four-day opening, which features performances from rock legend Reed, film-noir guitarist Marc Ribot, and a rock-based world-music quartet.

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