Liquor or not, here comes Barge Bar

Liquor or not, here comes Barge Bar
Photo by Sara Hylton

It’s a dry barge!

Owners of a new Greenpoint bar built out of old barge plans — and floating off Transmitter Park — say they will break the Champagne bottle on their new business next month with or without a liquor license that locals voted they should not get.

“We will open one way or the other,” said Barge Bar co-owner Will Drawbridge. “There is no point in having the barge just sit there.”

Members of Community Board 1 voted against the floating bar because they felt that the open air business would allow for too many unknowns that could disrupt the neighborhood. “This one seemed to be about rowdiness and against the values of people in the community,” said Community Board 1 member Jan Peterson.

But the interestingly named Drawbridge said the venture, which was supposed to open this month, is just misunderstood.

“I understand that it is a weird thing and they are not quite sure how we will function,” he said.

Since the bar plans to also serve grilled food and desserts — and rent kayaks! — Drawbridge said the owners will go ahead with those parts of the business until they can convince the state to grant them the full liquor license they requested.

The bar owners originally applied to the community board for the license in March, but the licensing committee told them they did not have enough documentation and to come back. The next time the bar came before the committee, it recommended against granting it a license and the general board, which gets the actual vote, agreed.

The Community Board’s vote is only advisory, as the State Liquor Authority decides who gets and who doesn’t get liquor licenses. But the Community Board’s denial means that the state now cannot just rubber stamp the license. It has to host a hearing, which it scheduled for mid June — a month after the bar was supposed to open.

“It is an extra step and the board does weigh in the community’s denial,” said state liquor authority spokesman William Crowley.

Barge Bar owners say they are taking the delays in stride even as they fight against the dying of the city’s short warm season.

“This is what it is like opening a business in New York City,” said Drawbridge, who used to work at the Flying Pan, a similar venture on a barge docked on the Hudson River in Manhattan. “If anything opens on time, it is a miracle.”

Reach reporter Danielle Furfaro at dfurfaro@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260–2511. Follow her at twitter.com/DanielleFurfaro.