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Night cap! Bushwick mulls midnight last call on Sundays

All wet: Kenneth Chaplain, bartender and customer at Gotham City Lounge, is sad to think that he might soon have to go home at midnight on Sundays if Community Board 4 gets its way on a bar curfew.
Photo by Stefano Giovannini

Last call might come early in Bushwick.

Community activists are trying to force bars to close at midnight on Sundays in an attempt to offer neighbors a weekly reprieve from nightlife noise, which is a major problem in the quickly gentrifying area where some pubs stay open until 4 am daily, according to Community Board 4 district manager Nadine Whitted.

“If something is open until 4 am every day and they have children upstairs, they need a break,” she said. “We are only asking this on Sundays so that people can rest and be able to get ready for school.”

CB4’s full board voted last week to codify the nightlife containment policy.

The board — which has no actual control over liquor licenses — adopted a uniform approach to stanch the influx of party culture in Bushwick, urging the State Liquor Authority to implement a Sunday curfew on all new bars seeking a license and every existing venue that comes up for renewal.

State Liquor Authority spokesman William Crowley claims his agency places great weight on the recommendations of community boards, but said decisions will be made on a case-by-case basis.

“Quite often, the liquor board and community boards will come to agreements and we’ll add that to the stipulation,” said Crowley.

By calling for a Sunday shutdown on every application, CB4 guarantees that liquor license bids won’t be rubberstamped.

“We won’t approve of it at the staff level if there’s opposition,” said Crowley. “It has to go before the three-member board in an open meeting.”

But neighborhood nightlife entrepreneurs say the added regulation will hurt their bottom line.

“We’ll find a way to compensate,” said Lou Lappin, co-owner of Myrtle Avenue’s Gotham City Lounge, who called the regulation “arbitrary.”

“All the bars will find a new way to make money.”

For Gotham City Lounge, that might mean opening seven days per week instead of staying dark on Mondays.

This is not the first time a community board has tried to impose stiff regulations on fun in Brooklyn. Three years ago, Park Slope activists tried to shutter outdoor patios at 11 pm.

And last year, Community Board 1 members got serious about cracking down on outdoor brunchers in Williamsburg and Greenpoint in the short-lived War on Brunch.

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

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