No ‘Kemistry’ — state denies liquor license to controversial nightspot

No ‘Kemistry’ — state denies liquor license to controversial nightspot
Photo by Elizabeth Graham

The State Liquor Authority shot down a bid for a liquor license from a planned controversial nightspot, called Kemistry Lounge, on Wednesday.

The agency rejected the liquor application due to overwhelming community opposition to the venue that sits on Flatbush Avenue just blocks from the Barclays Center, said a spokesman for State Liquor Authority.

Neighbors have battled co-owner James Brown’s push to put a restaurant and bar that would feature live performances, DJs, dancing, and late-night music for more than a year, arguing that the venue would bring noise and ruckus to their quite community. They feared that boozy revelers would spill out of the venue’s glass-fronted exit on residential Prospect Place late at night, causing a disruption.

Those fears were among the concerns that the liquor agency took into account at Wednesday’s hearing, said Peter Adelman, the lawyer representing the group of nearly 100 alarmed neighbors.

“The community objection boiled down to the promoters refusal to brick up the Prospect Place frontage, their late hours, and hard liquor bottle service,” said Adelman. “The State Liquor Authority really recognized the legitimacy of those three concerns and concluded that the establishment would not be in the public interest.”

Another factor in the decision, according to State Liquor Authority spokesman William Crowley, was the March arrest of Brown’s business partner, Leonard Bartletto, for allegedly selling marijuana.

Even though Kemistry Lounge representatives promised that the venue, which would accommodate more than 200 revelers in a grocery-store sized space, will not be a burden, and that they would only use the controversial doorway on Prospect Place during emergencies, Community Board 6 agreed with the neighbors and voted to reject its liquor license request last year.

Kemistry’s lawyer Jerome Sussman did not return calls for comment. But he did tell DNAinfo.com, “When I get the disapproval letter, I’ll sit down with my client and we’ll decide whether we want to go further, or whether we want to drop it.”

“There are several avenues open to us,” he said.

This appears to be a rare case where the State Liquor Authority sided with the no-vote of the community board.

A slew of Bay Ridge nightspots, including the controversial and now-shuttered 93 Lounge, received liquor licenses over objections from the community board.

Reach reporter Natalie Musumeci at nmusumeci@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260-4505. Follow her at twitter.com/souleddout.