No Pleasure: Community panel rejects controversial Ave. U night spot

Thumbs down: Community Board 15, led by Chairwoman Theresa Scavo, rejected a nightclub owner trying to reopen his shuttered bar on Avenue U in Gravesend.
Photo by Elizabeth Graham

A local panel shot down a controversial nightclub owner’s third, and possibly last, attempt to reopen his shuttered Avenue U lounge last week, claiming that the spot would become a rowdy bar — even if it was converted into a high-end restaurant.

Community Board 15’s executive committee unanimously denied Mark Shteynshlyuger’s liquor license request for his new restaurant Galaxy — which stands on the site of his former nightclub, Pleasure — on Avenue U between E. Eighth and E. Ninth streets, after his attorney revealed that the restaurant would stay open until 1:30 am on weekdays and serve booze until 4 am on weekends.

Board members fear that Galaxy would be indistinguishable from Pleasure, a drinking spot with a history of fights and wild after-hour parties — despite Shteynshlyuger’s promises to the contrary.

“Who’s going to police [Galaxy] at 1:30 am?” CB15 Chairwoman Theresa Scavo asked. “[Shteynshlyuger] can promise the world, but once he gets that liquor license [he can do whatever he wants].”

The board’s executive committee voted 9–0 to reject the plan on Feb. 27.

Shteynshlyuger opened Pleasure in 2006, but closed it two years later amid neighbors’ complaints of noise, underage drinking and bar brawls that spilled out into the street.

In December of 2010, Shteynshlyuger and a business partner filed plans to reopen the club as a high-end restaurant and lounge called Pleasure Island, and began renovating the place, but their comeback was thwarted when CB15 asked the State Liquor Authority to deny Shteynshlyuger’s request for a new liquor license in June, 2011, claiming the bar would be bad for the neighborhood.

The state rejected Shteynshlyuger’s application that November.

State Liquor Authority spokesman William Crowley said last year’s decision was swayed by Shteynshlyuger’s inability to win CB15’s support — and the angry letters they received from residents and local elected officials.

The State Liquor Authority has yet to see Shteynshlyuger’s latest request for a liquor license, but, without CB15’s support, it doesn’t look good.

Shteynshlyuger’s attorney could not be reached for comment.

Scavo said that after receiving his third rejection, Shteynshlyuger indicated he would not file another request for a liquor license with the state — meaning his plans to resurrect Pleasure might have hit a dead end.

Assemblyman Steven Cymbrowitz (D–Sheepshead Bay) applauded the vote, which was first reported by Sheepshead Bites, a local blog.

“Pleasure [reopening as Galaxy] clearly would not be in the community’s interest,” Cymbrowitz said.

Reach reporter Daniel Bush at dbush@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260-8310. Follow him at twitter.com/dan_bush.

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