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Remember Amnesia? • Brooklyn Paper

Remember Amnesia?

Cats outta the bag: Neighbors feared the worst when they learned that controversial lounge Amnesia changed its name to Club Cats.
Photo by Elizabeth Graham

Amnesia’s forgotten its name!

The owners of the contentious club that was blasted by residents for its pounding music, rowdy customers, and hosting dance parties without a cabaret license are reopening as “Club Cats” and promising a more family-friendly environment — and jobs for victims of Hurricane Sandy.

Owner Frank Sofia said that this time there is no claws for alarm because he is simply lending his space to Sandy-displaced New Cats Cafe from Sheepshead Bay.

“They were all unemployed, so I hired them,” he said. “We became Club Cats because people know the name already.”

But residents fear more of the same old problems.

“We got a number of calls from people living in that area,” said Community Board 10 district manager Josephine Beckmann said of he club between 100th and 101st streets. “Residents didn’t know what it was, and wanted to know why it hadn’t come before the community board.”

Sofia, who also owns Sofia Ristorante Italiano on Third Avenue and Sofia’s in the Theater District, said his Fourth Avenue club would no longer have DJs and all-night ragers, and would instead cater to an older crowd with a pan-European menu and soothing background music.

“It’s going to be a supper club instead of a club for young kids,” said Sofia, vowing there would be tables on the dance floor and a ban on Top 40 pop hits.

But Sofia made a similar promise in March when he told the board that he was turning the nightclub into a classy Italian eatery, but fliers for Amnesia appeared under car windshield wipers in Bay Ridge within six months, showing a pink-infused interior, a twinkling disco ball, turntables, and dancing revelers.

The owner says he’s also done playing cat and mouse, even though his former Brazilian steakhouse-turned-nightclub has been skewered by Community Board 10 for assorted code infractions, while the state temporarily bolted its doors in September for failing to pay workers’ compensation.

State records show that Sofia has cleaned up his act — somewhat.

He has since insured his staff and paid his fines, but the State Liquor Authority said he hadn’t changed the name on his liquor license.

“They haven’t requested approval for that from our office,” said spokesman Bill Crowley. “We would have to look into it.”

Sofia said his attorneys submitted the request, but the state hasn’t processed it yet.

“Everything is done according to the law,” he said.

Still, neighbors weren’t impressed.

“Club Cats? It sounds like a strip club,” said one resident who requested anonymity.

Reach reporter Will Bredderman at wbredderman@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260-4507. Follow him at twitter.com/WillBredderman.

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