Shucks! Raw bar goes bad

Aw, shucks! City reverses itself on oyster bar
Restaurateur Jim Mamary, seen here in his Ditmas Park eatery, Pommes de Terre, is facing new troubles in his effort to open an oyster bar on Hoyt Street.
The Brooklyn Paper / Michael Lipkin

The city quietly revoked permits for a controversial oyster bar on Hoyt Street in Carroll Gardens, ending a months-long fight between prolific restaurateur Jim Mamary and neighbors who sought to keep their block dry.

Mamary — the founder of Patois, the original lynchpin of the Smith Street dining scene — hoped to build a liquor-serving raw bar at the corner of Union Street, around the corner from his much-loved Black Mountain wine bar. The city did give him construction permits in January, but neighbors, who organized to fight the bar, found out this week that the Department of Buildings had actually withdrawn the permits.

Mamary said the city’s turnabout was the last straw. He won’t appeal the decision and has given up on trying to win over his neighbors.

“She’s dead in the water,” Mamary told The Brooklyn Paper last week. “There’s nothing I can do.”

The Department of Buildings said it ruled against Mamary because it learned that the space used to be a doctor’s office — and city zoning ordinances put businesses into different categories. According to agency spokeswoman Carly Sullivan, medical offices are allowed on Hoyt Street, bars are not.

“The permits were revoked because of objections raised about converting it [the storefront] to an eating and drinking establishment,” Sullivan said.

The problems on Hoyt Street are just the latest set backs for Mamary, whose early efforts on Smith Street were largely responsible for turning the entire strip into a restaurant destination. New York Magazine reported last week that Mamary’s Trout restaurant, on the northern end of Smith Street, had closed.

Even though the nightlife of Smith Street is just one block away, neighbors did not want late-night spots to creep their way.

Opponents said they were relieved with the win, but won’t rest on their laurels until they know what kind of business will move into the storefront.

“We’re not jumping up and down for joy,” said David Logan, who lives on Hoyt Street with his wife and two children.

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