Sip off: Barclays Center neighbors fight for smaller beer cups

Prospect Heights residents want to referee the booze rules at the soon-to-open Barclays Center in an attempt to keep liquored-up sports fans from committing fouls on their residential streets after games.

Arena neighbors are demanding the hoops hub adopt an alcohol cut-off time and limit the size and number of drinks served to fans, claiming the restrictions are necessary because the future home of the Brooklyn Nets borders residential areas and, unlike most urban stadiums, is not buffered from communities by large parking lots.

“This is a truly unique situation — so we need more sensitive crowd control rules,” said Gib Veconi of the Prospect Heights Neighborhood Development Council.

He and other neighbors want beer sold in 12-ounce containers rather than the 16-ounce cups common at many stadiums, served no more than two at a time, and poured no later than 9:30 pm at sports games and concerts.

Many stadiums have similar, but not as strict rules — the sale of alcohol is forbidden after the beginning of the fourth quarter at all NBA events and many football fans, including the Jets devotees, can only buy two drinks per trip to a concession stand.

Pinning the booze curfew to an hour, not a stoppage in play, isn’t unheard of, either: Chicago’s Wrigley Field — which, like the Barclays Center, isn’t far from residences — has a 9:20 pm alcohol cut-off.

Wrigley Field is also managed by Levy Restaurants, the same food vending company expected to run the booze stands at Barclays Center, leaving some neighbors hopeful that the food company will heed their requests.

The plea for strict alcohol rules comes after dozens of arena-side residents stormed a joint Community Board 6 and Community Board 2 meeting last week hoping to block the arena’s liquor license bid.

At the meeting, residents said they fear intoxicated sports fans will keeps kids awake on school nights, cause bottlenecks nearby subway stations, fill the streets with trash-tossing drunk drivers.

It also comes after residents rallied for months against arena-side nightlife over fears it will lure noisy hoops fans onto their quiet streets. But a total ban on booze at Barclays Center would make it the NBA’s first dry arena — a goal some neighbors admit isn’t realistic.

Now, they say their new rules are a good compromise.

Representatives from Levy Restaurants did not respond to inquiries about the feasibility of the liquor cut-off by press time.

A commitment from the food and drink sellers could ease the fears of some opponents of the Atlantic Yards mega-project, who have been shifting their focus from attempting to halt the development entirely to protecting quality of life in neighborhoods around the arena.

“I have serious reservations about going forward with this [liquor] application — until we get some answers,” said Councilwoman Letitia James (D–Fort Greene).

Reach reporter Natalie O'Neill at noneill@cnglocal.com or by calling her at (718) 260-4505.