January 8, 2011 / Brooklyn news / Williamsburg / Brooklyn Is Angry

Bar? None! Neighbors upset about Grand Street speakeasy

The Brooklyn Paper
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A pair of Manhattan bar owners want to transform a tranquil Williamsburg block into a cool dating destination — but its neighbors are organizing to keep them out.

Sibling bar owners Jason and Scott Schneider, who own Elsa, a speakeasy-style bar in Alphabet City, want to open a similar joint in an empty Grand Street storefront nestled below several stately four-story brick buildings off Keap Street.

“We were drawn to the charming quietness of the block,” said Elsa’s Jason Schneider. “It’s a beautiful tree-lined block, and the space is the kind of place you would take a date to.”

But homeowners such as Candy Harder is worried that the bar will attract noisy revelers to her quiet street at all hours of the night.

“It’s not about the bar,” said Harder. “I think the bar would be fine. It’s about the people getting to the bar, leaving the bar, and standing outside the bar that would be disruptive. Once you bring people to this area, you don’t know who’s on your street and there could be more crime.”

This week, Harder presented a petition opposing the bar to Community Board 1 with nearly two dozen signatures from nearby residents, prompting the board’s public safety committee to table its vote on a liquor license for the bar, tentatively called City of Daughters.

“We believe that consensus can be reached after people who opposed the application talk to the new applicant,” said CB1 Public Safety Committee Chairman Mieszko Kalita. “Both of them expressed hope that they can reach an agreement and allow the business to operate.”

But board member Wilfredo Florentino, who grew up on nearby Keap Street, says the block is “quiet” and “very desolate” and is leaning against support.

“A number of families have moved into that block and it’s not necessarily the most ideal place to anchor a new bar,” said Florentino.

Schneider hopes to win over the neighbors by expanding the menu, closing the backyard and possibly limiting his hours.

At Grand Street, he envisions an upscale “speakeasy-style” bar with 66 seats that will serve cocktails and cheese plates and not twentysomethings “drinking as much as they can.”

“Other bars were looking at the space,” said Schneider. “If it’s not us, it could be someone louder. [Residents] will have to decide what kind of bar they want in that space, whether it’s groups of 23- or 24-year-olds throwing up all over the place or a quieter crowd.”

Updated 5:22 pm, July 9, 2018
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Reasonable discourse

G from Greenpoint says:
"[Residents] will have to decide what kind of bar they want in that space"

Why does is have to be a bar at all? This neighborhood (W'burg/Greenpoint) is overflowing with bars already. It's time that the pushovers at CB1 stop awarding permits to any bar that comes before them. Notice: none of the bars ever open on the blocks of the CB1 board members!
Jan. 8, 2011, 12:08 pm
sajh from Bedford Ave says:
Since when did Williamsburg become the West Village?
Jan. 10, 2011, 9:14 am
Joey from Clinton Hills says:
these outside interlopers are too late to the game. the neighborhood is full of bars already. Bandwagoneers, I suggest you go to LIC to inflict your weak stuff.
Jan. 10, 2011, 10:54 am
art from williamsburg says:
keep fighting, keap streeters- over closer to the river we had a taco 'restaurant'/bar open just over a year ago and our quiet corner is now filled with noisy drunken 20-somethings, their broken glasses/bottles (which they take out of the restaurant) and yes, plenty of vomiting (also pissing. and sh^#ting. really. )

the restaurant in question seats MANY fewer than 66, and has still destroyed what was a quiet, peaceful spot a block off of bedford: they host 'private' parties that fill a three-block radius with noise and trash almost every month.

i've lived in the same building for more than a decade, and this one small place has totally changed the character of the area at night, for the worse.

the 'character' of the bar on keap will have nothing to do with the behavior of its patrons- food, no food, ambiance- you'll still end up with screeching drunk people waking you up at four in the morning- they'll just be screeching drunk people who've spent a lot of money getting drunk.

community board 1 really should stop approving new bars.
Jan. 10, 2011, 12:20 pm
Hopper from Los S_S says:
If it's the block between Keap and Marcy...that'd be a shame 'cause that's one of the FEW charming-looking residential blocks in the neighborhood and should stay that way.
But ...If it's adjacent to that nasty triangular abandoned gas-station site(which SHOULD be a PARK), then, let 'er rip!!!
Jan. 11, 2011, 10:57 am

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