Call it CoClosed66.
Police raided the rowdy bar Coco66 early on Sunday morning and arrested its owner for allegedly selling alcohol without a license for more than a week.
The NYPD, the State Liquor Authority and several other agency inspectors stormed into the Greenpoint Avenue club just after midnight on July 10, served a buildings violation, and poured out nearly $8,000 worth of spirits.
“This is something I’ve wanted to do for a while — we’ve had noise complaints about the place,” said 94th Precinct Deputy Inspector Terence Hurson, adding that dumping the booze down the drains “took a while.”
But Coco66 owner David Kelleran, who was in custody at the Greenpoint stationhouse for 36 hours, said he was being “bullied” by both the police and his neighbors.
“We don’t fit into this neighborhood — the neighborhood has Yuppified,” said Kelleran. “We’ve been abused. They’re trying to put us out of business. They don’t want us there.”
Police have begun cracking down on noisy neighborhood hangouts after Community Board 1 members called for better enforcement against raucous bars and pondered a moratorium on new licenses this spring.
And the city has received seven complaints about Coco66 in the past year, most recently one for having over 75 people inside at a show — more than capacity.
That said, the bar has been a favorite among the neighborhoods indie and punk rock fans, and was nearing its sixth anniversary, when its liquor license lapsed.
Kelleran claimed that the license expired because a check bounced. He added that he did not see a warning letter from the State Liquor Authority until July 13, three days after the raid.
But a liquor authority spokesman said that Kelleran “waited until the last minute” before renewing his application — and he should have stopped serving beer and liquor when the license became inactive.
Now the bar faces charges from the state, which could include hefty fines, the suspension and even cancellation of the license.
Neighbors on the street were shocked at what unfolded.
“Oh my God, no way — that’s crazy!” said Brooke Schneider, who relaxed there a few times. “It was a good late-night spot. It’s sad that there’s one less music venue — we don’t have that many in Greenpoint.”
The hurdles to reopening Coco66 are steep, and expensive, but Kelleran hopes to do launch an even bigger space for bands.
“My plan is the exact opposite of loudmouths of the neighborhood — but right now I feel terrible,” said Kelleran. “I feel defeated.”
If he does reopen — with a new liquor license — he can expect a thirsty visitor.
“We’ll go back there and check it out,” said Hurson.
©2011 Community News Group
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