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Controversial Nightspot Amnesia Reopens as Club Cats

Meow! Amnesia takes on name and staff of Sheepshead Bay restaurant

The Brooklyn Paper
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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.
Updated 5:37 pm, July 9, 2018
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Reasonable discourse

Alako says:
Just like New (drowned) Cats Cafe: this is a great spot to avoid. Highly recommended!
Dec. 19, 2012, 1:15 pm
Informer says:
The New York State Workers' Compensation Board issued a Stop Work Order on 93 Lounge Saturday night.

Seems like Workers Comp is the only agency that cares about Bay Ridge.

Their like the IRS was to Capone.
Dec. 21, 2012, 12:52 pm
Annoyed from Bay ridge says:
This place is a horrible addition to the community. They double park up and down the block into the early morning hours (occupying parking that should be going to residents). The music can be heard down the block and I already saw a fight outside. Not to mention that people (valet) are parking in front of fire hydrants, etc. No consideration whatsoever for the community.
Dec. 30, 2012, 3:52 am
Doubly annoyed from Bay Ridge says:
This isn't just some restaurant. It's a full blown club. I've been out on a couple of weekend nights when this club is opened and I've had no chance of coming home and parking my car until at least 2AM. It's a very bad imposition already put on a neighborhood with hardly any on-street parking available and 3 restaurants/clubs on one block having valet parking. Surely constant double and triple parking is against the law, no? If this guy wants to stay open, let him buy the empty lot on 3rd between 99th and 100th and turn it into a parking lot.
Dec. 30, 2012, 10:17 am
human being from ridge says:
FYI the vallet cars are not allowqed to be parked on street but parked in a lot wich has a contract with the owner.. Plz get ur info correct before u open ur mouth and be happy ppl are intrested in even opeining up buinnsess in that drug infested area u call bay ridge =)
Jan. 1, 2013, 5:12 pm
triply annoyed from bay ridge says:
If it's so drug infested then why don't you take your ——ing club out of that neighborhood...unless drug dealing is you side-business.

If that place has a lot contracted, they are going to need a bigger one. I see their valet parkers double and triple parking cars on the street every weekend since they've been open.
Jan. 2, 2013, 10:13 am
Go away! from Bay ridge says:
They are constantly double parked until late night. I literally had to fight for a spot tonight. And please learn how to speak properly before you open YOUR mouth.
Jan. 14, 2013, 12:43 am
Shut it down from Bay ridge says:
This place was opened as an Italian restaurant? Only Russian language flyers posted. Good luck sleeping or doing anything productive once they open their doors. The music can be heard thru the walls of adjacent apartment buildings into 3am. This place is a cancer to the neighborhood md needs to be closed. I will definitely be looking into local noise ordinances at the very least.
Jan. 15, 2013, 7:28 am
Horrible! from Bay Ridge says:
This place is horrible. The name "club cats" is even worst, it really does sound like a strip club and makes my neighborhood look trashy. This place causes way too much parking and traffic difficulties. Please go away!
Feb. 16, 2013, 6:01 pm
furthermore from bay ridge says:
I have no idea why this place decided to open in bay ridge. Bay Ridge is not a russian neighborhood so I am not quite sure why a russian cafe is open here. They should probably stay in sheepshead. It will probably close in a year or so anyway just like every other business there since Pazzo.
Feb. 16, 2013, 6:09 pm
Unbiased opinion from Bay ridge says:
Hi- I went to club cats for a party tonight. I can tell you that I'm not a big party person. the club inside was very Russian but my friends were all Russian (I am not). We had the best time, the food was top notch and the live music was out of this world. I can definitely see why residents might be disturbed by the music and the parking and it does sound like a strip club. However, you should try the place, it is a real celebration of life. The people there were dressed up nicely, dancing respectfully and having fun. To be honest, there should be more places like this so that we don't all take life so seriously. Enjoy this place
March 2, 2013, 11:04 am
John from Bay Ridge says:
This place is a dump
March 8, 2013, 10:32 pm
Dan M. from Bay Ridge says:
A large Slavic man (I believe his name badge read "Lubomir") who works there followed me into the men's room. He proceeded to mock me while I applied Goldbond medicated powder to my nether regions. When I told him I would appreciate a little privacy, he thrust his bulging forearm into my trachea, making it very difficult to breathe.

His nose a millimeter from my face, he spat out a string of obscenities that would have made an Irishman blush. I'm a bit ashamed to say I shart myself out of fear that this Cro Magnon might kill me. I approached the manager later to complain, and he gave me a half-off drink voucher.

Overall I'd give Club Cats about a B .
March 9, 2013, 3:41 pm
Flores from Shirley says:
Decent girls inside.
March 21, 2013, 4:41 pm
Sleep Deprived from Bay Ridge says:
This business does not care at all about the surrounding residents. They have the bass pumping until the early hours, every night of the week!! They double park on the street and cause traffic at all hours. If I am able to fall asleep while the bass is still pounding in my head, i am likely to be woken up two or three times thanks to the constant honking of cars in retaliation for the traffic the valet is causing. Even when the club does finally close down anywhere between 1-5am, the drunk clientele pour onto the sidewalk and continue to cause chaos. I pray this place relocates ASAP.
Jan. 14, 2014, 9:28 pm
Another Sleep deprived Resident from Bay Ridge says:
Is not right that we pay so much to own/ rent our place, and have to put up with this nonsense . The owner needs to have Club Cats be in his neighborhood so he can experience this out of control Club. It has no place in this neighborhood.

It needs to be shut or move to Sheepshead Bay I'm tired of the continuing drunks and people having no respect for our residence.
Sept. 20, 2014, 11:59 pm
Marie from Bay Ridge says:
Thank God it closed! That place was infested with transvestite strippers, drugs and shady people! Bay Ridge residents deserve much better than that white trash! Hopefully the new business that exists there now, is not owned by lowlives as well!
Feb. 29, 2016, 10:07 pm

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