Williamsburg’s community board canned Urban Outfitters’ plan to sell beer to hipsters browsing high-waisted jeans and screen-printed curtains at the trendy store’s proposed outpost in the high-rent neighborhood.
Board members behind the no-vote at a meeting on Tuesday night said they were incredulous about the proposal to mix wine spritzers and iPod DJ mixers because the chain store that prides itself on its inner-city cool actually has a pretty suburban ambience.
“This is going to be like a mall,” community board member Rob Solano said. “Why do you need alcohol to make it work?”
The board cited a number of reasons for voting to put the kibosh on booze at the outlet that is coming in for a landing on N. Sixth Street between Berry Street and Wythe Avenue, including the number of bars already in the area, the lack of accountability typical in a large corporate structure, and the fact that the proposed drinking area ran right into the retail aisles without any physical separation.
Most Urban Outfitter stores around the country stick to selling clothing and apartment accessories, but the chain’s parent company runs home and garden centers called Terrain in Glen Mills, Penn. and Westport, Conn. where food and drink are served.
Solano said that company officials changed details between presentations and that the board never got specific answers about what the beer-and-a-polka-dot-shirt plan would entail.
“They were just saying what we wanted to hear,” Solano said.
The community board’s vote is only advisory, and the state’s Liquor Authority that will have the final say on the application, but in the past year, the state has taken community board votes more seriously than in years past, putting most of the business the board has denied through a thorough grilling.
The community board created a list of conditions that would need to be satisfied for it to change its mind, leaving it up to Urban Outfitters to prove why the neighborhood that saw 106 liquor license applications this year, including 36 for new businesses, needs another bar and how the company will be accountable to neighbors. The board also demanded concrete plans on how the store would separate the bar from the shopping area.
Representatives from Urban Outfitters did not appear at Tuesday night’s meeting and have not returned repeated calls and emails for comment.