The liquor gods frown on Athena

The liquor gods frown on Athena
The Brooklyn Paper / Tom Callan

Community Board 6 voted unanimously on Wednesday night to reject a liquor license bid for Athena restaurant after neighbors of the Cobble Hill eatery claimed that the owner is hosting booming parties and serving booze without a valid permit.

“The way they’re operating is not kosher,” said board member Gary Reilly, citing an attempt by Athena owner Spiro Hiotis to use a liquor license belonging to the prior restaurant at the Smith Street site. “We felt they were taking shortcuts.”

But Hiotis — who runs Athena restaurants in Bay Ridge and Park Slope — says the community board unfairly targeted him even though he installed noise barriers in walls, fired DJs and handed out his cellphone number to concerned neighbors.

“What else can I do?” he said. “I am so fed up with this neighborhood.”

He admitted that he was using the license belonging to the previous restaurant, but claimed that it was legit because he was partial owner of the now-defunct Mexican joint.

For their part, neighbors claim that Hiotis rents the always-empty restaurant to a subcontractor at night for unlicensed, booze-soaked parties that boom into the wee hours, keeping neighbors awake.

“It’s preposterous — they’re winging it,” said Glenn Kelly of Community Board 6, who lives nearby. “What’s next?”

Hiotis might have an answer: “I’m probably gonna have to shut down,” he said.

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