Violence-scarred karaoke bar keeps liquor license

Owner of violent karaoke club speaks!
Community Newspaper Group / Dan MacLeod

The State Liquor Authority gave an embattled 64th Street karaoke club accused of allowing underage drinking and drug use a chance to clean up its act — but that second chance came at a steep price.

The agency was poised to pull Crown KTV’s liquor licence, but, after meeting with pleading club representatives on Tuesday, said the violence-scarred nightspot could continue to sell booze — as long as they pay a whopping $30,000 in violations. The new fines will be in addition to the $7,000 in penalties the business racked up earlier this month, agency spokesman Bill Crowley said.

Crown KTV owners have just 20 business days to cough up the dough or the Authority will cancel its license. The State Liquor Authority will also keep a close eye on the karaoke club for the foreseeable future, Crowley explained.

“The board chairman was very clear at the meeting that if there were any more violations in the next year, their license will be revoked,” said Crowley.

Five people were stabbed outside the club between Eighth and Ninth avenues last summer after a fight inside spilled out onto the street. The bar has also come under fire for allowing teenage drinking and drug use.

The Zheng family, which owns Crown KTV, declined to comment on the state’s decision, but Crown KTV’s attorney Paul Ascher said his clients were ecstatic over the reprieve — despite the $37,000 in fines now hanging over their heads.

“We are delighted with the decision of the State Liquor Authority to allow us to remain in business,” said Ascher. “We intend to fully cooperate with the community board and with the community and continue to be a valuable member of the community.”

Community Board 10, which represents Bay Ridge, voted unanimously to oppose the renewal of the night spot’s liquor license, though the Board’s role is only advisory. CB10 Police and Public Safety Chairman George Fontas cited a history of “criminal activities on the premises” as a reason for the board’s decision.

But Crown KTV manager Eric Zheng defended the bar last summer, claiming that drugs — especially cocaine — aren’t popular with his clientele, which is almost exclusively Chinese.

“I’ve never heard of any Asians around this area that do cocaine,” he said. “If they have something illegal, we throw them out.”

Still, Zheng confessed that the club’s security could have done more to prevent last summer’s stabbing.

“We probably could have done better,” Zheng said. “By the time we got out there, the fight was over.”