CB1 approves rooftop liquor license for hotel/yoga studio, but with limits on use of outdoor space

Photo by Colin Mixson
Community Board 1 signed off on this hotel/yoga studio’s liquor license application for a rooftop bar, but want the State Liquor Authority to restrict when patrons can use the building’s outdoor spaces.

BY COLIN MIXSON

They’re raising the bar!

The local hooch honchos at Community Board 1 decided to endorse the application for a rooftop liquor license from a combination hotel, co-working space, and — wait for it — yoga studio on April 25, but only on the condition that the State Liquor Authority ban any use of the building’s terraces or roof space beyond the permitted drinking hours.

The board had hoped the state would forbid any use of the building’s outdoor space to protect locals’ quality of life, but the panel was informed shortly before making its decision that the SLA wouldn’t interfere with the business’s rooftop privileges unless they were allowed to booze it up at least to some degree, according to board member Jeff Ehrlich.

“It’s an as-of-right space if they don’t add a liquor license, so they could have people on the roof 24/7,” Ehrlich told fellow board members at the April meeting.

Supporting the liquor license with stipulations was the only way the board could put any limits on use of the outdoor space.

“We wanted to help the community the best we could,” he said.

Community members living near the 17 John St. hotel/yoga studio petitioned the board to oppose the liquor license application, which would allow as many as 700 yogis and hotel patrons to hit the bottle until 2 a.m. atop two outdoor terraces and on the rooftop at the building between Broadway and Nassau Street, in addition to two indoor bars on the second and third floors.

Locals feared that loud noise would keep families awake late into the night, and had hoped the community board would not only refuse to endorse any outdoor drinking, but also request the SLA to forbid any use at all of the building’s terraces and rooftop, according to board member Jeff Ehrlich.

Ehrlich was under the impression that such power was within the SLA’s mandate, but was informed by the agency shortly before the board’s April meeting that it would only have a hand in governing the terraces’ use if patrons there were given some opportunity to liquor up, according to board staffer Diana Switaj.

“Shortly before the meeting, Jeff spoke to [SLA Deputy Chief Executive Officer Mike Jones], who explained that, at this time, they wouldn’t do that.”

In response, the board looked for a solution that would give patrons at the building as little opportunity for alfresco benders as possible, but still enough that the liquor authority would rein in their terrace use, according to board member Susan Cole.

“We’re between a rock and a hard place,” Cole said.

With the blessing of local residents, the board ultimately decided to endorse a liquor license allowing terrace and rooftop drinking until 7 p.m., along with the business’s requested 8 a.m.–2 a.m. hours indoors — in exchange for no use of the outdoor space past the 7 p.m. drinking deadline.

The board’s decision is only advisory, and the final decision is with SLA, which may well grant the yoga hotel the full booze privileges it originally requested.

Messages left for attorney Benjamin Savitsky seeking comment on behalf of his clients at 17 John Street were not returned.

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