Volume 21, Number 9 | THE NEWSPAPER OF LOWER MANHATTAN | July 11 - 17, 2008

Neighbors suspect deli fronts for strip club

From the entrance at 94½ Greenwich St., Cordato’s looks like a typical deli, serving sandwiches and pizza to the Downtown lunchtime crowd.

But an unmarked set of doors at the back of the deli open into a different world: In a narrow, dimly lit bar, sits a sparser, older crowd. On a recent afternoon the bar was quiet, but according to online forums and others, it comes alive after 5, when the bar fills with girls offering $10 lap dances.

When Gerry Giakoumatos, who has owned the deli/bar for the past 12 years, went before Community Board 1 last week to apply for a cabaret license, he denied hosting any dancers. He said he wanted the cabaret license because he has a jukebox, and patrons occasionally get up to dance to the music. When city inspectors visited the bar, they issued Giakoumatos a ticket for not having a cabaret license, he said. While he got the ticket overturned, he doesn’t want to keep wasting time going to court, so he is applying for a license even though he does not formally have dancing.

But Arthur Gregory, a public member of C.B. 1 and a longtime bar owner, said Giakoumatos was lying. Gregory said the back room of Cordato’s deli is known as “Dirty Mike’s” and that construction workers turn out in large numbers to see stripteases there.

Reviewers on online forums, like Yelp.com, gave similar accounts as recently as two months ago. One poster said he wandered in after work for a drink and was surprised to see a group of scantily clad women giving lap dances. Several other posters also mentioned the lap dances, which one called “the best kept secret among Wall Street dudes.”

But Giakoumatos, the owner, insisted, “There is no Dirty Mike’s…. Everybody gets the wrong impression.” He said people are confusing his bar with the Pussycat Lounge next-door, which is a well-known strip club.

Cordato’s is not open on the weekend and usually closes by 1 or 2 a.m., Giakoumatos promised the community board.

“Why would we agree with all that if we were looking to run [a strip club]?” he said.

At C.B. 1’s Financial District Committee, reports of dancing in the deli’s back room “raised some eyebrows,” said Ro Sheffe, chairperson of the committee.

The committee ultimately approved the cabaret license 4 to 3, but because not enough committee members showed up at the meeting, the vote is only provisional. The committee will make a final decision before the full board meeting July 29, and then the full board will vote. The community board’s opinion is advisory, and the city Department of Consumer Affairs will make the final decision.

A lawyer for Cordato’s did not return calls for comment.

--Julie Shapiro




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