Over the weekend we told how Culturefix, an arts space/boutique/bar on the Lower East Side, won a relative victory in court after it was targeted by the NYPD as part of the latter's recent bar blitz. And today the Lo-Down brings more to the story while pointing out an interesting wrinkle in the relationship between Community Boards and the State Liquor Authority. See, though Community Board 3's SLA committee recommended against renewing the bar's liquor license last week...it did so days after the license had already been renewed by the SLA, one of the bar's owners tells us.
Why the SLA approved a renewal before the bar had gone before the Community Board is an open question. CB3's District Manager Susan Stetzer seemed surprised by the development when we e-mailed her about it earlier today. She says she normally puts bars on the agenda when she gets a renewal notice (Culturefix's notice came in on May 9) and told us we'd have to ask the SLA about it. The SLA has yet to get back to us.
Meanwhile, this is the second time that Culturefix has gotten around the community board while getting its liquor license. When the bar first opened, it withdrew its application from the Board when "Alex Militano, the panel’s chair, expressed doubts that Schaffer and Stern really intended to create a “cultural space,” as they outlined for the committee...The owners chose to withdraw their application and ultimately prevailed without the community board’s support."
Hopefully the police and CB won't take this development as a reason to stay on the offensive and instead give Culturefix a chance. It really isn't one of the bad ones and the owners tell us they are still actively trying to seek the board's support.