An East Village barber shop doubling as a speakeasy met with local opposition this week when their liquor license bid for a forthcoming Williamsburg outpost failed to win approval from the Community Board. The Blind Barber, which operates a storefront barbershop with a secret lounge in the back, has been open on 10th Street in Alphabet City for several years and is now expanding, logically, into Williamsburg. The team is eying a spot on Lorimer and Ainslie Streets, a decidedly more residential stretch of the 'Burg than nearby Metropolitan.
At a Tuesday night hearing, the full board voted against a liquor license, despite a smaller Community Board 1 committee approving the setup earlier in the process. Neighbors acquired 500 signature petitions against the new business, citing the area's already dense population of bars. "We are going to fight this," next-door neighbor Sal Vassallo told the Daily News. "They can have a barber shop. They can cut hair. They can even use a blind barber. But don't use alcohol."
Each haircut or shave at the men's grooming facility comes with a free beverage, but the larger bar space is open to anyone looking to have a cocktail or five. Of the 170 Yelp reviews, only 13 mention the haircuts and 6 mention a shave, though maybe patrons are too tipsy post-imbibing to remember much about their haircare experience?
Owner Jeff Lamb doesn't put much stock in the CB's ability to block his venture, quipping that "they don't even know what they are protesting." Ultimately, the decision rests with the State Liquor Authority, who will decide the barber-bar's fate later this summer. Whether the SLA listens to the dwindling but vocal community of Old Timer's steadily getting pushed out by hirsute hipsters remains to be seen.