Williamsburg's Community Board 1, which you may recall as the group that wants to ban anything fun (namely, new liquor licenses and waterfront concerts), is at it again, putting the kibosh on rooftop and backyard bars in the neighborhood.
The board is now requiring all new liquor license applicants seeking CB approval to have a full kitchen if they want an outdoor space. "The idea behind the rule is that bars tend to be louder, have more drinking, and more boisterous behavior while people sit and eat food with their drinks at a restaurant,” said Community Board 1 member Ward Dennis. This isn't exactly a new issue—last spring, a state Assemblywoman tried to make it illegal for bars to keep their outdoor spaces open past midnight, which weekend warriors did not take to kindly.
CB1's new policy also requires applicants to submit signatures from neighbors in support of the license, so good luck getting that cranky guy who's lived on Metropolitan since 1976 to sign off on your new speakeasy. There is a bit of silver lining, however: bars who currently have a backyard but no kitchen (think Union Pool, Trophy Bar, et al) are exempt unless they want to expand. And the board's recommendations to the SLA are advisory; the agency has been known to issue licenses with or without the board's endorsement.