Belligerent brunchers looking to get "smashed" at Pranna may soon have to stumble their way to a new watering hole. Last night members of Community Board 5's public safety and quality of life committee voted unanimously to deny owners Rajiv and Payal Sharma a permanent liquor license for their two latest ventures, which are set to replace the mimosa-soaked Flatiron institution.
This was a rare move, as one board member pointed out. "We issue four or five denials a year at most," he told the small crowd at the meeting. "If any application deserves a flat denial, that's this one," to which he received a round of applause.
Wednesday's decision came after months of stipulations and negotiation between the restaurant and the community. Last fall CB 5 put Pranna on probation, requiring them to increase security, turn down the music, eliminate the restaurant's infamous bottomless brunches.
CB member Renee Cafaro helpfully pointed out that if these changes were to be fully enforced, there would be "no more 'hashtag Pranna' out there to be found."
If Pranna's owners have their way, the rebranded 3-story establishment would open in October, and be split into two separate destinations: a basement lounge, called Indikaya, and the upscale-dining restaurant Ziya.
Along with bolting tables to the ground (in an attempt to prevent "makeshift dance floors" as one member put it) and eliminating DJs, promoters, and drink specials, the new non-Pranna promised to restrict its hours, with Indikaya operating under a more typical restaurant schedule, and closing at 1 a.m. on Fridays and Saturdays (as opposed to Pranna's current 4 a.m. closing time) in hopes of securing board approval.
Still, members found that they had little faith in any of these stipulations truly being enforced. "If anybody doesn't deserve the word 'hope,' it's them," one boardmember groused.
Even Rajiv and Payal Sharma's lawyer agreed with the committee's hesitation. "No one can ignore the fact that there is a trust issue, there is a good faith issue," he admitted to the board. "Pranna has got to go. Its time is long past due to go, and it's on its way out."
Around a dozen of Pranna's neighbors, no doubt tired of listening to the sounds of late afternoon vomiting or the crapulent ramblings of wealthy youths, attended the meeting to voice their objections to the license.
A neighborhood mom discussed one of many colorful afternoons she has shared with her daughter thanks to Pranna's over-served clientele:
"We were walking back from Koreatown. As soon as we get four feet away from the door a group comes out, completely drunk. There's this guy holding his girlfriend, who I'm assuming was vomiting, while this other friend takes pictures of her. And he starts yelling at us completely belligerent, and I'm telling my daughter 'don't look, don't look, she's drunk,' and he's yelling: 'I need to go back to Jersey!' while he's holding this vomiting girl."
While CB 5's public safety and quality of life committee denied the licenses for both Ziya and Indikaya, they do not have the final say. The item will be brought before the full community board and eventually the State Liquor Authority, which will ultimately determine the establishment's fate. At least until October, Pranna will still stay Pranna. CB 5 meets again in two weeks.