Calling it a night?: Harlem Bars Slam Community Board Proposal

Barkeeps say 2am close would kill business 

HARLEM BAR AND RESTAURANT owners fear that a new proposal requiring local establishments to stop serving liquor at 2 a.m. could close the tab on their late night business.

The proposal, initiated last week by Community Board 10’s Economic Development Committee, would require new businesses seeking a liquor license recommendation from CB 10 to agree to stop serving two hours earlier than the 4 a.m. norm in the rest of the city.

“The entire city is open until 4 a.m. so if Harlem bars were to close at 2, it would put us at an extreme disadvantage,” said Sherri Wilson-Daly, one of the owners of the popular Harlem Tavern on W. 116th St.

“For them to put our businesses at a disadvantage like that is doing a real disservice to the community.”

Although CB 10 cannot change the hours of operations for existing businesses, the board can omit their liquor license recommendation for new businesses seeking approval from the New York State Liquor Authority.

CB 10 is still in the early stage of the proposal process and will further examine the effects of the plan before moving forward, said CB 10 Chair Henrietta Lyle.

“There’s still a lot of work being done looking at the economic effect and police reports by the community board,” said Lyle. “It is still in the early stages.”

As more bars and restaurants continue to pop up in bustling Central Harlem, CB 10 aims to limit the late night crowds that have appeared in other bar-ridden areas of Manhattan, like Murray Hill and the Meatpacking District.

“They’re nervous that Harlem will become like the Lower East Side or Meatpacking District with lots of people in the streets, but we are still very far away from that,” said

Susannah Koteen, the proprietor of the Italian restaurant Lido on Frederick Douglass Blvd. and W.117th th.

“We’re keeping people in the community, hiring people from the community and bringing money into the community, so it seems strange that would want to hinder business,” she added.

In August, CB 6 approved a similar proposal forcing bars and restaurants in the Murray Hill area to meet with the New York State Liquor Authority if they wanted to keep serving later than 2 a.m.

“It’s hard to do business in Manhattan,” said Koteen. “If businesses want to stay open a little later and make a few extra bucks, why not?”

BY Joseph Tepper