Following a contentious meeting and several compromises, a CB2 committee unanimously approved a liquor license for a forthcoming cafe at 71 Pineapple St.
Angry neighbors showed up to battle over the serving of alcohol in the cafe’s backyard space, which they said was unfit for a residential neighborhood. That fight, however, turned out to be a non-issue tonight when the owners were informed by the Community Board that a separate application would need to be filed to approve the serving of alcohol outside.
Still, the neighbors of the buildings that surround the space said that any venue that serves alcohol, inside or out, would be a nuisance on this block. Representatives from City Council member Steve Levin and Assemblymember Joan Millman’s offices echoed the sentiment, asking the Community Board not to approve the request for a full liquor license.
Before finding out that they would not be able to serve alcohol regardless of tonight’s decision, co-owner Tom Finniean said in his presentation to the Board that the backyard would close nightly at 8 p.m. and the interior space was going to be soundproofed to insure noise doesn’t travel outside.
Finniean said that the still-unnamed venue was going to be a European-style cafe that would serve light fare throughout the day, including pastries in the morning and sandwiches, soups and salads for lunch.
“It’s going to be a comfortable place for neighbors to gather,” he said. The space was not going to be a bar and the focus was not going to be on alcohol. The new cafe will open in about four or five months, he said.
Marian Wood, who spoke on behalf of Steve Levin’s office, said that it was a difficult situation, but that there were too many residences too close to the venue.
“There is not a big need for this space in the neighborhood,” she said, adding there were already 13 venues in the area that sell alcohol.
Later in the evening that argument was disputed by John Harrison, the co-chair of the Health, Environment and Social Services Committee.
“I beg to differ that this a purely residential neighborhood,” he said.
Ultimately, the committee decided that since alcohol would not be served in the backyard space, the liquor license should be approved. Tonight’s vote cleared a major hurdle for the venue. Next, the full Community Board has to approve the proposal before the Community Board presents its decision to the State Liquor Authority, which has ultimate authority to approve or disapprove a license.