Taking aim at a controversial club

Closing down controversial karaoke bar Crown KTV is the avowed goal of one local panel, which just voted to recommend that the State Liquor Authority (SLA) not renew the club’s license, unless a laundry list of conditions are met.

Members of Community Board 10 extensively debated during their January general meeting whether to recommend that SLA deny the liquor license outright, but ultimately decided to take the other path as a way of potentially having some control, given that liquor license renewals do not usually trigger public hearings.

Crown KTV – at 848 64th Street, just yards away from Public School 69 — has had a troubled history since it opened in 2009, even then with stipulations that the club has flouted, according to the board.

In 2013 alone – a year described as a relatively quiet one for the club by board member Lori Willis – the 68th Precinct reported 50 9-1-1 calls related to Crown KTV, as well as eight arrests, including two on felony charges, according to the board.

On August 7, 2011, there were five people stabbed in front of the club, and on September 11, 2010, a fight at the club resulted in the bouncer breaking a leg. There also have been drug issues recorded in both 2010 and 2011, as well as underage drinking.

The board previously asked the SLA twice to revoke Crown KTV’s liquor license; a hearing held after the first request resulted in a $30,000 civil penalty to the club, which paid it. There are still four remaining unadjudicated charges dating back to 2011, and current issues include patrons leaving the club at 7 or 8 a.m., when children are arriving at school, as well as large groups congregating outside the club.

A perceived lack of responsiveness on the part of the club’s owner and manager – both of whom claimed to be unaware of any problems at the establishment in 2013 during a meeting of CB 10’s Police and Public Safety Committee, according to committee Chair Fran Vella-Marrone — figured largely in the board’s reaction, with numerous members contending that the board give the liquor license renewal a thumbs-down.

“The definition of insanity is doing something over with the same results,” contended board member Stephen Harrison, who stressed, “We are getting nothing from these people. I think we vote no.”

Susan Romero concurred. “If you have a place posing an outright danger, we can’t in all good conscience approve it,” she said.

Nonetheless, board members narrowly turned down a motion to oppose the renewal of the club’s liquor license without condition, subsequently voting overwhelmingly to attach 16 stipulations to approval of the renewal, including requiring soundproofing, requiring that a minimum number of staffers to be on hand (eight from 8 p.m. to 4 a.m.), prohibiting the use of promoters, prohibiting entry to people less than 21 years old, and the use of three licensed security guards between 7 p.m. and 4 a.m.

In addition, board stipulations include making sure the premises are empty of patrons by closing time (3 a.m., Sunday to Thursday, and 4 a.m., Friday and Saturday), with last drinks served at 2 a.m. The use of a video ID system is also included in the stipulations, which also would require that the club “not utilize any sign that uses the term ‘music club’ or ‘night club.’”

Board members also agreed to ask elected officials for help in getting the club shuttered, citing the successful closure of another problematic club, 93 Lounge, in 2013.

“Please make this a priority,” board member Jaynemarie Capetanakis, who is also principal of P.S. 69, asked the representative of newly elected Councilmember Carlos Menchaca, who represents the area. “We are calling upon our city officials to help. We really need your help.”

The board’s recommendation to the SLA is advisory only; it is up to the SLA to decide upon the liquor license renewal and what, if any, stipulations should be attached to it.

Efforts to reach the owner of Crown KTV were unsuccessful by press time.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.