The ghost of Café Remy has returned.
An application for a new liquor license at 7110 Third Avenue – the former site of Café Remy, a now-shuttered Ridge watering hole with an adverse history of drunken fights and underage drinking – was met with overwhelming opposition by board members, residents and even local politicians at a Monday, September 21 Community Board 10 meeting.
According to Lori Willis, chair of the board’s Police and Public Safety Committee, the proposed applicant did not appear in front of the committee – as requested – but rather provided a paper submission to the board complete with floor plans and an unsigned CB 10 questionnaire. Furthermore, the applicant’s attorney advised the board that no appearance would be made at the full board meeting.
In addition, Willis said, a request for the applicant to hold off until the board’s October meeting was refused.
“[This location] has a long adverse history including numerous complaints for noise, disorderly groups, public urination, fighting and underage drinking,” Willis said. “The premises also had an SLA (State Liquor Authority) violation for sale of alcohol to a minor, and workers’ compensation violations, and has been noted by the 68th Precinct as a problem location, and is the subject of many 911 complaints.”
In late 2014, the owner of Café Remy – who had tried to open up a new restaurant, Ridge Bar & Grill, at the same location – surrendered its liquor license to the SLA for safe keeping, which prompted a petition signed by over 100 residents imploring the agency not to license another premises at its location, citing the dried-up bar as having ongoing quality-of-life issues.
A number of residents were on hand both at the preliminary committee meeting and the full board meeting to voice their concerns.
“The residents stated a very emotional plea,” said Willis, “citing terrible history that they had to endure.”
That history included drunk and disorderly patrons loitering, cursing, vomiting, urinating and even defecating on their property, as well as doing drugs and drinking on their steps and leaving bottles behind at the scene.
“The residents unequivocally attribute these conditions to the premises as, since the premises have been closed, their quality-of-life has returned to normal,” Willis asserted before the board voted not only to recommend that the SLA deny the application, but also to deliver a letter to the SLA urging it to do the same.
“I know anybody who’s lived through the experience of Café Remy – and I know some of you have in this room – knows what happens when you don’t have cooperative businesspeople,” stressed Councilmember Vincent Gentile prior to the vote.
Gentile, in November 2014, urged the SLA to pull Remy’s license – which it eventually did – after owners, in March of that year, attempted to transfer it to Ridge Bar & Grill without paying its fines.
“It’s not a good scene,” he contended, “so I agree with the committee’s vote and the decision to oppose the new application for an SLA license at that site.”
By press time, the applicant had not returned a request for comment. The board’s vote is advisory only; the ultimate decision will be made by the SLA.