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Custom Wine Bar is going back to the drawing board.
Community Board 1 voted to table Custom Wine Bar’s (644 Driggs Avenue) request for a liquor license last week, after the bar owners made significant alterations to their application following a contentious CB1 Public Safety meeting last month.
The establishment’s owners, who are hoping to locate in a former hairdresser shop on the corner of Driggs and Metropolitan avenues, have promised to reduce their hours of operation and withdraw their request outdoor seating in reaction to criticisms from several neighboring residents.
“We understand the things that they are saying, regarding concerns about gang violence and the like, nonetheless, we are prepared to make concessions,” said Custom owner Stefan Mailvaganam. “We are here to be a part of this community.”
On August 5, a group of two dozen Williamsburg residents raised their objections to Custom’s application, concerned mainly with the high density of bars in the neighborhood and the amount of noise generated from local revelers.
“The neighborhood has been overrun with bars,” said resident Denny Thompkins.“It’s nothing personal to the people opening this business but we do not need any more bars.Our neighborhood is commonly referred to as party central.”
Other residents, including Nancy Richter, expressed anxieties about the foot traffic directed to the block with the opening of the Knitting Factory, a music venue that will keep hours past 2 a.m.
“The Knitting Factory is opening tonight, making Metro and Driggs a choice destination.Knitting Factory step one.Custom Bar step two.Please don’t open a bar on this block,” said Richter.
Greg Filipovic, who is a part owner of the building that Mailvaganam wants to install Custom, argued that the bar would be a benefit to the neighborhood, providing foot traffic to an otherwise dark and quiet street.
“The neighborhood has never been safer, after the bars that have opened up,” said Filipovic.“This is something that is going to be beneficial for the community.There are no stores in the area.It’s a desert. People spray paint my building.”
In the end, community board members voted to send the application back to the Public Safety Committee, which will meet on October 8 at 6:30 .m. at 435 Graham Avenue to reconsider the application.
Public Safety Committee Chair Mieszko Kalita is hopeful that the bar owners and residents will work out a compromise.
“The owners are willing to bend even more than before, which is a good sign,” said Kalita.“I hope they can meet in the middle.”
©2009 Community Newspaper Group
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