On a bad evening, outside Xtreme Billiards, there can be loud arguments among patrons.
The noise level is excruciating, say nearby residents, who also complain of underage drinking and teens, who can’t handle the booze, getting sick on the sidewalk.
Recently, the establishment’s liquor license and Department of Health certificate were seized by the 68th Precinct, which has been targeting the place because of the number of complaints, and who took the liquor license because it was issued to Xtreme Billiards and the bar -- which no longer has billiards or an arcade or an Internet café -- is now operating under a different name, F1.
Notwithstanding that, the owner of the establishment is hoping to expand his business, and recently applied to the State Liquor Authority (SLA) for a second stand-up bar. Hoping to prevent that, people living near Xtreme Billiards, 833 65th Street, descended on Community Board 10 to make their problems known.
The occasion was the December meeting of CB 10’s Police & Public Safety Committee, held at the board office, at 8119 Fifth Avenue, where a standing-room-only crowd let their tales of woe fall on sympathetic ears.
The board had previously advised SLA not to grant Xtreme Billiards a liquor license because of the number of underage patrons who would frequent the establishment for its other offerings, recalled Susan Pulaski, the committee chair, who noted that the bar had been summonsed once for serving liquor to a minor, and had later had its liquor license suspended for 10 days because it hadn’t paid the fine.
“They turn on the music real loud every night so we can’t sleep,” said one man. “That’s why everyone complains. Every weekend, it’s almost like the ceiling is shaking. It’s harmful to the health.”
“Every night, the noise is terrible,” one woman attested. “During the weekend, we are awakened in the middle of the night with pounding noise. It’s really horrible.” Also awful is “the really dirty sidewalk,” she continued, as well as “the customers who come out cursing each other.
“There’s no way you can live with these conditions,” she said.
Another man said he “lived across the park” from Xtreme Billiards, “And I hear their screaming at night, the profanity. I think drinking is causing the problem.”
Nonetheless, Alan Gardner, the attorney for Xtreme Billiards, said that, in his view, the NYPD had taken the establishment’s license “without any semblance of a legal order, and without regard to the fact that the SLA said they have a perfectly valid license.”
While the business is required “to notify the SLA and put that name on the license,” the fact that Xtreme Billiards is operating under a different name is, contended Gardner, “A minor infraction, and never grounds for closing an establishment.” Gardner also alleged that the person the 68th Precinct had spoken to at SLA was, “ A clerk in Albany that I wouldn’t have spoken to, to find out if the Liquor Authority was closed on Christmas Day.”
However, P.O. Joseph Trischetta, a member of the 68th Precinct’s Community Affairs unit, pointed out that the NYPD had descended on the establishment the night the license was taken because they had received “information that a promoter was promoting a party and it was expected there would be several hundred people in attendance.”
In addition, Trischetta noted, “There were previous incidents that we had been for. Several arrests were made in the establishment over the last couple of weeks. That’s why we were there again Friday. An arrest was made again Friday. Your liquor license was under Xtreme Billiards. The establishment is operating under the name F1. The paperwork for the corporation was filed but wasn’t approved. All the modifications you talked about doing to the premises have already been made. That’s why we contacted SLA. We didn’t contact a clerk. The person who was contacted was a higher-up, and informed us to take the action that was taken.”
The problems that local residents have had with the establishment, as well as the issues surrounding the way business is conducted there, appear to have reinforced concerns that board members have had with it, under whatever name it is operating.
“I recollect that when we talked about the location, it was very confusing, because so many different things were going on,” recalled board Chair Dean Rasinya. “Unfortunately, our worst nightmare came true. It was not successful, and now they are going for Plan B, a full liquor license, a full bar, and everyone has a grand old time. I understand they’ve invested money, but it’s not nice for the community, and, from what we have been hearing from the community, it’s not a well-run establishment. Now you want another bar, and you expect us to think that’s a good thing.”
Board members clearly did not think so. After hearing a detailed report of the circumstances provided by Pulaski, they voted overwhelming at their December meeting, which was held in the community room at Shore Hill, 9000 Shore Road, to recommend that SLA not grant Xtreme Billiards a license for a second bar.