State liquor board rejects ‘Pleasure’! Denies nightclub’s bid to reopen on Avenue U

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Gravesend’s Pleasure Island nightclub may as well be called Desert Island.

The State Liquor Authority rejected owner Mark Shteynshly­uger’s liquor license after Community Board 15 denied the its request to reconsider opposition to the controversial lounge on Avenue U between E. Eighth and E. Ninth streets.

The liquor panel extended the club a life preserver on Oct. 19 by postponing a vote on the application for 30 days so that Shteynshlyuger could tweak the plan to address the community board’s concerns.

But according to CB15 Chairwoman Theresa Scavo, the bar owner waited more than three weeks before asking for another sit-down, and, even if he would have come to it sooner, the board was determined to block Shteynshlyuger from reopening the club he closed in 2008.

Scavo cited the club’s bad reputation — when opened between 2006 and 2008, is was believed by many to be a den of underage drinking, fights and wild after-hours parties — as the reason for the denial.

“It was just going to be the same histrionics,” Scavo said. “We don’t need those kinds of problems in the area.”

CB15’s executive committee voted 15–0 against the proposal on Nov. 10.

State Liquor Authority spokesman William Crowley said the state’s decision to reject the application six days later was swayed by Shteynshly­uger’s inability to win support from the board — and by angry letters from residents and local elected officials.

“We received a tremendous amount of opposition,” Crowley said. “It was not in the public’s interest to grant the application.”

In December, Shteynshlyuger filed plans to reopen the bar as a high-end lounge and began renovating the shuttered space this year — but the comeback hit a snag in June when CB15 recommended the state deny his request for a new liquor license.

That’s when opponents of the plan redoubled their efforts to stop Shteynshlyuger in his tracks.

“This business was a plague on the community,” said Assemblyman Steven Cymbrowitz (D–Sheepshead Bay), an outspoken critic of Pleasure Island’s ill-fated return. “This is how government is supposed to work.”

Shteynshly­uger’s attorney George Karp could not be reached for comment.

Reach reporter Daniel Bush at or by calling (718) 260-8310. Follow him at
Updated 11:48 am, January 16, 2019
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