He banned kids, but he won’t nix the new kids on the block.
A bar-owner famous for banning children from one of his watering holes declined a Bedford-Stuyvesant resident’s suggestion that his new neighborhood tavern offer preferential treatment to longtime locals over hipster newcomers during a community board meeting on Monday.
“That’s kind of pushing it,” said Frank Moe, who runs the notoriously child-free Clinton Hill bar Hot Bird and plans to open another tavern at Marcus Garvey Boulevard and Hancock Street. “I feel like my place is to treat everybody the same.”
A majority of Community Board 3 members approved Moe’s new drinking establishment, voting 16–11 in favor with one abstention and one recusal, despite the local’s concerns that it will be one of a new breed of bars that he said are more welcoming to interlopers than existing residents.
“I go to a lot of these establishments and I know it’s all the new people, the hipsters that just moved in,” said Ryan Joseph. “They get a little better treatment and I don’t want that to happen.”
Joseph isn’t the only resident worried the new bar won’t fit into its surroundings — others are troubled by the thought of a business dedicated solely to boozing setting up shop on a residential block. Moe said there won’t be any disc jockeys or live music, but the bar will stay open until 2 am, and the late-night merriment may keep neighbors awake, said one member.
“This is a drinking establishment in a residential community where people have their homes,” said board member Christopher James, who voted against the liquor license.
The new bar is also a block away from both the Glorious Church of God and a historic armory operating as a homeless shelter — placing the project in the midst of religious services and the comings and goings of the transient population. Community members questioned the wisdom of placing a bar so close to the refuge, and argued shelter dwellers might clash with the clientele.
But Moe pledged an all-inclusive, low-key atmosphere where neighbors will be welcome to mingle over a drink, and assured the panel that anyone — homeless, hipster, or otherwise — who causes trouble with other customers will get the boot.
“If people are well-behaved and want to come in and have a drink and hang out, I have no problem with anybody,” he said. “If you behave in a manor that is disruptive to other patrons, in that situation we call the police — but it is rare that happens.”
The community board’s vote is only advisory — the State Liquor Authority will ultimately decide whether the bar gets its license or not.