My Favorite Bar Is Battling Neighborhood Oppression
Pieces -- my favorite hangout (at 8 Christopher Street) -- is looking for a new home, but it's coming up against the usual 2011 prejudices, repressions, and challenges.
Owner Eric Einstein has looked into relocating to 61 West 8th Street, the former Patty and Bun burger pub, two doors down from Gray's Papaya.
He wrote the West 8th Street Block Association this letter:
"I am hoping to work with you to get your support for my application [for a liquor license] as I have a longstanding and good history in the neighborhood. Pieces has been in Greenwich Village for 18 years this week and has had no noise complaints in that time.
"I have staff at the door at all times after 8 pm to proactively keep noise down on the sidewalk and to fix any situation on the rare occasion that we do receive a call about noise from a neighbor. I am one of the few small bars I know of that does this.
"Pieces has always been a neighborhood bar serving as a gathering spot and social outlet for local gay men and women. The new Pieces will carry on that tradition.
"West 8th has so many empty storefronts now that it would be great if a good business with a proven track record could make it a little less bleak."
Sounds perfectly reasonable, right?
But Einstein was CC'd on a letter from one of the association people. It said:
"In checking the website of Pieces bar, I found the following operating hours. Tues-Saturday 2pm to 4am, Sunday and Monday 2pm to 2am. This indicated a late night drinking bar with music and a good deal of in and out traffic late at night. This is not acceptable.
"The last thing 8th Street needs is another bar. When Patty and Bun were in the building, they had a few special events to try to generate business, the music was so loud the entire build was shaking.
"If I find, when application is made at the CB2 SLA Committe meeting in July that they are attempting to run the bar until 4am on any night of the week, I will vigorously oppose this license and ask that you do the same. Quality of life on 8th Street is difficult to maintain, this would be an added burden.
"If, as Mr. Einstein asserted, there is a staff member at the door after 8pm, then, this indicates there must have been a problem at some point previously with unruly or noisy clientele.
"This is not an eating establishment but a bar/lounge. As with other bars and restaurants that have opened and/or tried to open on 8th Street, Pieces Bar owners will have to sign an agreement about operating policy and hours prior to obtaining a liquor license for the 8th Street Block Association. No loud music, no velvet ropes outside the establishment, no bouncer standing outside the premises, and NO OPERATING HOURS BEYOND 2am on any night of the week."
Oy. Eighth Street is dying and these people are putting up old-fogey roadblocks?
Get the This Week's Top Stories Newsletter
Every week we collect the latest news, music and arts stories — along with film and food reviews and the best things to do this week — so that you'll never miss Village Voice's biggest stories.