Yesterday, Grub Street reported that LeNell’s, Red Hook’s “bourbon mecca,” as Cutlets put it, will be relocating in the next year. We’ve been talking to owner LeNell Smothers, and it’s true, she’s “diligently looking for space” and hoping to stay in the ‘hood. But it does not seem to be a development issue.
Here’s the exciting part: Smothers isn’t just seeking store space, but a storefront and bar, side-by-side, or at least close by. Yes folks, LeNell’s bar is coming to Brooklyn — or maybe Manhattan. Her incentive to stay nearby is pretty strong, though finding space is challenging. In her own words:
If I stay within 1000 feet from my current location, I can transfer the liquor license upon State Liquor Authority approval. If I go outside of that, I must apply for a brand new liquor license. There’s not much available within my 1000 feet. I have two more possibilities I’m currently inquiring about within the alloted distance for transfer. I am also looking in other areas outside of Red Hook.
Smothers also pointed out that getting a new liquor license in Manhattan these days is no piece of cake. As for her vision, Smother’s isn’t giving up too many details at this point, but she told us the bar will “focus on American whiskey and other domestic spirits but will also feature classic and original cocktails. Rest is secret.” Fair enough.