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HomeCoronavirusNY Governor: Suspension of Liquor Licenses for 36 Establishments for COVID-19 Violations

NY Governor: Suspension of Liquor Licenses for 36 Establishments for COVID-19 Violations

Governor Cuomo Announces 36 Additional Establishments’ Liquor Licenses Suspended For Egregious Violations Of Coronavirus-Related Regulations

Seven Establishments’ Liquor Licenses Suspended for Illegally Operating in Micro-Cluster Zones

279 Businesses’ Liquor Licenses Have Been Suspended During Public Health Emergency

1,867 Charges Have Been Filed and Processed To Date; Updated List of Suspensions and Charges Available Here

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced the state has suspended liquor licenses for 36 additional bars and restaurants in New York State after finding egregious violations of pandemic-related Executive Orders, bringing the total number of liquor licenses suspended during the coronavirus pandemic to 279. In total, 1,867 charges have been filed against bars and restaurants for violating rules meant to stop the spread and keep New Yorkers safe. Businesses found in violation of COVID-19 regulations face fines up to $10,000 per violation, while egregious violations can result in the immediate suspension of a bar or restaurant’s liquor license.

Seven establishments’ liquor licenses were suspended for illegally operating in state-designated micro-cluster zones, which are subject to stronger restrictions due to increased COVID spread in the community.

“New York still has one of the country’s lowest infection rates and that is a testament to the toughness and unity of New Yorkers all doing what they can to limit spread. Unfortunately, however, some establishments have continued to ignore the rules, putting their customers, as well as their community as a whole, at risk,” Governor Cuomo said. “If we let our guard down and ignore basic public health rules, this winter could be one of the darkest periods of this pandemic and we simply cannot let that happen. We know the vaccine is on the way, we know there is a light at the end of the tunnel, but if we let up now and become undisciplined, it’s going to take us even longer to get there.”

State Liquor Authority Chair Vincent Bradley said, “As we move into the colder weather and are forced indoors, it is imperative that businesses stay compliant across the state. New Yorkers must continue wearing masks, practicing social distancing, and following the life-saving protocols put into place to keep us all healthy.”

The State Liquor Authority continues enforcement efforts statewide, with a specific focus on areas with dramatic increases in COVID-19 cases, including state-designated micro-cluster zones.

A county-by-county breakdown of the 36 establishments issued emergency orders of summary suspension from the State Liquor Authority Board is below.

In New York City:

  • Bronx – 3
  • Brooklyn – 4
  • Manhattan – 4
  • Queens – 8
  • Staten Island – 4

Outside of New York City:

  • Albany – 1
  • Broome – 1
  • Chautauqua – 1
  • Erie – 2
  • Nassau – 1
  • Suffolk – 4
  • Westchester – 3

Emergency Summary Suspensions are imposed when the SLA finds the continued operation of a licensed business threatens public health and safety. Suspension orders are served immediately and remain in effect indefinitely, with the maximum penalty including the permanent revocation of the license and fines of up to $10,000 per violation. Licensees subject to an emergency suspension are entitled to an expedited hearing before an SLA Administrative Law Judge. The emergency suspensions were ordered by Chairman Bradley, Commissioner Lily Fan and Commissioner Greeley Ford at special meetings of the Full Board between October 23rd and December 6th, conducted by a digitally recorded video under social distancing guidelines.

Following are the establishments which were fined, summonsed and penalized.

“Plush 101” at 53 Westchester Square in the Bronx, on December 6, 2020

On December 5th, following community complaints, investigators with the state’s multi-agency task force and NYPD officers conducted an inspection of the premises. Despite finding the establishment’s front roll-down gate closed in an attempt to conceal their operations, investigators were able to enter through a side door. Inside, investigators documented the bar in full operation nearly an hour past the mandatory 10:00 PM statewide closing time implemented to combat COVID, with 51 patrons crowded into a space that has a maximum occupancy of just 18 under COVID-related regulations. Investigators observed numerous patrons standing and mingling without facial coverings, patrons smoking hookah, and at least four employees without facial coverings. In addition, there was no evidence of any food being served.

“Paper Rain” at 2770 Atlantic Avenue in Brooklyn, on December 4, 2020

On December 1st, investigators with the state’s multi-agency task force and NYPD officers conducted an inspection of the premises based on advertisements that the bar was hosting a “stripper party” from 6:00 PM to midnight, which would violate the mandatory 10:00 PM statewide closing time implemented to combat COVID. After finding the front door locked, investigators gained entry and observed exotic dancers performing lap dances — a violation of the Governor’s Executive Orders and the establishment’s liquor license, which does not permit adult entertainment. Investigators additionally documented six patrons ignoring social distancing while standing and drinking without facial coverings, a dancer standing and drinking at the bar, two kitchen employees without facial coverings, and a host of fire and life safety violations.

“Crystals Restaurant and Bistro” at 9911 39th Avenue in Queens, on December 4, 2020

On December 3rd, an SLA investigator inspected the establishment and documented multiple violations, including the manager working behind the bar without a facial covering and patron without a facial covering standing and drinking at the bar. In addition, the business — which is licensed as a restaurant — was not serving food, with the investigator finding the kitchen non-operational in flagrant violation of both existing Alcoholic Beverage Control Law and the food requirement guidelines implemented to prevent bar-like congregation that has led to spikes of COVID-19 cases in other states.

“NY Pizza Café & Spanish Food Restaurant” at 1485 Myrtle Avenue in Brooklyn, on November 29, 2020

On November 28th, investigators with the state’s multi-agency task force and NYPD officers conducted surveillance on the premises, finding the establishment attempting to conceal their operations by locking the front roll-down gate. At approximately 10:30 PM, the inspection team gained entry to the premises, finding twenty patrons inside sitting at tables, standing at the bar without facemasks, and drinking alcohol — all in violation of the statewide curfew on on-premises service. Additionally, the owner was not wearing

facial covering and could not produce any receipts for food, as required. This licensee is a repeat offender — their license was previously suspended on August 23rd for egregious violations of COVID-related regulations and reinstated after the licensee paid a $10,000 fine.

“Just Karaoke” at 157-16 Northern Boulevard in Queens, on November 29, 2020

On November 27th, NYPD officers found the bar — which was operating in a “Yellow Zone” area — open past the statewide 10:00 PM curfew for on-premises operations, with 32 patrons inside, nearly twice the permitted occupancy under COVID-related regulations. Officers documented eight karaoke rooms occupied, including one room with twelve patrons at a single table. Both the licensee and the manager were not wearing facial coverings, with the manager admitting there was no food available for sale, in violation of existing Alcoholic Beverage Control law and COVID-related Executive Orders. The NYPD report previously finding approximately 31 patrons inside the premises on November 24th, with no food being served and numerous patrons observed without facial coverings.

“Tavern 157” at 157-12 Northern Boulevard in Queens, on November 29, 2020

On November 27th, an SLA investigator inspected the premises, which was operating in a “Yellow Zone” area, at 11:20 PM, finding the business operating well past the statewide 10:00 PM curfew for on-premises operations. The investigator documented 24 patrons inside the establishment, exceeding the maximum occupancy requirements under COVID-related regulations. In addition, five employees were not wearing facial coverings, tables were not properly spaced, and more than four patrons were seated at tables, a violation of the state’s micro-cluster rules for “Yellow Zones.” The licensee was also charged with “availing” their liquor license by allowing a person not approved by the SLA to own or operate the premises. Finally, the investigator found bottles of tequila and whiskey behind the bar, even though the location is only licensed to sell beer and wine.

“Mac’s Public House” at 130 Lincoln Avenue on Staten Island, on November 27, 2020

On November 25th, an SLA Investigator conducting an inspection was refused entry to the premises, operating in an “Orange Zone” area, a serious violation of the law that undermines public safety. Despite being denied entry, the investigator documented five patrons dining inside the establishment, in direct violation of “Orange Zone” regulations which prohibit indoor service in order to protect New Yorkers during a dangerous increase in COVID cases.

“Déjà Vu Sports Bar” at 297 Port Richmond Avenue on Staten Island, on November 24, 2020

The NYPD report an inspection on November 8th found the premises attempting to conceal their operations by locking the front roll-down gate in an effort to appear closed.

Officers gained entry through a side door at approximately 12:15 AM, documenting approximately 40 patrons inside — more than double the maximum occupancy under COVID-related regulations. In addition, the premises was operating in violation of the statewide 10:00 PM curfew for on-premises service. On November 21st, an SLA investigator conducting a follow-up inspection found the premises — then operating in a “Yellow Zone” area — again violating maximum occupancy requirements. The SLA investigator also observed patrons standing and drinking, four employees without facial coverings, and tables improperly spaced.

“El Paraiso Lounge” at 236 Port Richmond Avenue on Staten Island, on November 24, 2020

On November 21st, an SLA investigator inspected the premises, finding patrons without facial coverings ignoring social distancing protocols, including six who were standing and drinking at the bar and two who were dancing. In addition, the owner, bartender and a cook were not wearing facial coverings. The business was issued a warning by the SLA in mid-November following reports by the NYPD that the premises violated maximum occupancy and social distancing requirements on October 18th and 24th.

“Recuerdos Mexicanos” at 232 Port Richmond Avenue on Staten Island, on November 24, 2020

On November 21st, investigators with the state’s multi-agency task force and NYPD officers found the bar, operating in a “Yellow Zone” area, open past the statewide 10:00 PM curfew for on-premises operations. Despite the licensee’s attempt to conceal their illegal operations by locking the premise’s roll-down gate, investigators gained entrance and documented 26 patrons inside — including two who were playing pool without facial coverings, five who were standing at the bar without facial coverings, and four who were inside a tent illegally erected behind the establishment. In addition, three employees were not wearing facial coverings and two tables had more than four patrons, the maximum allowed per table under “Yellow Zone” rules designed to stop the spread of COVID.

“Rockwell’s Bar & Grill” at 60 Terry Road in Smithtown, on November 22, 2020

On November 20th, investigators with the state’s multi-agency task force observed two patrons without facial coverings standing outside the premises drinking. Investigators then entered the packed bar, documenting 54 patrons inside, including numerous patrons who were standing, drinking, and walking throughout the premises without facial coverings. This establishment is a repeat offender, with charges brought by the SLA just two weeks earlier on November 5th for violating COVID-related Executive Orders.

“Station Pub” at 3 Lakeland Avenue in Sayville, on November 22, 2020

On November 20th, investigators with the state’s multi-agency task force observed 32 patrons inside the premises completely ignoring social distancing protocols, with

patrons freely walking throughout the establishment without facial coverings, no evidence of food being served, and a bartender not wearing a facial covering. The owner refused to wear a facemask and became belligerent with investigators, refusing to provide the establishment’s liquor license or his ID — both serious violations, independent of COVID-related rules. Photos taken by investigators following the visit showed the premises in full operation after the mandatory 10:00 PM statewide closing time implemented to combat COVID. This establishment is a repeat offender, with charges brought by the SLA on November 6th for violating COVID-related Executive Orders.

“Slate” at 54 West 21st Street in Manhattan, on November 22, 2020

On November 19th, an SLA investigator entered the premises and observed 15 patrons without facial coverings drinking, standing, and walking around freely. Four patrons were playing pool, two were playing ping pong and two were dancing — despite restrictions on ancillary activities like this that risk spreading COVID. In addition, the establishment was hosting a private party that was contracted to end at 10:30 PM, in violation of the mandatory 10:00 PM statewide closing time implemented to combat COVID.

“Uncle Chop Chop” at 7 Cornelia Street in Manhattan, on November 22, 2020

On November 14th, NYPD officers conducted an inspection, finding patrons drinking without food and a bartender without a facial covering. The owner, who was present during the inspection, told police he would not abide by Executive Orders in the future. On November 19th, an SLA investigator conducted a follow-up visit, finding the establishment operating after the mandatory 10:00 PM statewide closing time. During this inspection, two patrons were observed drinking at what was later discovered to be an illegal unlimited drink special. This establishment is a repeat offender, with charges brought by the SLA in August for Executive Order violations.

“Clinton Bar & Grill” at 2460 Clinton Street in West Seneca, on November 20, 2020

On November 18th, SLA investigators conducted surveillance of the premises, observing multiple cars park at and patrons enter, despite the fact the establishment’s lights were off in an apparent attempt to appear be closed. When investigators entered, they found approximately 20 patrons crowded around the bar drinking, standing, and mingling well after the mandatory 10:00 PM statewide closing time implemented to combat COVID.

“Cabo Sports Bar & Mexican Grill” at 271-11 Union Turnpike in New Hyde Park, on November 20, 2020

On November 18th, an SLA investigator conducting an inspection observed 43 patrons crowded inside the premises — despite the establishment having a maximum occupancy

of just 25 under COVID-related regulations — and documented numerous patrons and employees without facial coverings, tables improperly spaced, and a complete disregard for social distancing protocols. Before exiting, the investigator warned the owner about the violations and ensured the licensee was aware of the mandatory 10:00 PM statewide closing time. However, when the investigator returned at 10:30 PM, the premises was still operating, with patrons drinking, congregating and smoking hookah inside.

“CJ’s Bar and Lounge” at 137-09 Cross Bay Boulevard in Queens, on November 18, 2020

On November 17th, an SLA investigator and NYPD officers entered the premises and were able to purchase drinks without food, in violation of COVID-related Executive Orders. In addition, they observed four other patrons drinking without food. Investigators left the premises at approximately 10:20 PM, noting six patrons remaining inside the after the mandatory 10:00 PM statewide closing time. This licensee is a repeat offender — their liquor license was previously suspended on July 25th for egregious violations and reinstated after the licensee paid a $35,000 fine.

“Best Pizza and Dive Bar” at 2095 Montauk Highway in Amagansett, on November 18, 2020

On November 15th, plainclothes officers from the East Hampton Town Police Department entered the establishment and observed approximately 20 patrons seated at and standing around the crowded bar, mingling, ignoring social distancing, and not wearing facial coverings. Officers ordered and were served alcoholic beverages without food, a violation of COVID-related Executive Orders, and documented no food being served during the entirety of their inspection. Bartenders also continually removed their facial coverings to talk to patrons. This establishment is a repeat offender, with charges brought by the SLA just days earlier for Executive Order violations based on a referral from the East Hampton Town Police Department.

“Agua Azul Deli Grocery” at 35 Sherman Avenue in Manhattan, on November 18, 2020

On November 15th, an SLA investigator and NYPD officers entered the premises and found six patrons drinking alcoholic beverages inside the licensed grocery store, which is not permitted to serve alcohol for on-premises consumption at all. All but one of the patrons were not wearing facial coverings, with investigators noting two employees and a cook were also not wearing facial coverings. Additionally, NYPD officers discovered the store was illegally selling prescription drugs, and the SLA investigator found an open bottle of hard liquor, even though the establishment’s license only authorizes the sale of beer, along with two illegal gambling devices.

“The Cowboy” at 45 West Chippewa in Buffalo, on November 13, 2020

On November 8th, the Erie County Department of Health and the Erie County Sheriff’s Office conducted an inspection of the crowded premises, finding approximately 30 patrons in a nightclub-like atmosphere with a DJ and patrons standing, drinking and mingling without facial coverings. Erie County DOH report previously visiting the premises on August 21st and issuing a warning regarding employees without facial coverings.

“Bachata” at 214 Fulton Avenue in Hempstead, on November 8, 2020

On November 6th, during a joint inspection with SLA Investigators, the Hempstead Police Department and the Nassau County Fire Marshalls Office discovered 71 patrons packed inside the premises, despite a maximum occupancy of just 44 under COVID-related regulations. The inspection team found patrons crowded around the bar, dancing, playing pool and ignoring social distancing throughout the premises. Additionally, three employees were observed working without facial coverings and no food of any kind was observed being served.

“Café Serata” at 1808 Hone Avenue in the Bronx, on November 6, 2020

On November 6th, SLA investigators conducted an inspection of the premises, finding employees without facial coverings and alcohol being served without food, in violation of COVID-related rules implemented to prevent bar-like congregation that has led to COVID spikes in other states. This establishment is a repeat offender — their liquor license was previously suspended on April 1, 2020 after egregious violations of COVID-related regulations continued following repeated warnings. Their license was reinstated earlier this year after the licensee agreed to pay a $35,000 fine and abide by all Executive Orders.

“The Monarch” at 23 Meadow Street in Brooklyn, on November 6, 2020

On October 31st, the New York City Sheriff’s Office conducted surveillance of the premises, observing approximately 150 people dressed in costumes enter the establishment. At approximately 1:00 AM, Sheriff deputies entered the premises and found nearly 400 patrons dancing, standing, and drinking, with no regard for social distancing and few wearing facial coverings.

“Big Shots Kennedy Grill” at 674 Route 394 in Kennedy, on November 4, 2020

On October 30th, following community complaints, an SLA investigator inspected the premises, observing approximately 20 patrons without facial coverings standing around the bar, drinking, mingling and congregating while ignoring social distancing. The dining area had been turned into a makeshift dance floor, with tables pushed against the wall and patrons dancing and playing pool and darts. The investigator was also able to purchase a drink without food from a bartender without a facial covering, noting no evidence of food being served during the entirety of the inspection.

“Buen Ambiente” at 466B East Main Street in Patchogue, on November 4, 2020

On October 24th, officers from the Suffolk County Police Department responded to a call of shots fired at the premises. Video surveillance obtained by police during their investigation show that the establishment was hosting a large event with over 50 patrons standing shoulder-to-shoulder, drinking, dancing and smoking hookah, with two exotic dancers performing lap dances. At approximately 1:30 AM, a large fight broke out in the middle of the establishment — with tables flipped and chairs thrown as patrons raced for the exit. A patron exited the premises and returned with a handgun, shooting two individuals who were transported to a local hospital for treatment.

“Gate Way Beer Garden” at 3162 Fulton Street in Brooklyn, on November 1, 2020

On November 1st, investigators with the SLA and NYPD officers on patrol heard music playing inside the premises, which had garbage bags blocking the front windows in an attempt to appear closed and avoid detection. After encountering locked front doors, investigators entered the basement through an open hatch door and found 14 patrons without facial coverings, standing and drinking while ignoring social distancing. Investigators also documented an employee without a facial covering and noted no food was being served, as the businesses’ food permit had expired.

“Larry’s Tavern” at 1862 8th Avenue in Watervliet, on November 1, 2020

On October 30th, SLA investigators observed numerous patrons standing, drinking and walking throughout the premises without facial coverings. Investigators documented a bartender without a facial covering and were served alcoholic beverages without food, noting that no patrons were required to purchase food with beverages during the entirety of the inspection.

“El Jaguar Restaurant” at 536 East 138th Street in the Bronx, on November 1, 2020

On October 30th, investigators with the SLA and NYPD officers found approximately 50 patrons inside the premises, nearly three times the legal limit under COVID-related regulations. Those inside were standing, dancing and drinking without facial coverings while ignoring social distancing. Investigators also documented five employees without facial coverings, tables spaced less than six feet apart, and the premises illegally selling hookah, including nicotine hookah which is prohibited even with a valid hookah permit. The establishment attempted to conceal its illegal operations, including by closing the front roll-down gate and placing a tarp over the outdoor dining structure in an effort to appear to be closed.

“Secrets” at 24511 Francis Lewis Boulevard in Queens, on November 1, 2020

On October 29th, an SLA investigator found 30 patrons, three times the legal limit under COVID-related regulations, inside the premises. In addition, investigators documented two exotic dancers — a violation of the establishment’s license, which does not permit adult entertainment — and found neither records of food service nor a food preparation area or kitchen. The premises had been illegally expanded into the building’s backyard without SLA approval or a Certificate of Occupancy. The licensee had previously been fined $20,000 in 2019 for a host of violations, including illegally operating as a strip club.

“Margarita’s Restaurant & Lounge” at 332-334 South Broadway in Yonkers, on October 30, 2020

On October 25th, officers with the Yonkers Police Department inspected the premises shortly after midnight and found over 100 patrons crowded inside — nearly double the maximum occupancy allowed under COVID-related regulations — not wearing facial coverings, dancing, and smoking hookah. Officers also found a DJ performing, with music audible a block away. The following evening, SLA investigators conducted a follow-up inspection, once again finding a DJ, two employees not wearing facial coverings, and ten patrons not wearing facial coverings while standing and mingling.

“Sahara Café” at 473 South Broadway in Yonkers, on October 28, 2020

On October 25th, SLA investigators and officials with the Yonkers Fire Department conducted a compliance check on the premises, discovering 124 patrons packed shoulder-to-shoulder inside the establishment — which had a pre-pandemic maximum occupancy of 48 and could legally hold just 24 patrons under COVID-related regulations. The crowded conditions made social distancing impossible and investigators documented no food being served and numerous patrons smoking hookah in apparent violation of the NYS Indoor Smoking Act. The premises was also cited for illegally expanding into their backyard and the Yonkers Fire Department issued a stop work order. Sahara Café was originally licensed just two months earlier on August 24, 2020.

“Charley’s Lounge” at 272 Harry L Drive in Johnson City, on October 28, 2020

On October 22nd, officers with the Johnson City Police Department conducted a compliance check at the premises, finding over 30 patrons without facial coverings inside the bar standing, mingling and playing pool. Officers report no food was being served, a violation of Executive Orders, and documented a bartender without a facial covering. The licensee is a repeat offender, previously receiving a warning from police on October 8th about Executive Order violations and being charged with multiple COVID-related violations by the SLA on October 14th following a referral from the Johnson City Police Department.

“Green Kitchen” at 1619 2nd Avenue in Manhattan, on October 25, 2020

On October 22nd, investigators with the state’s multi-agency task force observed eight patrons without facial coverings ignoring social distancing while standing in front of the premises. Staff from the bar, many not wearing facial coverings themselves, continued to serve after the 11:00 PM mandatory closure time for outdoor service in New York City. The licensee had received multiple prior warnings from law enforcement regarding Executive Order violations, including from the NYPD, NYC Sherriff’s Office and the SLA. The location is a repeat offender, with pending charges for multiple violations issued by the SLA in July.

“Uptown Bar & Grill” at 623 South Broadway in Yonkers, on October 25, 2020

On October 17th, officers with the Yonkers Police Department conducted a compliance check of the premises, finding 168 patrons crowded inside the establishment, which had a maximum capacity of 88 before the pandemic and could legally hold 44 patrons under COVID-related regulations. Police report that the number of patrons inside made social distancing impossible and numerous patrons without facial coverings were mingling, dancing and drinking. Officers noted no food was being served, documented several employees without facial coverings, and observed several individuals smoking hookah throughout the premises. The location is a repeat offender, with pending charges for multiple violations issued by the SLA a month earlier.

“Grand Slam KTV” at 131-01 Fowler Avenue in Queens, on October 23, 2020

On October 22nd, investigators with the state’s multi-agency task force and NYPD officers heard extremely loud music coming from the premises, which was operating in a “Yellow Zone” area. When investigators entered, they found five patrons and the manager inside a karaoke room sitting at a table, despite “Yellow Zone” restrictions allowing no more than four patrons per table. They observed cocaine, ketamine, crystal meth and marijuana in plain view at the establishment, and three individuals, including the manager, were arrested and charged with criminal nuisance and disorderly premises.

“CSJ 149” at 149-14 41st Avenue in Queens, on October 23, 2020

On October 22nd, investigators with the state’s multi-agency task force conducted an inspection at the premises, which was operating in a “Yellow Zone” area, and observed eight patrons sitting at the bar and a group of ten patrons at a table inside a karaoke room — all in violation of “Yellow Zone” restrictions which allow no more than four patrons per table. In addition, four employees were observed without facial coverings. The SLA has also received reports from the NYPD that the bar’s manager assaulted a patron on October 20th, in addition to NYPD reports of COVID-related violations on September 2nd and on October 17th and 20th.

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