Cuomo: 36 NY establishments hit with liquor license suspensions over COVID-19 violations
Establishments in New York City, Long Island and Westchester were handed liquor license suspensions due to COVID-19 regulation violations, according to Gov. Andrew Cuomo.
Cuomo announced 36 liquor license suspensions throughout New York, with one in Nassau County, four in Suffolk, three in Westchester and 23 within New York City. Three violations were in the Bronx, while four were in Brooklyn.
On Long Island, the affected locations are Rockwell's Bar & Grill in Smithtown, Station Pub in Sayville, Buen Ambiente in Patchogue, Best Pizza and Dive Bar in Amagansett and Bachata in Hempstead.
In the Bronx, Café Serata on Hone Avenue, El Jaguar Restaurant on East 138th Street and Plush 101 at Westchester Square were tabbed for violations.
In Brooklyn, Paper Rain on Atlantic Avenue, NY Pizza Café & Spanish Food Restaurant on Myrtle Avenue, The Monarch on Meadow Street and Gate Way Beer Garden on Fulton Street got license suspensions.
In Westchester, all three establishments that received suspensions were located in Yonkers -- Uptown Bar & Grill, Margarita's Restaurant & Lounge and Sahara Café.
Queens saw the most license suspensions throughout the state with eight. Manhattan and Staten Island saw four apiece.
Cuomo's office says 279 businesses have had its liquor licenses suspended during the pandemic thus far. Businesses in violation of COVID-19 regulations face fines of up to $10,000 per violation, while larger violations can lead to suspension of an establishment's liquor license.
Information on the violations can be found below (via Gov. Cuomo):
"Paper Rain" at 2770 Atlantic Ave. in Brooklyn, on Dec. 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.
"NY Pizza Café & Spanish Food Restaurant" at 1485 Myrtle Ave. in Brooklyn, on Nov. 29, 2020
On Nov. 28, 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.
"The Monarch" at 23 Meadow Street in Brooklyn, on Nov. 6, 2020
On Oct. 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.
"Gate Way Beer Garden" at 3162 Fulton Street in Brooklyn, on Nov. 1, 2020
On Nov. 1, 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.
"Plush 101" at 53 Westchester Square in the Bronx, on Dec. 6, 2020
On Dec. 5, following community complaints, investigators with the state's multiagency 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 p.m. 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.
"Café Serata" at 1808 Hone Ave. in the Bronx, on Nov. 6, 2020
On Nov. 6, 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.
“El Jaguar Restaurant” at 536 East 138th Street in the Bronx, on Nov. 1, 2020
On Oct. 30, 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.
"Rockwell's Bar & Grill" at 60 Terry Road in Smithtown, on Nov. 22, 2020
On Nov. 20, 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 Ave. in Sayville, on Nov. 22, 2020
On Nov. 20, 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 Nov. 6 for violating COVID-related executive orders.
"Best Pizza and Dive Bar" at 2095 Montauk Highway in Amagansett, on Nov. 18, 2020
On Nov. 15, 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.
"Bachata" at 214 Fulton Ave. in Hempstead, on Nov. 8, 2020
On Nov. 6, 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.
"Buen Ambiente" at 466B East Main Street in Patchogue, on Nov. 4, 2020
On Oct. 24, 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.
"Margarita's Restaurant & Lounge" at 332-334 South Broadway in Yonkers, on Oct. 30, 2020
On Oct. 25, 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 Oct. 28, 2020
On Oct. 25, 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 Aug. 24, 2020.
"Uptown Bar & Grill" at 623 South Broadway in Yonkers, on Oct. 25, 2020
On Oct. 17, 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.
The full list of violations can be found here.