Barclays Nixes Bottle Service as Liquor License Application Moves Forward

Community opposition centers around proposed 2 a.m. cut-off time for alcohol service.

Community groups continued to voice their deep concerns regarding the prospect of late-night drinking at Barclays Center at in Harlem Wednesday night.

At issue for many critics of the plan was proposed alcohol service during the fourth quarter of basketball games, after events and previously undisclosed operations at a 1,800-person capacity Courtside Club, Vault suite area and

"Community Boards and the public should be able to comment on the whole proposal—not just the part that has been made public," said Gib Veconi of the Prospect Heights Neighborhood Development Council.

Veconi turned in more than 1,300 signatures to a Brooklyn Speaks petition demanding accountability for Barclays Center alcohol sales.

Opponents of the proposal were joined by local business and job-development interests that came out in support of the liquor application.

"There's no other arena of this size and caliber that does not offer alcohol to its patrons for a wide variety of programming supported by bar service to ensure optimal use of the prime asset," said Lori Raphael, external affairs director at the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce.

At the hearing, Forest City Ratner exec Ashley Cotton apologized to residents dismayed by the lack of disclosure regarding the full-range of liquor service planned for Barclays at on April 10. 

Those amenities will include a 40/40 club that currently offers "bottle service" at its Manhattan and Atlantic City locations—a practice that opponents of the application said made it harder for arena officials to control how much their patrons were drinking.

"The 40/40 club will have no bottle service," Cotton said. "However... we want to clarify, Champagne bottles and wine bottles can be sold in the 40/40 club restaurant."

The liquor license put forward by Barclays Center and its food and liquor contractor, Levy Restaurants LLC, will allow alcohol service until 2 a.m.

However, Cotton stressed that the 2 a.m. mark was "the very back stop" for alcohol sales.

Critics of the plan at the hearing weren't convinced.

"Residents need their sleep more than patrons need an extra drink," said CB8 2nd vice chair Robert Witherwax.

Veconi said that if the liquor license was approved by the State Liquor Authority—as is expected—he hoped that the agency would defer action on the late-night operations of clubs like 40/40.

"This is not Yankee Stadium or Citi Field which is surrounded by parking lots or Madison Square Garden which is in a commercial district," he said. "This is different."

Larry June 21, 2012 at 08:18 PM
if there was anyone in Brooklyn who ever thought that this center would be good for us they are idiots.
timeisnow June 22, 2012 at 01:28 PM
Dont just call them idiots! Do something and inform your community. Statements like this ^^^^ without action are just as harmful as the shady business principals that brought them about. I feel for the bk community and all i do is visit from jersey every now and then. I know there are many people who care about this situation whether they realize now or later. But now is the time to build up, not put down. Barclay's is doing enough of that already.
Thomas Economides June 22, 2012 at 03:11 PM
wow this is not good news thomas economides new york
Jim June 22, 2012 at 05:46 PM
So fired up that this is almost ready to open. Can't wait for the Jay Z shows, hockey and of course - Brooklyn Nets!
Autumn Cook June 22, 2012 at 06:09 PM
When plan for the center where made known, many community advocate petitioned to have in moved. This is also true of the Atlantic center. Two generations of residents sought to continue to support small businesses, continue community activities in Ft. Greene park and create the kind of community that did not amplify the classic "shifting sands" community that out priced residents that created the wonderful nuance, new comers now enjoy. It is shortsighted to believe that the service of spirits will in any shape redeem the changes in the community. If we are to preserve any bit of the close neighborly feeling that has been developed; we must seek to support other types of entertainment and arts programming that was at the core the foundation of community building in Ft. Greene and Bed Sty (sorry been around too long to call Clinton Hill anything but Bed Sty).


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