Monday, April 02, 2012

Another planned bar/lounge on Flatbush Avenue, Kemistry, provokes concern over exit on residential street, "nightclub" plans

Not surprisingly, there's another controversy over a lounge/nightclub planned near the Barclays Center arena at a location that fronts on busy Flatbush Avenue but had a rear exist on a residential street.

In this case, as described by Park Slope Patch and Brownstoner last week, it's The Kemistry Lounge International, which has a placeholder website, but a Facebook page, now offline (but cached), but alarmed some neighbors.

(The name, as pointed out by a Brownstoner commenter, is apparently a nod to Kem Owens. The location is 260 Flatbush Avenue, noted on the map.)

The concerns

The main concerns seem to be:
  • whether there will be an exit onto Prospect Place
  • whether the 245-person capacity space will be a nightclub with rowdy people out late
The first issue seems relatively straightforward: bar owners told Brownstoner that the back exit would be used only as an emergency exit. Surely that can be negotiated.

The second issue may be tougher to pin down. If the lounge will have dancing only for private events, as Patch reported, how often would they be? If, in the words of co-owner James Brown, "It won't be a nightclub," what does that mean?

It's also unclear whether the new building planned, seven stories, will incorporate the lounge beyond the ground floor.

But, as a commenter on Brownstoner pointed out, the owners seemed willing to talk with neighbors, so this may proceed with less tension than the Prime 6 controversy down the block initially generated.

Meetings coming

As Patch reported, a Community Board 6 committee wants to ensure that the back door is used for emergencies only, for the owners to meet with the community, and for the State Liquor Authority to put this on pause.

CB 6 at 6 pm on April 12 will hold a Bar/Restaurant Informational Meeting:
In an effort to better understand the rules and regulations governing restaurants and bars in our district, representatives from the State Liquor Authority, City agencies and local precincts will be on hand to answer any questions in respect to noise, smoking, backyard usage, garbage and other related issues.
Brooklyn Community Board 6
250 Baltic Street, Auditorium
(between Court/Clinton Streets)
Brooklyn, NY 11201-6401
In both CB 6 and CB 8, there have been a plethora of liquor license applications, leading to concern about the appropriate balance among retail establishments and in residential neighborhoods with busy arteries.

Also see Brownstoner for ventilation of whether a neighbor's statement, “We are the wrong demographic to have that type of place in our neighborhood,” is about race, given that the lounge seems aimed at least in part at a black crowd, or about having kids and elderly people near a bar with 3 am closing hours.

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