First, arena operators announced the presence of Jay-Z's sometimes controversial 40/40 Club, apparently to include bottle service. Then Brooklyn Community Board 8, hitherto absent from the debate, unanimously agreed to ask the State Liquor Authority (SLA) for an earlier cut-off time at a massive facility just past its borders.
The 40/40 Club announcement, like nearly every news release regarding the Barclays Center, was surely strategized to drive headlines, and it did.
The timing--after the liquor license process is well along--may also have been strategized to avoid Community Board scrutiny. (The SLA holds the second day of a two-day public hearing June 20 at 7 pm at its office in Harlem.
When representatives of the arena and Levy Premium Foodservice made presentations to Community Boards 2 and 6, beginning in April, there was no mention of the 40/40 Club, or bottle service, a mode of distribution that provoked CB 6 to express disapproval of the liquor license application, given that it's usually limited to less residential areas.
Beyond that, the Community Boards were told that alcohol service at the arena would end, as per league standards, by the end of the third quarter of NBA games, and before the end of other events.
Only after the two CBs expressed conditional support for the license, with most conditions easily met, did the applicants acknowledge that 1,800 VIPs--the equivalent, perhaps, of nearly two dozen neighborhood bars--would be allowed to drink for an hour after the end of each event. The SLA is statutorily required to consider Community Board input, rather than general public input.
Bottle service not clearly announced
|Screenshot from 40/40 Club website|
But it did imply that there would be no deviation from the formula. According to Jim Vogel, a staffer for state Senator Velmanette Montgomery, a query to Forest City Ratner's external affairs VP Ashley Cotton was met with no confirmation either way regarding bottle service.
The New York Post reported:
Located on the suite level, the 40/40 will have many of the same high-end features as its Chelsea flagship. In recent years, the hotspot has been marred by on-site brawls, union protests and health code problems.
Lauren Menache, a 40/40 spokeswoman, said the Barclays offshoot would only be accessible to ticket holders of Nets games, concerts and other arena events — and that it wants to serve booze until 2 a.m.The Post also reported that the club will be open to any arena patron, which raises questions about whether, in fact, only the VIPs will have access to alcohol service after hours.
At CB 8
“Thousands of people [will be] walking through our streets," he said, citing not only those going to the on-site parking lot but otherwise in the district. "An earlier [service] cutoff would be better for our community."
However, given that the arena setting is somewhere between Madison Square Garden and Wrigley Field, neighbors do have an argument for a cutoff before the currently contemplated 2 am.
And surely they have an argument about after-event service, which was never disclosed.