Gotham Bar and Grill to Re-Open

In March 2020, the legendary Gotham Bar and Grill at 12 East 12th Street shuttered after 36 years of operation. Home to former chef Alfred Portale, Gotham won numerous awards including Michelin stars and a record six 3-star reviews from the New York Times. Ownership of the famed eatery passed on to its managing partner of 13 years, Bret Csencsitz and his team. Former pastry chef Ron Paprocki will be the new Executive Chef. The refreshed design, including a new lounge, bar, and library, will also feature a rotating exhibition of original artwork from established and emerging artists. The new restaurant will re-open in early November. Bernstein Redo, P.C. is proud to be a part of the Gotham Bar and Grill team.

New Requirements for Outdoor Seating

Effective as of July 7, 2021, the New York State Liquor Authority issued a new Guidance for Use of Outdoor Municipal Property. For those holding a liquor license and operating outdoor space under a municipal permit granted pursuant to the Executive Order issued in June 2020, they may continue to operate such outdoor seating provided that on or before October 5, 2021 such licensee notifies the SLA (email to municipalexpansion@sla.ny.gov) with their main license serial number in the subject line, which email should include a copy of the municipal outdoor seating permit (issued by DOT in the City of New York), and a block plot diagram showing the municipal property incorporated into the licensed premises. No SLA response is required.  If you do not have municipal permission prior to July 7, 2021, then you are first required to notify the municipality (community board in the City of New York) on a form available on the SLA website, and after 30 days have passed, or if the municipality has waived the notice, the licensee must email the SLA and include the items referred to above as well as proof of receipt of the municipal notice or waiver thereof. If the SLA does not disapprove within 5 days, the application to use municipal space is deemed approved.  Please contact our office with any questions.

Casa Cipriani South Street

The landmark Battery Maritime Building located at 10 South Street, on the National Register of Historic Places, is the new home of Casa Cipriani. The Beaux-Arts building designed in 1906 is the only Exposition Universelle-style ferry building still operating in Manhattan. Casa Cipriani includes a hotel, event space and an upper floor private member’s club.  The 2nd floor event complex includes a 9,000 square foot great hall accommodating up to 800 guests, while the hotel includes 47 luxury rooms and suites overlooking the Brooklyn Bridge and the Statue of Liberty. Managing the project is Maggio Cipriani, the New York–based president of Cipriani and great-grandson of the founder of Venice’s legendary Harry’s Bar. The project’s architect, Thierry Despont, is known for his work on such icons as the Woolworth Building, the Ritz Paris and Claridge’s hotel in London. Bernstein Redo, P.C. is proud to be part of the Casa Cipriani team.

SLA Issues Draft Advisory on Third Party Providers

The New York State Liquor Authority issued a revised draft Advisory today labeled “Contracts That Compensate A Third Party Provider (“TPP”) Of Good Or Services With a Percentage of The Licensee’s Sales, Profits or Revenues.”  The draft is available at:

https://sla.ny.gov/system/files/documents/2021/05/proposed_advisory-_contracts_that_compensate_a_third_party_provider-.pdf.

Replacing the failed draft Advisory issued in late 2019, this new version intends to cover all situations where a TPP shares revenue with a retail licensee, such as landlords, managers, delivery services, e-commerce, and internet platforms that provide advertising or accept or forward food and beverage orders, promotion companies, fulfillment centers, and others similarly situated. The draft confirms that in most cases a flat fee arrangement is compliant with the law and would not require any notice or filing with the SLA if it is commercially reasonable in the view of the SLA. Payment to the TPP of 10% or less also does not require any filing. All other TPP percentage agreements require the license holder to co-license the TPP. It contains a number of other notice and filing requirements. This Advisory, if passed, would be retroactive and apply to TPP percentage agreements already in place. The public has two weeks to comment on this draft, and it will be discussed by the SLA at its full board meeting on May 26, 2021.

Restrictions to be Lifted in May

Long awaited change is finally coming. Governor Cuomo announced today that the 12 a.m. food and beverage service curfew will be lifted for outdoor dining on May 17 and for indoor dining on May 31. In another important development, starting on Monday, May 3, seating at bars will also be permitted. Food must still be ordered with an initial drink order, though the State Legislature is about to eliminate that unpopular requirement ridiculed by many in the industry. The infamous “Cuomo chips” will be no more. The 1 a.m. curfew for catered events where attendees have provided proof of vaccination status or a recent negative COVID-19 test result will be lifted beginning May 17, with the curfew for all catered events set to be lifted May 31.

American Rescue Plan Act 

The American Rescue Plan Act was signed into law in March. This long overdue federal legislation includes a $28.6 billion restaurant revitalization fund to provide direct grant support for restaurants hit by the COVID pandemic. Food service and drinking establishments are eligible for this, including caterers, that are not an affiliated group with more than 20 locations. Publicly traded companies are not eligible. The eligible expenses include payroll, mortgage, rent, utilities, supplies, food and other expenses from February 15, 2020 to the end of 2021 deemed essential by the SBA. For restaurants in operation before 2019, take your 2019 gross revenue, deduct 2020 gross revenue and total amount of PPP loans to determine amount of grant funding. For restaurants that opened in 2019, it is the average 2019 monthly gross revenues times 12, less 2020 revenues and PPP loans. Final regulations are being determined by the SBA.

Setting the Record Straight on Temporary Permits

We have received many inquiries over the past two months regarding temporary retail permits for new liquor license applications. This was due, in part, to a posting by the NYC Hospitality Alliance which some read to say that these retail permits are now available, and that has created confusion. A temporary retail permit is issued in New York while a liquor license application is pending, and allows the holder to purchase (COD only) and sell alcohol as if the holder had a liquor license. However, to be clear, the temporary retail permit is only available within the City of New York if the applicant is filing for a transfer of an existing license and certain specific requirements are met. It is NOT available in New York City for a new license application, that is for space that is not currently licensed and is not a transfer. Outside of the city, if the 500 foot rule does not apply, temporary retail permits are, however, available for new license applications. The change to allow this within city limits has been proposed and strongly advocated by the NYC Hospitality Alliance and others in the industry, but it is not the law currently. We will of course be following this and will update as necessary. Please call us if you have any questions about temporary permits.

Little Island at Pier 55

A “floating island” conceptualized in 2013, Little Island is a converted old pier off 14th Street that will be a public park, with short walking paths, sitting plazas, rolling grassy areas and a 689-seat waterfront amphitheater.  Under lease with the Hudson River Park Trust, Little Island is an initiative of the Diller-Von Furstenberg Family Foundation. There will be programming six days a week featuring dance, theatre, arts, educational classes, comedy and other performing arts events throughout the nearly three acres of space. The park will be open to the public at all times and also includes a 300 seat main plaza. Food and beverages, including wine and beer, will be provided by Savory Hospitality Group until 11pm nightly. Little Island is an integral part of Governor Cuomo’s New York Art Revival, a public-private partnership to bring back the arts, and will open in May 2021. Bernstein Redo, P.C. is proud to be part of the Little Island team.

Osteria Lola to Open

Cobi Levy and Chef Alex Guarnaschelli plan to open Osteria Lola, the Italian follow up to the popular SoHo Lola Taverna.  Osteria Lola, currently under construction, will be located on the corner of 18th Street and Tenth Avenue in the Thomas Heatherwick designed Lantern House.  Alex is an Iron Chef, best-selling cookbook author and Food Network star.  Cobi owns Lola Taverna and Babu Ji. Osteria Lola will be a breezy coastal Italian restaurant celebrating the finest local ingredients. They have hired GRT Architects to create an approachable, elegant interior.  Bernstein Redo, P.C. is proud to be part of the Osteria Lola team.

CLE On Restaurants in the Time of Covid-19

On November 12, 2020, the New York State Bar Association is sponsoring a continuing legal education course on “Legal Challenges Facing Restaurants During and After a Pandemic.” The two hour, two credit course begins at 1pm. Topics to be discussed include navigating the ever change labor and employment laws, recent issues regarding restaurant leases and landlord-tenant issues, protecting a restaurant’s intellectual property, and Bernstein Redo, P.C.’s Donald Bernstein will review Covid-related rules relating to liquor licenses and indoor and outdoor seating guidelines. Registration is through the NYSBA’s website:  https://nysba.org/events/legal-challenges-facing-restaurants-during-and-after-a-pandemic/