Course On New York Retail Liquor Licensing

On Friday, October 18th  at 9 am, Bernstein Redo, P.C.’s Donald Bernstein will be teaching a continuing legal education course on Retail Liquor Licensing in New York.  It is a three hour, three credit class sponsored by the National Law Institute, and held at Morgan Stanley, 1585 Broadway in Manhattan. We will cover all aspects of the law and process for licensing a hotel, restaurant or bar, including who is qualified to hold a license, tied-house restrictions, the 200 foot rule, the 500 foot rule, special permits including temporary and one day catering permits, what premises can or cannot be licensed, licensing private members clubs, the community board and State Liquor Authority process, and other many matters. There is no fee for these classes. Please contact Roy Fenichel at the National Law Institute (rfenichel@mitnational.com) if you would like to register, or Donald@brpclaw.com.

Daily Provisions Opens on Upper West Side

Danny Meyer’s neighborhood café Daily Provisions made its debut on the UWS at 375 Amsterdam Avenue on the corner of 78th Street this week. With a culinary team led by Chef Amanda Wilson, Daily Provisions opens early in the morning with fresh baked goods – including its famed cruller – and breakfast sandwiches, with other offerings including salads and rotisserie chicken throughout the day as well as a selection of beer and wine. This is the second outpost for Daily Provisions; the first is near Union Square on 19th Street and Park Avenue South.  A third location is planned at 29 Bedford Street in the Village. Bernstein Redo, P.C. is proud to be part of the Union Square Hospitality and Daily Provisions team.

Award-Winning The Riddler Comes to the West Village

Jen Pelka, owner of San Francisco’s award-winning Champagne bar, will be opening The Riddler at 51 Bank Street at West Fourth Street in the West Village. The original in San Francisco’s Hayes Valley was named wine bar of the year in 2017, was a winner of a Wine Spectator “Grand Award,” and was all female-funded, as is its New York outpost. Jen, who will split her time between the two coasts, began her career in New York at Daniel. She earned a James Beard nomination, was in Forbes “30 under 30”, and founded Magnum PR drawing on her decades of experience in marketing, events and media relations.  The design of the New York location was led by the women team at ROY, a California based design studio, and Richard Lewis, who worked on the new Pastis, is the architect. Bernstein Redo, P.C. is proud to be part of The Riddler team.

Tacombi Continues it Expansion

A hospitality company born on the beaches of the Yucatan in Mexico in 2005, Tacombi focuses on sharing its love of Mexican taco culture with its neighborhood taquerias. It all started with selling tacos out of a 1963 Volkswagen Kombi bus driving around Yucatan, and then the opening of two locations in Playa del Carmen. Tacombi then planted itself in New York a few years later opening its first store on Elizabeth Street. Tacombi now has seven locations in Manhattan, Montauk and Brooklyn, its newest opening on the Upper West Side at 377 Amsterdam Avenue this summer.  New locations are in the works, including East 70th Street. Bernstein Redo, P.C. is proud to be part of the Tacombi team.

Third Party Providers Revisited

In July of last year this site included a post discussing the issue of third party providers, such as e-commerce and internet platforms that facilitate the purchase of alcoholic beverages at restaurants or package stores. The issue presented was whether such third party providers, or TPP’s, were considered trafficking in the sale of alcoholic beverages under New York law such that they would be required to obtain a license. Our July 2018 post noted a number of rulings made by the New York State Liquor Authority on the issue, which some commentators argued were inconsistent. On August 12, 2019, the SLA issued a draft Advisory #2019-x addressing this issue. The proposed Advisory would allow TPP’s to be paid a flat fee for its services, or to be paid 10% or less of the licensee’s profits, without requiring the TPP to be licensed. If a TPP is receiving more than 10% of the licensee’s profits, or exercised some level of control over the licensee’s business, then it would have to be licensed, or it would be considered illegally availing itself of someone else’s license. This proposed Advisory would apply to management companies, landlords, delivery services, website hosts, and some other third parties.  The SLA is inviting comments from the public and the industry before it finalizes this Advisory.

Soho House Brings its Co-Working Concept to New York

The international members-only club and hotel, Soho House, which opened its first co-working space in London in 2015, is bringing its new brand and concept, Soho Works, to New York this year. Soho Works has signed leases to take space at 10 Jay Street, and also at 55 Water Street, the location of its sister club Dumbo House. Two other Soho Works locations are planned in the Meatpacking District of Manhattan, one at 415 West 13th Street, and the other at 875 Washington Street.  Soho Works will be geared towards persons associated with creative industries, and will provide lounges, open spaces and private rooms for work, meetings, socializing and collaboration among its members. The work spaces will include a café. Bernstein Redo, P.C. is proud to be a part of the Soho Works team.

Shared Workspaces and Retail Stores

There are some hot issues and topics in the world of liquor licensing in New York. We featured one of those issues, licensing private members clubs which have become increasingly popular, in our May 24, 2018 post. Two other models that are emerging are shared workspaces and retail dry good stores. Traditionally, retail stores, including department stores, may have a restaurant or cafe tucked somewhere inside, but they typically do not sell or serve liquor outside of that defined and limited space.  There is a trend now to do away with that barrier and license the entire multi-level store. This would allow customers to roam the store with a glass of wine, or to have private events with food and beverages in any part of the store. This model can be seen for example in the new RH Gallery on Ninth Avenue in the Meatpacking District where the entire five story building is licensed, and in the new three story Neiman-Marcus in Hudson Yards.  On the other hand, there is opposition to Bloomingdale’s application to license its entire store at 504 Broadway in SoHo. The neighbors and local community board are pushing back, fearful that opening that door would then allow a host of other stores on Broadway, such as Urban Outfitters or Nike, to serve alcohol as well. Not long ago, the State Liquor Authority refused to license a two story venue that had a restaurant on the ground floor and spa in the cellar, determining that a spa is not a proper venue for a liquor license.

Another venue that does not traditionally have a food and beverage component, shared workspaces such as We Work, have also been looking to obtain liquor licenses as an amenity to its tenants. Some legal issues have so far stymied licensing some of those spaces, particularly those shared workspaces where separate offices are leased out to members. On the other hand, the Wing, shared workspace designed for women is licensed at their SoHo and Dumbo locations. Those locations, however, unlike the WeWork model, do not assign specific offices to tenants.  How the State Liquor Authority deals with licensing full retail stores and shared workspaces will be developing and we will be watching. Stay tuned.

Unpaid Wage Lien Bill Passes

The New York state legislature passed a bill last month that could have a significant effect on restaurant, bar and hotel owners.  The bill, if signed by the governor, would allow a business and personal lien to be placed on owners, managers and some investors of a business based solely on an allegation of a wage violation. The bill applies to claims of non-payment of wages under federal as well as New York law, including claims relating to improperly taken tip credits, withheld gratuities, overtime, uniform maintenance pay, and other categories. An employee making a covered claim can obtain a lien, similar to a mechanic’s lien that is filed by contractors, and can do so prior to proving his or her claim and even though the employee was paid in full. This new law has sweeping effects, and was opposed by the New York City Hospitality Alliance. The Hospitality Alliance encouraged restaurant, hotel and bar owners to contact their representatives in Albany to fight this legislation.  Though some amendments were made to the bill before it passed, it was nonetheless, according to the Hospitality Alliance, “a very unwelcome outcome.”  If signed by the governor, it will become law 30 days thereafter.

Pastis Reopens

In April 2018, we noted here the planned return of Keith McNally’s much loved iconic Meatpacking bistro, Pastis. It has been one of the most awaited restaurant openings of the year. The original Pastis closed five years ago, its old building was torn down and replaced by what is now the RH Gallery. McNally has teamed up with James Beard award-winning restauranteur Stephen Starr to reopen Pastis at 52 Gansevoort Street.  It has finally arrived. The opening will be this Friday, June 7, 2019. While Starr is taking control of the day to day operations, McNally is very much involved. The new place is not an exact replica of the original Pastis, but it is certainly reminiscent of it. Bernstein Redo, P.C. is proud to be part of the Pastis team.

Donald Bernstein Appointed to Committee on Cannabis Law

On June 1, 2019, the president of the New York State Bar Association appointed Bernstein Redo, P.C.’s Donald Bernstein to the Association’s Committee on Cannabis Law. In January 2018 Mr. Bernstein had testified before a joint committee of the New York Assembly on cannabis law. The State Bar Association committee is charged with serving as the association’s focal point for the evolving legal status of cannabis at both the state and federal level. Cannabis law is perhaps one of the fastest growing yet complex areas of the law that poses a broad spectrum of challenges. Much of the proposed New York legislation tracks parallel statutes and regulations controlling the licensing of alcoholic beverages. This Committee seeks to help NYSBA lawyers give their clients better advice through sharing educational resources, and otherwise helping New York set the highest possible legal and business standards for legalized cannabis products.