Two Manhattan bars allegedly reopened for speakeasy-style gatherings this week
At least two bars in New York City have allegedly reopened to host parties this week, the New York Post reports. The two offenders, which include an unnamed “famous Upper East Side bar and lounge” and a “trendy downtown hotel,” have reportedly been hosting small gatherings despite state-mandated bans on dine-in service of any kind. While the get togethers appear to be limited to close friends of the owners and managers, it’s unclear how many people that means, with one source claiming to have known “at least five people who were at [the hotel bar] on Monday night.”
It’s not the first instance of a New York City bar reopening illegally. Earlier this week, the New York Post reported that Lower East Side nightclub Omar’s La Boite may have hosted a party this month as well, though that event appeared to include as many as a dozen attendees, none of whom were reportedly social distancing or wearing face masks. Although the owner and manager of the club later denied the event taking place, attendees likened the gathering to Prohibition-era New York City, with cocktails flowing and people reciting passwords at the door in order to be admitted entry.
In March, Gov. Andrew Cuomo banned restaurants and bars from offering dine-in service of any kind — with violators paying fines up to $1,000. Meanwhile, the State Liquor Authority has suspended the liquor licenses of restaurants and bars that have continued to offer dine-in service, threatening fees as high as $10,000 per violation.
In other news:
— A new fundraising initiative, called Chef My Kitchen, allows home cooks to video chat with professional chefs, including Brazilian chef Manu Buffara and Noreetuh’s chef Chung Chow. Donations are encouraged in exchange for the 10-, 30-, and 60-minute video sessions.
— The Bodega and Small Business Association of New York is distributing 40,000 masks to grocers across the city. Bodega owners will be able to receive up to 100 masks at distribution points in the Bronx, Queens, Brooklyn, and Manhattan.
— The State Liquor Authority announced that it would not be collecting payments for license renewal fees from bars and restaurants until at least July 31.
— Missy Robbins, the owner of Brooklyn favorites Lilia and Misi, made a guest appearance on Showtime’s Billions this week.
— Eater critic Robert Sietsema weighs in on the cereal-for-adults movement: