Alobar customers will now have to spend the summer indoors after a final vote from Community Board 2 (CB2) denied the restaurant the use of its backyard space.
The popular restaurant at 46-42 Vernon Boulevard in Hunters Point must adhere to a stipulation of its liquor license prohibiting outdoor seating.
Owner Jeff Blath met with CB2’s City Service and Public Safety Committee on June 12 to discuss opening his backyard space to customers. He said the board told him it could not make an exception for his restaurant without setting a precedent for other establishments.
“They were really clear that Alobar is an excellent addition to the neighborhood,” said Blath. “The reason was that if they say yes to Alobar, they have to say yes to everyone.”
Blath said he finds the decision “disappointing.” He previously noted the effect on his business, saying he loses dozens of customers who ask for the outdoor seating.
“It’s thousands of dollars a month and it’s enough to put people out of business,” said Bath. “It’s enough to make people lose their jobs.”
CB 2 Chair Joseph Conley previously told The Courier the board has had to deal with establishments whose backyard seating caused disturbances to neighbors and the community. He added that residents in the area have voiced their opposition to the plan.
However, Blath said he gathered nearly 500 signatures for a petition and has spoken with his neighbors that say otherwise.
Before the meeting, Blath built 11-foot-high walls to block out noise and had a sound engineer suggest other changes to make the seating area quieter. He was also trying to work with the board to cut back hours at the backyard from 10 p.m. to 6 p.m.
“I was willing to bend over backwards to make this happen,” said Blath. “When you see another place just a block away from you go out of business, it scares you. My heart is in this business. I can’t help but think what’s going to happen.”
Blath is looking to appeal the board’s decision with the State Liquor Authority.
CB2 did not respond to calls as of press time.