Cheap Shots fined $15K by State Liquor Authority

By Alex Robinson

A Kew Gardens Hills bar that residents contend has wreaked havoc on the neighborhood for years was slapped with a $15,000 fine by the state Liquor Authority Tuesday.

Cheap Shots faced a list of charges at an SLA board meeting, including selling alcohol to minors and allowing the bar to become disorderly.

Neighbors said they have had to endure an escalating level of drunken debauchery that spills out into their streets once patrons leave the bar, at 149-05 Union Tnpk.

Residents said screaming, fights, vomiting and urinating have filled their streets on most nights over the last few years since the bar opened in 2010, culminating in a shooting in 2012.

At the meeting, the owner’s attorney said the bar has taken a number of measures to prevent future incidents, including installing security cameras and hiring licensed security guards who patrol inside and outside the bar. He said the bar’s owner has also received a certificate of appreciation from the 107th Precinct for multiple charity initiatives.

“That’s not for being a great licensee, though, that’s for being generous. Those are two very different things,” SLA Chairman Dennis Rosen said. “It’s very politically astute to give money to community charities, but that doesn’t make him a good licensee when he’s in front of a state Liquor Authority.”

Community Board 8’s Liquor Licensing Committee voted unanimously against supporting the renewal of Cheap Shots’ license in January.

Civic organizations, the 107th Precinct community council and City Councilman Rory Lancman (D-Fresh Meadows) all sent letters to the community board opposing the renewal of the bar’s liquor license. CB 8 then forwarded the letters to the SLA.

The bar’s liquor license expired at the end of February, but it is still allowed to operate until the SLA decides to renew or revoke their license, SLA officials said.

Lancman, who represents the neighborhood, said he hopes Cheap Shots’ license is revoked.

“It’s not hard being a good neighbor,” he said in an interview. “I think Cheap Shots established its brand as the kind of place that attracts trouble. Hopefully, Cheap Shots will be put out of business and whoever is there next will try to appeal to a more neighborhood-friendly clientele.”

Reach reporter Alex Robinson by e-mail at arobinson@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-260-4566.

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