The State Liquor Authority (SLA) suspended a Richmond Hill bar’s liquor license over a recent history of violence at the premises.
During a special meeting on March 28, the SLA announced it had pulled the license of Zen lounge, operated by Nikka Lounge Inc., located at 117-15 101st Ave. The suspension occurred 16 days after a shooting outside the lounge injured three male patrons.
At about 3:40 a.m. on March 12, police said, a 32-year-old man from Brooklyn fired multiple shots at a crowd. Bullets struck a 29-year-old man in the leg; a 30-year-old man in the hip; and a 26-year-old man in the torso and arm. All three injured victims were treated at a local hospital; their injuries were not considered life-threatening.
Cops apprehended the alleged gunman — identified by police as Travis Laroc — a short time later; he’s now facing charges of attempted murder, assault and criminal possession of a weapon.
It wasn’t the first violent episode at Zen lounge, according to the SLA, which reported that the NYPD responded to 137 calls for assistance at the club last year. Two episodes occurred on the same day, Aug. 19, 2017, in which an individual slashed a patron in the arm and abdomen with a glass bottle as the victim was exiting the club.
In a separate incident that same day, an unknown assailant punched a patron from behind, sparking a mass exodus from the club that resulted in “a stampede of disorderly people in the street,” the SLA noted.
While investigating the March 12 shooting, the SLA stated, police contacted the liquor license holder —identified in the SLA database as Ann Narine — to obtain security camera footage, but she refused to comply with the request. Days later, police were provided with a redacted video from the club that proved “worthless to the investigation.”
Narine had allegedly also refused to cooperate with police when asked for video following the Aug. 19, 2017, incidents.
The SLA also learned, through a social media investigation, that Zen lounge hosted numerous events organized by a promoter, in violation of the terms of the existing liquor license. Zen’s Facebook page feed features photo galleries of “Champagne Saturdays” held there at the club as well as advertisements — some of which feature lingerie-clad models — for various music events.
The NYPD and SLA conducted joint inspections of Zen on Sept. 1, 2017, and March 17 of this year, issuing a combined 73 summonses for various infractions. SLA inspectors charged Zen on March 22 with 32 violations of the state’s ABC Law, including “becoming a focal point for police attention, failure to supervise, disorderly premises and for making unauthorized alterations.”
“This licensee has not only ignored the conditions imposed upon her license and failed to adequately supervise her premises, but she has also refused to cooperate with the police on multiple occasions,” SLA Counsel Christopher R. Riano said. “Today, the authority has shown that any establishment that continues to ignore the law and strain police resources will be shut down immediately.”
It was noted that the licensee can request an administrative law hearing, and the suspension remains in effect until such time as the court reviews the license, or the SLA modifies it accordingly.
Zen Lounge’s Facebook page makes no mention of its license troubles; its most recent post, on March 24, advertised another “Champagne Saturday” event scheduled for that evening.