Photo by Rebecca Henely
By Rebecca Henely

An attorney for Queen of Hearts, an Astoria bikini bar that raised the neighborhood’s ire last week because it did not disclose it would feature adult entertainment when it applied for its liquor license, said the establishment is closing.

State Assemblywoman Aravella Simotas (D-Astoria) held a rally Jan. 17 in front of the bar, at 26-12 Hoyt Ave. S., saying she had introduced legislation requiring bars to reveal to the state Liquor Authority if any adult entertainment is performed on the premises, whether the girls are topless or not, in response to Queen of Hearts’ actions.

“I’m pleased that the owner realized that an establishment that degrades women has no place in Astoria or anywhere else,” Simotas said.

Manhattan attorney Peter Marc Stern, who represents Queen of Hearts, said the owner is 84 years old and decided not to get involved in the controversy.

“It’s a good community effort that seems to have yielded results,” Stern said.

At the rally last week, Simotas said the bar, originally known as Wild Rose, had made a filing in September with Community Board 1 and the SLA for a liquor license without mentioning that it would be opening as a bikini bar. At bikini bars, the dancers are not naked or topless but wear skimpy clothing. The bar also did not inform the SLA when it changed its name, which is a requirement.

“We’re here to say that this must stop,” Simotas said at the rally.

Applicants to the SLA are required to disclose a number of features about their establishment ranging from whether or not the place is a restaurant or a bar or a catering place to whether it has live music or a jukebox to whether it has stage shows. Owners are also asked to answer if their bar specifically has “topless entertainment” but not adult entertainment in general.

Simotas’ bill requires the owners to also disclose if their establishment has any type of exotic dancing, whether topless or not, as well as pole or lap dancing.

“They should be forthright in their application,” Simotas said.

The assemblywoman had the support of her fellow electeds, activists and residents at the rally. CB 1 District Manager Lucielle Hartmann said the SLA must take the input of the community boards more seriously when reviewing license applications.

Simotas’ bill also received support outside the borough in Rafael Samanaca, the district manager of the Bronx’s Community Board 2.

“We will be working with all community boards in the Bronx and all our elected officials, telling them to support this bill,” Samanaca said.

Simotas had previously held a protest in October against Racks, a bikini bar set to open on Steinway near 20th Avenue not far from a playground.

Reach reporter Rebecca Henely by e-mail at rhenely@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-260-4564.

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