Bar’s liquor license approved, to dismay of some

At a meeting of Community Board 11 on Thursday, June 24, the Van Nest/lower Morris Park night spot Mangia e Bevi, which had come under fire from community members, nonetheless got its liquor license.

Management of the bar, which sits at 702 Morris Park Avenue, has fielded complaints about loud noise and cigarette smoke from the backyard. Nonetheless, when interviewed for a previous article, manager George Sage expressed confidence that they would get the bar’s liquor license renewed, and indeed, he was right.

But the license was granted with stipulations. First, the bar will be required to close at midnight on week days, and at 2 a.m. on weekends; these were already the hours most of the time, but in the past they had been looser, and will now be more strictly enforced.

Second, the backyard area, which has been the source of many noise complaints, will close at 8 p.m. on all evenings. And finally, there will be no DJ or karaoke, or live bands allowed inside. Music will only come from the jukebox, and will be played at a moderate level.

The bar, which was formerly called Rocky’s Bar and Grille, then MP Pub, is currently operating under a liquor license that will expire in July 2011. What many locals do not like is where that license comes from.

“It’s the license of the old owner, Dan Fasolino,” explains Al D’Angelo, co-chair of Community Board 11 ”That’s what people are concerned about, is that if he has no part in this bar, how come they get to use a license that’s under his name.”

Yet the management of Mangia e Bevi is allowed to do that by law.

Some community members are not pleased that the new liquor license has been granted, which D’Angelo acknowledges.

“I think some people would rather not have anything there,” he says. “but they sound like they’re really looking to make it a family bar, and hopefully they’ll do well.” Indeed, the awning in front of the establishment calls the spot a “family restaurant, sports bar, and lounge.”

Community Board 11 member Joe Bombace counts himself among one of those who would prefer to have Mangia e Bevi closed completely. “I’m still not in favor of it,” says Bombace. “And some conditions from the June 1 meeting weren’t mentioned — security cameras outside, double-doors on the front of the establishment. Those were not mentioned in the final conditions.”

Bombace also fears that the approved stipulations will end up useless because there may be no one to enforce them.

Sage and his co-workers very much do wish to prove everyone wrong, and have said that they are trying their best to make Mangia e Bevi a respectable community business.

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