Is Game Day a nightmare? A group of East Tremont Avenue merchants, landlords and residents have asked Community Board 10 and Assemblyman Michael Benedetto to rein in the Game Day Grill; its liquor license is up for review.
Bar owner Bobby Mileno, 41, has agreed to drop hip-hop and meringue on Friday and Saturday nights. Mileno will pursue a different crowd, he said. He wants to make peace with the neighborhood.
Merchants, landlords and residents recently met with Mileno at the CB10 office.
“The bar is out of control,” Gabriella Lequerique said.
Lequerique works at the Victor Quirolo and Sons Funeral Home, down the block from the Game Day Grill, between Waterbury and LaSalle avenues. On May 9, someone rammed his or her car into the funeral home fence, smashed a parked car and fled. Lequerique often finds urine, vomit and broken glass on the sidewalk; recently she discovered blood on her store window.
“Families trying to conduct funerals here are afraid to walk down the sidewalk,” Lequerique said.
Lequerique thinks the Game Day Grill is responsible. Patrons emerge super-drunk, she said. Game Day Grill fistfights spill onto the street.
There are fights at the bar, Mileno admitted. A month ago, Game Day patrons went outside and used a knife. A similar incident occurred three months ago. Was the motorist on May 9 a Game Day patron?
“I don’t know,” Mileno said. “It was 4:30 a.m. The bar was closed.”
Ron Giarnella owns 3166 and 3164 East Tremont Avenue, the two buildings north of the Game Day Grill. Giarnella has done business on the block for 28 years.
“The Game Day Grill opened about three and a half years ago,” he said. “It was a nice bar. It had been a vacant space. It was a drinking man’s bar, a good spot to watch sports.”
Three months passed and the Game Day Grill took a regrettable turn
“At first, I knew the people there, causal drinkers,” Giarnella said. “Then graffiti showed up on the front of my building.”
According to Giarnella, Game Day Grill patrons fool around and use drugs outside. Giarnella’s tenants complain about loud music after 2 a.m.
The bar doesn’t over serve, Mileno said. In fact, three of the Game Day Grill bartenders have attended alcohol safety classes. Mileno won’t let drunken patrons in.
“I’ve lived in the neighborhood my whole life,” he said. “I’m not an outsider. I live by a bar. When people defecate in my alley, I don’t call the community board. I clean it down.”
Some complaints are valid, Mileno said. He wants to replace hip-hop with salsa or karaoke. He uses plastic cups after 11 p.m. But Mileno also needs to make money.
“We’ve invested more than $400,000 here,” he said. “You have fights at every bar, noise at every bar. I want to satisfy the neighborhood but it’s hard to police what goes on down the block.”
Mileno is confident that the State Liquor Authority will renew his license. CB10 may or may not send an advisory letter to the SLA. If conditions at the bar persist, Benedetto will meet with the SLA and take action, chief of staff Ben Randazzo said.
“There are fights all the time,” Scott Wyman of Wild Child Body Piercing said. “Something needs to be done.”