March 20, 2014 By Michael Florio
A local nightclub’s troubled history came back to bite it on Tuesday.
Community Board 1 unanimously opposed renewing the liquor license for the Ice Lounge, an Astoria nightclub located at 33-04 Broadway, based largely on the recommendation of the 114th police precinct.
Detective Edwin Negron said the police had been called out 15 times to the Ice Lounge since January 1, 2012—stemming from violent crimes, property damage and one case of selling to a minor.
Negro said the department had issued about 40 summonses at the location during that period, including 12 for excessive noise and one for having an unlicensed security guard.
“It is a very problematic licensed premise,” he said. “It would be very helpful to the precinct if they did not operate with a liquor license.”
The board members all agreed, and Chairman Vinicio Donato said the board would write a strongly worded letter to the State Liquor Authority stating its objection to renewing the license.
The club, however, was not represented at the meeting. Moez Abouelnaga, the manager, claimed the establishment had not been notified of it.
Abouelnaga, who recognized that the club had a bad reputation, said he has worked hard to fix the problems in the eight months he has been there on a day-to-day basis and said the board’s decision was unfair.
He said the club has put up a soundproof wall, tightened security, and has focused on building a good relationship with the community.
Abouelnaga denies the club serves alcohol to minors.
“There was never underage drinking here,” he said. “Someone came in with a fake ID and the police caught him.”
Since then the club has obtained an ID scanner to prevent further incidents.
Without a liquor license, Abouelnaga said the Ice Lounge would be forced to operate as a hookah lounge, which would hurt business. He does not think it is fair and that he will protest the decision.
“I can get a petition of 300-400 people stating how much they like the place,” he said. “If they go against me I will find another way to operate from my lawyer.”
The community board does not have the final say, since it’s an advisory board. The decision is ultimately made by the SLA, which takes the board’s recommendation seriously before ruling on the matter.