March 25, 2014 By Michael Florio
It was supposed to be a new day for the Ice Lounge, the infamous Astoria lounge bar that has been subject to harsh criticism from the police and community board in recent times.
The lounge, located at 33-04 Broadway, had closed from February 28th through March 20th to undergo a makeover–including the installation of a sound proof wall to satisfy noise complaints.
Instead, just hours after reopening on March 20, it was forced to shut down by the NYPD.
The lounge was shut down just before midnight, based on three previous charges, according to the manager Moez Abouelnaga. The lounge was ticketed for selling alcohol after 4 am on three separate occasions–on May 17, Oct. 5 and Dec. 5, he said.
Abouelnaga claims that the lounge did not sell alcohol after 4 am on those occasions. Instead, he claims, it was a case of his employees having a drink inside the club after they had finished work.
“It was a misunderstanding,” he said. “It was after all our customers had left and we had locked our doors. We let our employees have a drink while they cleaned up.”
Abouelnaga claims the 114th precinct and Community Board 1 are targeting the club.
“We are trying to work with everybody and I feel that they are going against us,” he said.
In the past few months, the lounge has changed the security company it uses, added a sound proof wall, renovated the interior and is currently working on its exterior.
He said that the police had obtained a court order against the lounge on March 6th to close the premises, which they did once Ice Lounge reopened on March 20.
Abouelnaga, along with the lounge’s owners, will be in court today in hopes that the judge will grant the lounge a court order enabling the establishment to reopen.
“It all depends on how the judge sees it,” Abouelnaga said. “If he sees that it was a misunderstanding and we are honest, he will hopefully let us reopen. If not, then we can be closed anywhere from a month to a year.”
Meanwhile, the lounge’s liquor license application remains up in the air. Community Board 1 opposed its renewal at its March meeting. Abouelnaga said the lounge was not aware that a vote was taking place at the Community Board 1 meeting or else the owners would have appeared and presented their case.
The renewal of its liquor license is now in the hands of the State Liquor Authority, who have the final word.