June 3, 2019 By Meghan Sackman
The owner of a problematic bar saw his application to sell alcohol denied by Community Board 1 yet again last month.
Shkelqim Koci, the owner of Home Restaurant and Lounge, applied for a beer and wine license for his 28-49 Steinway St. establishment but it was unanimously rejected by Community Board 1 at its May 23 board meeting after members noted its past run-ins with the law.
The board stood by previous decisions–made in recent months–to reject the application due to past complaints and various criminal activity.
In the past year, there have been 64 complaints lodged with 311 and 94 calls made to 911 that have stemmed from the lounge, according to Florence Koulouris, Community Board 1’s District Manager. Dozens of incidents have gone to court, she said.
Home had its liquor license first suspended in October 2018 following several violent episodes. These incidents included patrons being slashed, women being sexually assaulted, and a bouncer punching a customer in the face with brass knuckles.
Home went to Community Board 1 in March 2019 asking for its license to be reinstated but the board voted against it. The State Liquor Authority–which makes the final determination on liquor license applications– rejected it soon after, largely based on the board’s decision. The board’s vote is advisory.
The latest application will go before the SLA yet again.
The SLA is unlikely to approve the application unless Koci can show that tangible changes have been made.
“We are going to want to know what they are going to do that will make the situation different this time around before approving it,” an SLA spokesperson said.
Koci could not be reached for comment.