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Barclays Center attorney reveals arena clubs to stay open after events end, as late as 2:00 AM

A letter from Barclays Center attorney William Schrieber to Brooklyn Community Board 6 dated June 5 mentions a detail of the arena's plans for liquor sales that apparently has not been disclosed up to now: Barclays Center's four clubs will serve alcohol up to one hour after arena events end—as late as 2:00 AM.

Section 5 of Mr. Schrieber's letter states:

"For premium, limited access areas of the Arena such as the suites, clubs and the restaurant, alcohol service will continue until one hour after the end of NBA games and other events.

...

"Sales of alcoholic beverages for all public events at the Arena will end throughout the Arena, including the suites, clubs and the restaurant, no later than 2:00 a.m."

At an April 10 public meeting held at the 78th Precinct station house, representatives from Barclays Center maintained that liquor sales would end at the beginning of the fourth quarter of NBA games. No exception for the arena clubs was stated. Officials from Forest City Ratner Companies, when asked about liquor sales during public meetings, have likewise maintained that sales would end at the beginning of the fourth quarter. FCRC tends to frame discussions of arena operations in terms of NBA games, even though such games make up less than 20% of the 220 events expected to take place at Barclays Center each year.

 

How big will the late crowd be?

Mr. Schrieber's letter does not describe the capacity of the four clubs. However, the Nets Barclays Center seating chart indicates which sections have access to two of the clubs, the Courtside Club and the Legends Lounge. An estimate by AYW based upon a manual count of the seats suggests that approximately 525 Nets ticketholders would have access to the Courtside Club and 575 Nets ticketholders would have access to the Legends Lounge.

The Schrieber letter clearly indicates that the clubs will be in use at events other than NBA games. There is no information on Barclays Center's "stage end" or "stage center" seating charts to indicate that access to the clubs would be restricted at non-NBA events. Nor does Mr. Schrieber's letter describe how access to the clubs would be limited in those circumstances.

 

Implications for liquor license approval

Barclays Center's application will require an exception to New York State's Alcoholic Beverage Control Law's so-called "500-foot rule," which in theory prohibits new full liquor licenses being issued to applicants whose premises are within 500 feet of three other licensees for liquor sales. Demonstration of community support is a key justification for the State Liquor Authority to grant such an exception. The approval of Barclays Center's application by CB2 in April and CB6 in May was therefore seen as a milestone for FCRC.

It now appears the Boards were not informed about the clubs' later hours of operation prior to their deliberations. The Community Boards typically consider liquor licenses from nightclubs very carefully, as community concern about impacts from large-capacity clubs operating late at night has been high. (On the same night the CB6 Licenses Committee recommended approval of the Barclays Center license, it rejected an application by Kemistry Lounge, which proposed a seating capacity of 200 people.)

FCRC's late disclosure of extended hours of operation at the Barclays Center clubs may undercut its ability to use the Community Board resolutions as evidence of community support for its license. Community Boards 2 and 6 are not scheduled to meet again until after Barclays Center's 500-foot hearing. Presumably, it would be necessary for the Boards to take public testimony on new information regarding the arena clubs prior to voting on a revised resolution of support.

The New York State Liquor Authority will hold the hearing to consider a 500-foot exception for the Barclays Center liquor license at 11:00AM on Tuesday, June 12. The hearing will take place at the Authority's offices at 317 Lenox Avenue, 4th floor, in Manhattan. Public testimony is accepted.