Riverdale City Grill promised residents it would start closing earlier and cracking down on noise and underage drinking when their liquor was almost denied renewal, last month.
The decision to close at 2 a.m. came after representatives from the NYPD’s 50th Precinct suggested Community Board (CB) 8 not move to renew their license, citing a large number of noise and underage drinking complaints.
The bar’s owner, Jamie Albert, suggested closing at 2 a.m., instead of the 4 a.m. city average, in order to comply with police concerns.
“I’m open for suggestions. I will do whatever,” said Albert, when asked what her plan was to deter underage drinkers. “ I want to be in compliance with the police department.”
Special Lieutenant John Foder agreed with Albert’s suggestion of closing early, but also added that bouncers should keep out-of-state ID’s in a binder while their patrons are drinking, a policy Albert has also adopted.
“The book is probably the best way to do it. Kid’s aren’t gonna give up their fake ID because they know if we come in and find a fake ID, it’s a felony charge,” said Foder.
“That’s something that isn’t taken lightly.”
Foder added that police generally try to write the customers up for breaking the law opposed to the owners.
“We try to not write up you guys [bar owners],” Foder told Albert at the meeting. “We try to write up the patrons with the intent to consume under 21.”
Foder described his reasoning for placing emphasis on punishing the underage drinker over the bar itself.
“If we write up you guys, you pay an extreme amount of taxes and the kid’s get nothing.” he said. “When you write the kid’s up, that usually deters them from coming back and drinking again.”
Sophomore Kate Cowling criticized the new policy, saying she thought it would cram more students onto the bar for shorter amounts of time.
“I don’t like it because I’m sure around the later hours it would clear out and be much more enjoyable,” Cowling said. “Now it’s going to be crowded all night.”
Cowling also added that she thought the idea of keeping a binder with ID’s was poor.
“It seems very inefficient and time consuming,” said Cowling. “It also puts everyone at risk of losing their real ID’s and having them be lost in the binder.”
Anthony Capote contributed reporting