NY SLA Denies Outdoor Beer & Wine Permit To Earl’s Beer and Cheese!


May 6, 2015

Short update, more to follow.

Late yesterday afternoon, the NY State Liquor Authority denied the application of Earl’s Beer and Cheese to serve beer and wine in their backyards, yards faced in by hundreds of residents in eleven walk-up buildings on the Western half of East 97th and 98th Streets, between Park and Lexington. That’s in the southern end of East Harlem. Or the northern end of the Upper East Side… aka us, 97-98 Lexington and Park Ave. Neighbors

(click to expand photo). Red arrows are all buildings with air-sound access to the proposed backyard beer joint.
(click to expand photo).
Red arrows are all buildings with air-sound access to the proposed backyard beer joint.

Towards the end of the NY SLA hearing, the attorney for Earl’s repeated previously-voiced threats that if they lost the hearing, the owner, Michael Cesari, will serve food-only in the backyards, 7 days a week.

In our humble opinion, given the overwhelming consensus of the SLA agreeing with the majority of the rear-window-facing neighbors who objected to Cesari (or anyone else!) doing any business in the residential backyards, Cesari will be doing this out of spite, and his customers should know about it.

Get ready…
… for some yelping…

Today, Wed. May, 6, at 6 PM, Cesari’s other bar, ABV, a block away on Lexington, is scheduled at the CB11M Licensing and Permits Committee meeting to ask for approval on an unenclosed, sidewalk cafe. Similar to when he first applied for Earl’s expansion, it appears from the photos below that Mr. Cesari has again neglected to post his 7 day notice as required under the current regs of CB11M.

Join us at CB11M at this meeting and tell them to deny his application till he follows the rules, and tell them to review and revise the soft-as -silk-for-bar-owners-the-hell-with-the-neighbors rules :

NYC Needs Resident-Focused Policies For Backyard/Rooftop/Sidewalk Bars


VIP: if the above brief policy review meets with your approval, email the politicians here with the above link, and tell them to review it, and move the CB to adopt as much of it as possible!

We will post more details on the recent hearing soon, including some good backstory. Meanwhile, thanks to all who helped gather petitons, called politicians, leafletted, and forwarded emails and faxes! (


Manhattan Community Board 11 is located at:
1664 Park Avenue (btwn 117th & 118th Sts.), Ground Floor
New York, New York 10035


These photos of the front door of Michael Cesari’s bar, ABV, were taken May 3, 2015 in the late afternoon.
RFDoor                      LFdoor

(click on photos to expand)

You will notice the only things posted are his menus, wine list, hours of business, and Dept. of Health grade.

“Tsk, tsk, we don’t need no stinkin’ regulations! We’re the bar-king of the neighborhood, and only you grumpy people who don’t like the sound of my shouting customers drifting in your windows need regulations!”

PS – Our gratitude to the NY SLA, both downstate and in Albany for putting up with our first time pro se manners. They were strict, and more importantly, they were fair.

Also a hat tip to and major thanks for last minute encouragement from Lower East Side Dwellers.

And our hearts were blessed by the memory of Janet Freeman, a good friend and incredible activist, who passed away too soon, 4 years ago last week.

Our continued thoughts for her family…



3 thoughts on “NY SLA Denies Outdoor Beer & Wine Permit To Earl’s Beer and Cheese!

  1. Thank you!
    Tonight their customers have been yelling on and off for the last 4 hours.
    I cannot imagine what it would have been like if they had gotten their liquor license.
    Trying to put a beer garden in this canyon of buildings is utter insanity.


    1. We could not have accomplished this without the persistence of so many neighbors. And its not over yet, as he will try and serve food-only in those backyards (but his customers will likely already be drunk and noise-prone…).

      Contact your neighbors, as EVERYONE must:

      Sign up and follow and leave comments on this website, and every few days forward links and print posts from this website for neighbors without internet;

      Set up a google alert for “Earls Beer and Cheese” and every time you are notified that someone has written about the place, leave your honest comment about Earls’ effect on our neighborhood.

      Follow and regularly re-tweeet us at @9798LexPark, #KeepResidentialBackyardsRESIDENTIAL, and visit, comment on and forward links of our videos on youtube at


      And leave honest comments about Earls on Yelp.

      Remember, “if you don’t stand up, you will be stood on”.


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