Megu Gets Warning Its Liquor License May Be in Jeopardy

Two representatives from Megu, who did not identify themselves and said little, appear before Community Board 1's Tribeca Committee. Photos: Carl Glassman/Tribeca Trib

Mar. 16, 2014

Four months before their liquor license would be up for renewal, two representatives of the 100-seat Japanese restaurant Megu New York, at 62 Thomas St., stood before Community Board 1’s Tribeca Committee and received a stern warning. Stop the late-night drinking—beyond the allowable hours of their liquor license—or risk losing their license altogether.

Two frustrated neighbors told the committee at their March meeting that drunken and noisy crowds congregate outside Megu and on surrounding blocks, depriving the residents of sleep. John Willenbecher, who lives half a block away on West Broadway, said that he once went outside at 3:30 a.m. to confront Megu’s bouncer about the problem.

Willenbecher told of a confron­tation with the bouncer. “I said this was a residential street where many people live and, at this hour, sleep. He shoved me and told me, ‘If you don’t like it, move to another neighborhood.’ As I left, I saw someone throwing up on a fire hydrant.”

Megu’s liquor license only allows the establishment to serve alcohol until 11:30 p.m. on Sunday through Thursday, and until midnight on Friday and Sat­urday. Peter Braus, the chair of the Tribeca committee, asked the Megu representatives if they serve alcohol past those hours.

“Serving alcohol is up to midnight, but people tend to stay a little longer,” said one of two Megu representatives, a woman, who stood before the committee with their lawyer Frank Palillo. (The  restaurant representatives did not give their names to the committee and declined to give them to reporters.)

“So they stay until three in the morning with no alcohol?” Braus countered. “That seems difficult to believe. Is [Willenbecher] just wrong? That these parties are not going till that late?”

The woman hesitated, then responded, “As far as we are concerned, we are not serving alcohol.”

With his clients struggling to respond to Braus’s disbelieving follow-up questions, Palillo asked to temporarily excuse himself and his clients while they discussed the matter in the hallway.

When they returned, Palillo ex­plained that private parties, run by promoters who rent the space, have indeed been held at Megu. At these events—unaffiliated with the restaurant itself— alcohol may have been served, he noted.

“But we will stop that,” Palillo added. “It’s a problem for the neighbors, and we do not want to be a problem to the neighbors.”