Soda Bar Wants To DJ Legally

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Soda Bar at 629 Vanderbilt Avenue in Prospect Heights. (Screenshot: Google Maps)
Soda Bar at 629 Vanderbilt Avenue in Prospect Heights. (Screenshot: Google Maps)

PROSPECT HEIGHTS — The Vanderbilt Avenue hot spot Soda Bar is looking to bring in a DJ on the weekends, but a couple of neighbors say, “Not so Fast.”

Owner Galina Sokolova of Soda Bar, located at 629 Vanderbilt Ave. between St. Marks Avenue and Prospect Place filed a “method of operations” change late December and sought a recommendation from the CB8’s liquor license committee. The change would allow the bar owner to bring in a DJ on premises on Friday and Saturday nights when the bar is open until 4:00 am.

According to the New York State Liquor Authority (SLA), any licensed owner seeking to change the way they operate – adding a DJ would apply – must get approval from the agency.

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At least one resident objected to the application because of noise level concerns. The neighbor also brought a letter from one other resident who expressed the same concerns.

The committee voted to table the objection and advised the bar owner to consult with local residents about their concerns, including those who objected at the Monday, Jan. 7 committee meeting.

So far, Sokolova has relocated speakers and lowered the volume to accommodate neighbors. The ceiling is also sound-proofed. The venue has had live music and a DJ in the past but the SLA told them to cease and desist without proper licensing.

The two-room, 1,250 sq. ft venue fits 74 people. The bar first came to the nabe in 2002 and serves food, beer, and spirits.

“Soda Bar has been a 17-year neighbor in Prospect Heights,” said James Dean Ellis Chair of the CB8’s SLA Committee, calling the business a pioneer “evening activity.”

“The neighborhood has seen more development of apartments and subsequently new restaurants and bars bringing new residents and visitors. Our long-time neighbors want to be supportive of the thriving food and nightlife but have expressed their growing concern for the stewardship by some establishments when it comes to mitigating crowds and noise. Our committee continues to value our neighbor’s input and weigh their concerns when an application comes before us.”

The board will vote on the application on Thursday, Jan. 10 at the CB8 general meeting.

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