[UPDATE] Woodland’s Liquor License Suspended

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[UPDATED: Friday, June 7, 2019 at 7:15pm] Woodland’s General Manager, Pedro Yamasaki, contacted Bklyner Friday evening to tell us that a judge lifted the Emergency Order of Suspension and that the venue is back to normal operations. A representative for SLA confirmed that the business was granted a stay. We will update when more details become available.

PARK SLOPE – Woodland‘s liquor license has been suspended following an emergency NYS Liquor Authority (SLA) meeting on Thursday, June 6.

Woodland, 242 Flatbush Avenue (Photo: Pamela Wong/Bklyner)

While the venue remains open for business, it is not allowed to serve alcohol. An Emergency Order of Suspension consisting of eight pages and dated June 6, 2019, is posted on Woodland’s front window listing 40 violations filed against the business.

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An SLA disciplinary hearing was held on May 29 on eleven violations issued against Woodland on March 29, 2019, according to an SLA representative. Those charges include “operating a disorderly premise, becoming a focal point for police attention, excessive noise, and failure to abide by stipulations the licensee entered into with Community Board 6.”

Several area business owners testified at the hearing about Woodland’s “drunken, belligerent patrons” disrupting their businesses. Residents also testified about  “intoxicated patrons wreaking havoc on the neighborhood, especially during weekend brunch hours.” The 78th precinct has received more than two hundred calls about Woodland in the last year and has had to post a patrol car outside the premises on weekends, according to the SLA.

Also on May 29, the SLA and the NYPD conducted an inspection at Woodland which resulted in an additional thirty-three violations, according to the SLA, including various fire hazards, code violations, and dangerous conditions including the storage of fireworks and compressed gas, and blocked emergency exits, among others.

The SLA notice currently posted on the Woodland storefront states that an Emergency Summary Order Of Suspension of alcoholic beverage license was issued to Prime Six Inc, DBA Woodland. It also states that the restaurant/bar’s alcohol beverage license was originally issued on March 29, 2012 and expired on February 28, 2019. Woodland has been allowed to continue operations under SAPA (State Administrative Procedures Act) from March 1, 2019 through February 29, 2020. A SAPA letter allows a business with outstanding violations to continue to operate until the disciplinary matters are resolved, the SLA representative explained.

Last year, in April 2018, SLA scheduled a hearing regarding the renewal of Woodland’s liquor license amid five charges filed against the business from October 1 through November 10, 2017. On May 2, 2018, the SLA agreed to dismiss the charges if owner Akiva Ofshtein paid a $12,000 fine, though it was noted that the agency had “further charges coming” against the business. The charges remained on the venue’s SLA file.

Emergency Order of Suspension posted on Woodland storefront

Located at 242 Flatbush Avenue at the corner of 6th Avenue, Woodland serves a $20 bottomless mimosa brunch on weekends which has resulted in many complaints from neighbors, such as public drunkenness, patrons relieving themselves on the streets, loud music, and violence. Several nearby residents have voiced concerns at the 78th Precinct’s Community Council meetings about intoxicated patrons getting into cars and driving away.

Following a CB6 vote rejecting Woodland’s liquor license renewal application in March 2018, Ofshtein told Bklyner that he and his staff had taken measures to appease the community, including the use of crowd control barriers to keep large crowds from blocking the sidewalks and stationing a security guard at the corner of 6th & St. Marks Avenues on weekends.

After the liquor license renewal hearing in April 2018, Ofshtein said despite his efforts to reach a compromise with the community, neighbors remained unhappy. “It’s beginning to feel like there’s a racial component to it,” he said, adding, “I firmly believe it’s because we mainly have an African-American and Caribbean-American clientele.”

See the June 6, 2019 SLA Emergency Order of Suspension for Woodland here.

According to the notice posted at Woodland this week, the State Liquor Authority “commenced a disciplinary proceeding to revoke the license of Prime Six Inc” based on charges that include the licensee “made its license available to a person not specified in the license…Robert and Zhan Petrosyants…from on and before 6/3/19” as well as multiple building code violations dated 10/22/16 through 5/29/19.

A violation dated 5/29/19 reads, “there has existed a sustained and continuing pattern of noise, disturbance, misconduct or disorder on or about the licensed premises, related to the operation of the premises or the conduct of its patrons, which adversely affects the health, welfare, or safety of the inhabitants of the area in which the licensed premises are located.”

Another violation dated 5/29/19 states, “the occurrence of noise disturbance, misconduct or disorder in the licensed premises, in front of or adjacent to the licensed premises, or in the parking lot of the licensed premises has resulted in the licensed premises becoming a focal point for police attention….”

Prime Six Inc. has until June 26, 2019 to enter a plea to the charges. Should the business plead “not guilty,” a “prompt and speedy administrative hearing” will be conducted, according to the SLA notice.

“The repeated and increasing number of disruptive incidents at this establishment, combined with the failure to correct serious public safety issues, demonstrates that this licensee lacks concern for the safety or well-being of their patrons or their community,” SLA Chairman Vincent Bradley said in a statement. “History shows adhering to fire and building codes is essential to keeping patrons safe in the event of an emergency. This suspension should serve as a message that we will not hesitate to take a license when a bar poses a threat to public safety.”

Bklyner reached out to Woodland for comment but did not hear back prior to posting.

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16 COMMENTS

  1. Great reporting, Pamela. You sure got a lot of info out of the SLA. Why the SLA was not on top of convicted felons availing themselves of the liquor license as silent partners is certainly puzzling. Let’s hope this sticks.

  2. That’s the problem, people can’t understand how felons can run a business !!! They will be back & better

  3. Thank God, The manager there was terrible and he was a thief. That guy couldn’t run a faucet let alone a business. The owners should look into hiring new management 🤷🏽‍♂️

  4. So black people runnning legitimate business are felons… Oh Ok.. you’ll are full of shit, racist and the f-cking problem with new Brooklyn..

  5. Hey, H: learn to read. Felons can run businesses, but not this kind of business. Just like felons can’t be stock market traders or lawyers. It’s against the law. And…better? The only way it will be better is if they stop violating the 30+ counts that appeared in the temporary suspension order.

  6. Woodland is a great establishment all this is negative connotation is only because it’s most African American population like the owner said. When white people are getting wasted outside of pubs fighting and carrying on or raping people nobody bats an eye but let a large group of african Americans get together and there is an issue. They’re mad because every weekend Woodland’s establishment rakes in more cash than any venue on the flatbush ave strip. Do you people realize the whole flatbush is nothing but bars??? So who is to say that it’s just drunk people from woodland. Just because the establishment isn’t white owned its a problem. Give it a rest

  7. This article really does the business no justice . It’s sad to think such a progressive neighborhood does not support this venue . It attracts more tourism in Brooklyn and also brings in more cash to nearby restaurants as well. People are likely to patronize surrounding businesses and actually boost economic growth within the area . It’s clear that racism is still prominent in the park slope area . It says a lot about the people in the community. You shouldn’t be in New York if you can’t appreciate diversity

  8. I haven’t heard of all the places in Williamsburg with loud drunken white patrons being shut down

  9. Sounds like nearby business owners did not like that Woodland repeatedly represented what an ideal black brunch spot should be. I cannot even count how many times envious caucasians would stop and ask about the establishment as they pushed their baby joggers back to their boring/newly gentrified brownstones. I hope these violations go away soon, let’s be honest – if another crowd were here, there’d be no issues.

  10. It doesn’t bring cash to other businesses. If you read the article, you would see that nearby business owners came to testify against the Woodland. in fact, the business around the corner closed down because of Woodland patrons’ shenanigans. Don’t turn this into something about race either. plenty of the neighbors who have issues with the noise, public drunkenness and dangerous activity emanating from Woodland and its patrons are black, carribean-americans, hispanic and asian. Woodland had years to correct its policies and failed miserably. Lastly, if you learned to do a little research, you’d know that the owners are felons because they were convicted of federal crimes and went to prison. And PS, the owners are NOT black.

  11. I visited Woodland on Memorial Day, precisely because I saw their posts on Instagram. My husband and I live in England. Whilst waiting for them to open, we went in to Kith across the st and purchased items and then got donuts from Doughnut Plant, after we left. So I personally dispute the idea, that their customers don’t patronise other local businesses. We had a great time and will definitely be back.

  12. It definitely appears to be a racial component to this. As soon as I read the part about the “weekend brunches” I knew immediately what the issue was.

  13. If peiple are getting drunk, belligerent, rude, peeing in the steeets and then roaring offin cars, they are a public nuisance…menace even. I don’t give a damn what color they are.

    I am white and originally from LI. It is the same thing with some people I grew up with — stupid, immature human beings feeling a sense of entitlement to their boorishness.

    I have been to Woodlands during both quiet and busy times. Huge difference in patron behavior, but management doesn’t care either way. If the establishment’s owner doesn’t enforce a standard of decent and civilized behavior, then Woodlands deserves every piece of Hell thrown their way by the community and SLA.

  14. I’ve lived nearby for years. Seems like people getting dressed up to have a good time on the weekend. I’ve seen wayyyh worse in Meatpacking, Williamsburg, and the Lower East Side. Not everyone’s idea of a good time is pretending who can be holier than thou at the Food Coop.

  15. Cameras needed. Film those people you claim are misbehaving. Then there’ll be some evidence, instead of just accusations and criticism. Cameras, either surveillance or cell phone, will help. Either people will behave better because they know they may be filmed, or there’ll be evidence of the charges being tossed around.

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