June 1, 2020 By Michael Dorgan
Two bars in Queens have had their licenses suspended following a string of social distancing violations and illegal alcohol sales.
Hangar 11 Bar & Grill in Kew Gardens and Hangar Bar & Grill in Astoria generated over 100 police complaints between them from March 20 to May 9, according to an SLA order. Both bars operate under the same ownership, the SLA said.
The bars were operating in violation of the governor’s March 22 PAUSE order, which bans in-house sales of food and alcohol, according to the SLA.
The order was signed to combat the spread of COVID-19 and also enforce strict social distancing guidelines.
According to the SLA suspension order, the bar abused temporary “to go” privileges and SLA guidelines by selling alcohol in unsealed containers and without food.
Customers bought chips with their drinks as a way to get around the food component requirement of the sale, the SLA said.
This led to long waiting lines and clusters of customers drinking outside the premises. Many customers were not wearing masks and not adhering to social distancing rules, the SLA said.
“It’s obvious this licensee is simply exploiting the new “to go” privileges and endangering the lives of his employees, police and his community in the process,” SLA Chairman Vincent Bradley said.
Both joints have required constant police attention and received numerous warnings and summonses leading up to their suspensions, the SLA said.
Furthermore, the operators of the bars allowed customers to congregate inside both premises.
The NYPD visited the Hangar 11 Bar & Grill, located at 11911-11913 Metropolitan Ave. on May 3 and found over 50 people both inside and outside the joint. At least five people were consuming alcohol on the sidewalk.
On May 19, an undercover SLA investigator purchased an unsealed alcoholic drink with the purchase of a bag of chips. The bar staff also let the investigator consume the drink inside the bar.
At the Astoria premises, located 24-43 Steinway St., a crowd of around 90 people were drinking inside and directly outside the premises on May 15. They were ignoring social distancing guidelines, according to the SLA.
The SLA has charged both bars with several violations including failure to comply with state executive orders pertaining to COVID-19 restaurant restrictions. These include failure to supervise the licensed premises and for becoming a focal point for police attention.