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New Wine Bar Application Creates Community Board Firestorm

164 East 88th Street (Google Maps)

Chef Anne O’Hare – the owner of O Cuisine, a “culinary studio and private dining space” at 1261 Park Avenue (between 97th and 98th streets) – is planning to expand her UES footprint.

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Along with some unnamed partners, O’Hare is applying for a beer, wine and cider license for a small space at 164 East 88th Street (between Third and Lexington avenues), where she plans to open a wine bar called Bar Vivent.

O’Hare presented her plans to Community Board 8’s Street Life Committee this week, facing objections and concerns from both board members and civilians.

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Quotes may be abridged and lightly edited for clarity. 

“I live in the building across the street and we have grave concerns about the noise, the lights, the music, the fact that it’s food; we haven’t ever had a restaurant in that space,” said Julie Allen, a member of the public. “We have young children and front apartments that will be affected. And we oppose this very much. To have a restaurant serving liquor, I mean, it really doesn’t fit the middle of the block. There are certainly restaurants on the Third Avenue side. And that’s it. This is a very poor choice of a space. We’re trying to save our block and have it as quiet as possible.”

“I have lived in this building for 30 years,” said Irina Langman, also a member of the public. “And I definitely strongly oppose the establishment like this in the quiet residential block.”

O’Hare responded to the apprehension. “It’s going to be a lovely quiet wine bar, we’re not going to have, you know, patrons [being] loud and causing any problems on the street. We’d like to think that we’re going to be a quality establishment with a nicely curated wine list. We’re not a restaurant, there won’t even be any cooking. It’s going to be kind of classic wine bar. Charcuterie, cheese. And I think it’ll be a nice addition to the neighborhood.”

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Charles Epstein owns an apartment across the street. “Unfortunately, what happens is that there’s loitering outside of restaurants and outside of bars, especially a place that’s not anticipated to be serving food,” he said. “So that’s my major concern, that this neighborhood, with all due respect, doesn’t need a 400 square foot restaurant on the first floor.”

O’Hare confirmed that the space is less than 400 square feet and would come with nine tables. The proposed hours are Monday-Thursday from 4 p.m. to 10 p.m., Friday from 4 p.m. to 11 p.m., and Saturday-Sunday from 1 p.m. to 11 p.m.

Marco Tamayo, one of the feistier board members, also believes they won’t be approved to use the space. O’Hare’s attorney says otherwise.

Community Board 8 ultimately made a motion to approve the application with a stipulation that one dedicated employee will need to ensure that no loitering takes place. (Community board votes are advisory only.)

We’ve contacted Anne O’Hare who was not immediately available for comment. We’ll provide updates when we know more.


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Latest Comments

  1. t-bo April 4, 2024

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