Dec. 12, 2018 By Laura Hanrahan
Greenpoint’s Bury The Hatchet, an axe-throwing bar that opened in October, was denied approval for its liquor license application by Community Board 1 at last night’s meeting.
The locale at 25 Noble St. is seeking a wine and beer license for its premises, but saw its request turned down by a full board vote of 22 to 12 largely after members raised concerns over the safety of patrons.
The Greenpoint site, part of a nationwide chain, allows guests the chance to come in, have a few drinks, and throw axes to targets in one of its eight throwing lanes. Some of its locations have liquor licenses, while others are BYOB.
The business, additionally, marks the second of its kind to open in Brooklyn.
But despite the chain’s track record of virtually no injuries, many board members took issue with the potential safety risks that could come from combining alcohol and sharp tools in their no vote.
“The idea of voting in favor of a place where people are drinking alcohol and getting drunk and throwing hatchets—I just, in good conscience, wouldn’t want to open the newspaper and find out someone got hurt there and know that I voted in favor of it,” said Del Teague, CB1 second vice chair.
Christine Meehan-Berg, Bury The Hatchet’s general manager, said at the board meeting that safety was top priority for the establishment.
Each session, she said, is overseen by an axe master who teaches patrons how to throw and makes sure that everyone is safe.
The only incident in the franchise’s other locations was an injury that resulted from a guest dropping the axe onto their foot.
“I am very aware of how important it is that safety continues in my establishment as well as the community, so I just wanted to make sure that everybody understands that,” Meehan-Berg said.
Bury The Hatchet first presented their application to the community board’s State Liquor Authority (SLA) Review subcommittee last month.
Members of the committee, recounting the November meeting with two Bury The Hatchet staffers, indicated that they were put off from backing the business’s request after the attendees apparently displayed little knowledge of the surrounding neighborhood, and appeared unable to answer the committee’s questions.
“The two [Bury The Hatchet] people that were there were amazingly uninformed and didn’t know where anything was in New York City,” Burrows said. “They were worried about getting to the New Jersey transit to get back home to Princeton, and they had no clue where the G train was. They were clueless.”
Burrows, who also shared unspecified concerned about how patrons traveled to and from the bar, said the committee recommended approval of the license only a letter of support were obtained from the Milton Street Block Association, a group somewhat close to the premises.
One board member, however, wondered what the reasoning was behind concerns over how patrons traveled to and from the establishment, and the need for a letter from a not-so-close block association.
“How does this matter? It’s not like people are carrying axes down the street going to the bar,” said T. Willis Elkins. “They’re just walking to an establishment. We don’t require this of any other bar.”
Representatives from Bury The Hatchet stated that they attempted to call the block association 14 times, but never received a response.
But the board still focused on the letter of approval, and since there was none, the motion was ultimately to deny.
The State Liquor Authority, however, ultimately decides whether licenses will be granted, with a community board’s decision taken into consideration.
Bury The Hatchet said they provided the state with copies of phone records showing their attempts to reach the Milton Street Block Association, and are hopeful that its application will ultimately be approved by the agency.