Volume 73, Number 39 | January 28 - February 03, 2004

Potatoes to pizza: Complaint-plagued bar is no more

By Lincoln Anderson

Villager photo by Lincoln Anderson

The former Two Potato bar on Christopher St. was boarded up last week.

Chances Are, a bar at the corner of Christopher and Greenwich Sts. that local residents protested about vociferously several years ago when it was known as Two Potato, recently closed without much fanfare.

Neighbors had been bothered by noise and crowded sidewalks from the bar, known for its lip-synching drag-queen performers. They had accused City Councilmember Christine Quinn of not doing enough to combat the problem, charging she was reluctant to crack down on a gay establishment.

Reports are now that the place will become an Italian cafe and pizza place with a full bar.

The former bar on the ground floor of the two-story building was boarded up and no one responded to the doorbell for the upstairs office last Thursday morning. But a waitress at Sweet Life cafe next door said there are new owners and the place’s interior is currently being renovated.

“They’re Italian. They’re going to have Italian food,” she said. “Pizza, I think, too. They put a pizza oven in.”

She said the bar had been “very rowdy” but didn’t really affect the luncheonette since they close at 8 p.m.

Tim Duffy, a Sixth Police Precinct community affairs officer, said Two Potato had been a source of complaints, but not particularly worse than other bars in the precinct, such as those on Bleecker St., for example.

“We had issues with it,” said Duffy, who patrolled the Christopher St. beat for nine years until 2000. “But a trouble spot — no. Quality of life, hanging out outside, noise, drinking on the sidewalk, cabaret issues.... It wasn’t horrible.”

“They weren’t doing business and that’s why they closed down,” said Duffy. “We heard it’s going be a pizzeria.”

However, Dave Poster, president of the Christopher St. Patrol, said Two Potato really was a bane of residents’ existence. He said the bar improved a bit after it was reopened as Chances Are about two years ago, but after six months the problems and former clientele returned.

“It was the worst of any bar that we know of in our area,” he said. “You’d have 20 kids yelling and screaming outside. When we’d be patrolling, we’d be following drug dealers and prostitutes and they’d always go in there. Most of the kids wouldn’t even go inside. They might not have had the money to go in and drink and most of them were underage. They would be waiting for whoever was in there to come out.”

Poster, who patrols the area on Friday and Saturday nights with the Guardian Angels, said that two years ago, when the bar’s liquor license came up for renewal, local elected officials had wanted to sit down and work something out with the community and bar. But he refused to sit down with the bar, feeling they “lacked credibility.”

“We collected 200 signatures against the license renewal in an hour and a half on the street,” Poster recalled. But the State Liquor Authority granted the renewal.

“The license should never have been renewed,” Poster said. “Community Board 2 voted to not renew the license. But S.L.A. — it didn’t matter. They just renewed it.”

Poster is eagerly looking forward to the bar’s replacement.

“I am so excited. The new guys are Village guys. They grew up here. They were each married in Our Lady of Pompei Church,” he said. “I’ve gone inside the place and they’ve done a great job fixing it up. It’s going to be a very nice place. We need something like that on Christopher St.”

He said that on Monday he noticed they had installed French doors and a nice wooden exterior surface outside the restaurant, replacing the painted-white construction plywood that had been put up during the renovation.

Poster said the place will be called Bar Nocetti and serve pizza, as well as pastries, desserts and coffee and will also have a full bar. According to him, one of the partners will be the chef and was the chef at another restaurant he used to have, Finalmente, on Hudson and 12th Sts. They have even brought a brick oven for pizza over from Italy.

“It’s going to cost me a few pounds,” Poster said.


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