Broadway Corridor Liquor License Task Force

Community Board Five (CB5) has noticed a dramatic increase in the number of liquor license applications for the blocks around Broadway between Madison Square Park and Herald Square.  When added to the number of hotel and other licenses in and around this small area, there is cause for great concern.  The potential for such a large number of new licenses in a small area has the ability to seriously and abruptly transform the nature of this neighborhood.  The number of hotels (and hotel guest rooms) in that area has tripled in the last ten years.  New residential development in this area, along with potential development and empty lots has the potential to vastly increase the residential population in this area over the next few years.  Because of these concerns, CB5’s State Licenses and Permits (SLAP) convened a Broadway Corridor Liquor License (BCLL) Task Force composed of members of CB5 and members of the public, to study the area and report conclusions on how CB5 should navigate its review of licenses there.  Considerations included:

  1. the current conditions in this area – survey of preexisting and more recent licenses added over the past few years, how long they have been in business, their capacity (legal occupancy), identification of method of operation (hours, type of operation, dancing, outdoor space, rooftop, sidewalk cafe, etc.), and other relevant factors determining the recent evolution and current status of the area including identification of residential buildings, bike lanes, sidewalk congestion, and other factors making a special circumstance for this area; and
  2. how the influx of hotels into this area may be relevant.

The BCLL Task Force gathered information by meeting with residents, businesses, block associations, neighborhood groups, and building owners, as well as engaging in direct community outreach.  The report of the BCLL Task Force was presented to PSQL and supported unanimously by the Committee after discussion took place at the PSQL meeting on October 30, 2019, with comments and input taken from the public.  The BCLL Report made various recommendations to ensure the normalized growth and development of the area from 26th Street to 31st Street, between 5th Avenue (including the West side of 5th Avenue) and 6th Avenue (including the East side of 6th Avenue), which area shall be designated the “Broadway Corridor Restricted Licensing Area” or “BCRLA”.   

At our Full Board meeting on Thursday, November 14th, 2019 Community Board Five adopted the Policy on the Broadway Corridor Restricted Licensing Area.  

The policy itself is below.  For the Full Report, which provides context and details with which policy decisions were made, please visit this link.


Manhattan Community Board Five hereby establishes the “BROADWAY CORRIDOR RESTRICTED LICENSING AREA” or “BCRLA” to include the area from 26th Street to 31st Street, between 5th Avenue (including the West side of 5th Avenue) and 6th Avenue (including the East side of 6th Avenue); and

Any new application for a liquor license within the Broadway Corridor Restricted Licensing Area may only be approvable provided that:

  1. The PSQL Committee finds the proposed “method of operation” of the premises generally compatible with the nature of the Broadway Corridor Restricted Licensing Area; and
  2. Hours of operation of the premises shall not be later than:
    • Sunday through Wednesday nights: closure no later than 1:00 AM; and
    • Thursday through Saturday nights: closure no later than 2:00 AM; and
  3. If there is any outdoor space (including any unenclosed or semi-enclosed area — rooftops and backyards, as well as decks, balconies, open windows, terraces, etc.), such outdoor space comply with CB5’s Rooftop/Rear Yard On-Premises Liquor License Policy, i.e. closing no later than 10:00 pm Sunday through Thursday and no later than 11:00 pm Friday and Saturday, which hours may be reduced subject to specific conditions in the particular location; and
  4. Outdoor pool locations with bar service shall be limited to use by hotel guests only; and
  5. For any outdoor space adjacent to a residential building, protections shall be implemented to preserve the privacy of any abutting residential areas; and
  6. No music, including ambient music, will be permitted in any outdoor space other than a rooftop space more than ten stories above nearby residential buildings; and
  7. No DJs or live music shall be played in any outdoor space at any time; and
  8. Any areas with permitted outdoor music will require a sound engineer to survey the premises and surrounding area and make recommendations to prohibit sound from traveling outside of the space. In addition to providing an initial analysis and recommendations, there should be a follow up by the sound engineer to confirm that the recommendations were actually implemented and are achieving the recommended sound limits; and
  9. For any hotel liquor license or any on-premises liquor license within a hotel where the applicant requests later operating hours to accommodate late-arriving hotel guests, PSQL may consider such request but only for a specifically designated space, indoors only, which space is accessible by hotel guests only; and
  10. For any on-premises liquor license not within a hotel, the premises shall contain not more than 4,000 square feet of space for patron use if it is within a one block radius from an existing “Business Class”, “Boutique Hotel” or similar “Large Scale” operation and establishment that has already been granted and is validly operating according to a suitable hotel and/or on-premises liquor license; and
  11. For any on-premises liquor license not within a hotel, the premises shall include either a full kitchen, or a food preparation area that is suitable, and logically related to the proposed method of operation and in compliance with all local regulations; and
  12. For any on-premises liquor license in a co-working space or a private club, the following additional restrictions shall apply:
    • alcohol may be provided for members and their immediate guests only, not the general public; and
    • special events open to non-members shall be limited; and
    • no alcohol shall be accessible (i.e. self-serve) after hours of operation; and
  13. The establishment’s proposed use and method of operation shall be consistent with the certificate of occupancy and permitted use and zoning category on record with the NYC Department of Buildings; and
  14. The premises shall not be used as a cabaret, disco, or nightclub, except to the extent that the applicant can show by clear and convincing evidence that any such use and method of operation will not cause problems or disturbances unsuitable for the mixed commercial and residential nature of the BCRLA, as determined using the following matrix:

Key Issues

Less Desirable






More Desirable




Method of Operation

Nightclub, bottle service, private events, bottomless brunch


Restaurant or Bar









Noise Level

DJs, live music, large sound system


Ambient music, smaller sound system

Crowd Control

Velvet Rope; Outdoor queuing


Indoor Queue

Proximity to Residences

Abutting or close to


Farther From

Outdoor Space

In highly trafficked area


In less trafficked area

15. There must be sufficient space provided for patrons to wait for access in order to prevent crowds cueing on the sidewalks and, as necessary, security personnel must discourage patrons from gathering on sidewalks after exiting; and

16. Hotels must conduct traffic studies to determine optimal traffic patterns for loading docks of the hotel, in order to reduce street traffic congestion and noise; and have a security guard or attendant to help with the flow of traffic; and

17. The applicant shall provide a 24-hour hotline phone contact (in the case of a hotel, a number other than the front desk) with the Authority to immediately address complaints and an email contact for non-critical issues; and

18. The applicant shall meet with PSQL committee members and nearby community residents to negotiate details of their methods of operation; and

19. The applicant shall execute and deliver a legally-binding affidavit, whereby the applicant shall:

i) Represent, for each area of the premises (a) the square footage, (b) the capacity, (c) the “method of operation,” (d) the number and location of all patron bars and service bars; and

ii) Agree to all conditions and stipulations as required by the PSQL Committee as a condition to approval of the application; and

iii) Agree to incorporate all of the restrictions into the “Method of Operation” included as part of the liquor license application submitted by applicant to the New York State Liquor Authority, a copy of which shall be simultaneously submitted to CB5.

Existing establishments in good standing with CB5 that became licensees prior to the adoption of this Policy shall be required to maintain their current method of operation. Notwithstanding the foregoing, any existing establishment that has community complaints, police reports, or that attracts violence, illegal activity, and/or creates a public nuisance, shall not benefit from this “grandfather” clause and may be subjected to these restrictions or even stricter scrutiny, and possibly referred to the State Liquor Authority for enforcement action.