The New York State Liquor Authority reinstated the liquor license for Bracco’s Clam and Oyster Bar last month after a suspension related to an impromptu concert by the rapper 50 Cent last summer and a disturbance on the Nautical Mile that followed.
The reinstatement came with a $20,000 fine and several provisions: The restaurant/bar cannot have a DJ, dancing, live music or promotions, and it must close by midnight. Bracco’s was allowed to begin serving alcohol again in late December.
In August, rapper 50 Cent was scheduled to promote his vodka brand at the business at 319 Woodcleft Ave. in Freeport. He was not supposed to perform, but he sang for about 45 minutes, according to the State Liquor Authority.
After the performance, the liquor authority said there were brawls in the streets, glass bottles thrown at responding police officers, and destruction of property along the Nautical Mile. Bracco’s liquor license was suspended. The restaurant had been fined several times by the agency previously for failure to comply with regulations and operating a disorderly premises.
On Dec. 22, State Liquor Authority Chairman Vincent Bradley chastised the third-generation owners, brothers Michael and Jonathan Bracco, at a hearing.
Even though Bracco’s did not anticipate 50 Cent’s performance, “the bottom line is, they did nothing to stop it,” Bradley said at the hearing. “He got up there and sang and their response was, ‘What was I supposed to do?’ ”
The Liquor Authority sustained 11 of 27 charges related to the concert and other license compliance issues.
“We’re going to do everything by the book, to the code, by the number,” Michael Bracco said at the hearing. “You have my word on that.”
However the restaurant still listed “live bands/DJ’s” on its Facebook page as of Monday afternoon.
Bracco’s Garden City attorney, Ronald J. Rosenberg, said he was unaware of the Facebook issue. “They’re not having either of those,” he said.
Rosenberg disputed the liquor authority’s account on Monday, saying 50 Cent sang along to karaoke and no one was hurt that night. He said the liquor license was wrongfully suspended and the three brothers will be taking legal action against the liquor authority.
“We will be taking them to court, over everything they did,” Rosenberg said.
He said Bracco’s had the proper permits from the village, but there was an error with its 2006 application to the liquor authority that didn’t reflect music. The five-month suspension resulted in more than $1 million in losses, he said.
“They can’t survive in business without a liquor license,” he said.
Howard Colton, the village attorney, said Monday a cabaret license to allow the bar to have music was in the works, but had not yet been issued in August. He also said police officers had been injured.
Going forward, he said village officials hope Bracco’s will be a better neighbor.
“We think they got the message,” Colton added.
Freeport Mayor Robert Kennedy said last week he agrees with the “substantial concessions” imposed by the liquor authority to reinstate the liquor license.
“I don’t want to see them go out of business,” Kennedy said.
Timeline of events
Bracco’s Clam and Oyster Bar in Freeport began serving alcohol again late last month after a five-month suspension.
Aug. 6, 2016: Bracco’s Clam and Oyster Bar holds an event where rapper 50 Cent was expected to promote his vodka brand. He ends up singing for about 45 minutes and a disturbance erupts.
Aug. 16: The New York State Liquor Authority issues an emergency liquor license suspension as a result, banning the sale and consumption of alcohol at the restaurant/bar.
Dec. 22: The liquor authority reinstates the liquor license with a $20,000 fine and several stipulations: no DJ, dancing, live music or promotions and the establishment must close by midnight.