Good Morning
Good Morning
Long IslandSuffolk

Amityville board votes no on renewing Escape Lounge's cabaret license

Police responded to an incident at the Escape

Police responded to an incident at the Escape Lounge in Amityville on Monday, Jan. 30, 2017. Credit: Paul Mazza

The Amityville Village board of trustees has voted not to renew the cabaret license for a bar and restaurant.

Escape Lounge, at 528-530 Broadway, is the third business at the address to raise concerns among village officials in the past seven years.

The board of trustees approved a six-month cabaret license for Escape in August and the business applied for a renewal in January. In February, after a referral by Amityville Police Chief Glenn Slack, the state liquor authority approved an emergency suspension of the lounge’s liquor license, which had been issued in July.

The authority’s hearing on the suspension cited three shootings since September, including two within 24 hours in January. In addition, on Jan. 21, police responded to calls about an altercation outside the building. Police said Kenroy Gayle — who along with Antonio Copeland are listed as the business’s principals — did not cooperate with police.

Noting that there are homes within 200 feet of the lounge, a liquor authority attorney stated at the hearing that continued operation of the business was a “clear threat to the public interest and welfare” with a “clear pattern of violence and disorder.”

At a village board meeting in February, Slack recommended the cabaret license not be renewed. “I truly believe that the two owners, they really wanted to make a go of this place . . . but they just lost control,” Slack said.

Gayle told the board that he and Copeland had installed more cameras and increased security at the lounge but that “it’s kind of out of our hands what goes on outside.”

The village in late 2014 told the liquor authority that it would oppose La Casa restaurant from selling alcohol, and the previous business at the site, El Rodeo, had its liquor license suspended in early 2014. The business had more than 80 police visits in four years, officials said, including for a stabbing, a shooting, and a beating.

“This establishment was allowed to open even though the location had a history of violence,” said Tara Smith, who lives on a nearby street. “This irresponsible decision by this board brought violence to our normally quiet streets.”

In response to the resident criticisms, Gayle told the board that he was “sorry I invested all my money and my hard-earned time.”

Latest Long Island News