RIP Bar Martignetti's: The Anatomy Of Shark Jumping

by Rachelle Hruska · April 15, 2009

[DJ Mess Kid and Kashmir Snowdon-Jones at Southside. The club is staying put-for now] In January we broke the news that BarMart closed their doors and posted a note that promised a several week time line to revamp their struggling restaurant.  Concurrently, Grubstreet unveiled the highly vaunted redesign "plans" of the restaurant that Anthony Martignetti had disclosed to them. Though even after two months, there was no progress to speak of.  Last night, the community board met, and it becomes clear that our neighborhood restaurant will not be reopening now, or ever.  But what will go in it's place? And will the Martingetti Brothers be keeping Southside? [Eater' Report]

Read the full report from Boozynyc below.  Here's what you need to take away:

The community board and residential neighbors do.not.like.the.martignettis.

The Brothers (of whom, only Tom was in attendance), would like to split their liquor liscense so that they would be able to keep Southside open and give the upstairs half to their friend-a guy named Burak.

Is that even possible/legal?! The board would like to know. Two women spoke against the Martignetti "scheme" as they quickly termed it - one called it "illegal" and a "bait and switch."

The board was complaining about the club opening at 11pm, puke on the sidewalk and packs of people clogging the area. And, well the Martignettis are going to keep the club open no matter what.

All of you Southside fans can breathe a sigh of relief for now. But will it ever be the same as it was?

[Amanda Hearst at Bar Marts Halloween '07]

Full Report:

Surprises and contentious moments abounded at last night's Community Board 2 meeting. Biggest of all was the curve ball thrown by the Martignetti brothers. Seems they want to split their liquor license and hold onto the basement club while giving over the ground floor to Cafe Noir... Except it's not Cafe Noir! Instead, Burak Karacam, managing partner of Pera, was before the board to apply for the license the Martignettis want to relinquish on the first floor - in addition to applying for a license for a new Pera at 54 Thompson. The folks from Cafe Noir were nowhere in site and didn't answer the call, likely signaling the end of the road for that rumored takeover.

Unfortunately for the attending brother, Tom Martignetti, the knives came out almost immediately. After several minutes explaining the idea of splitting a license and then bringing in someone else to run the restaurant independently, we witnessed a fascinating (not) discussion of ingress and egress. But lo the board was confused by this idea of two separate joints. Who's the other guy (Burak) and is this legal they asked. How did you get a license in the first place - did you apply as one entity, etc etc. Poor Tom stumbled along as they failed to grasp what he was saying - he didn't express the idea clearly enough to my mind but I still understood the point A vociferous board member signaled it would be a rough ride though, launching into a speech that there were too many liquor licenses in the area and that even if they rescinded one, they should not issue more than a beer & wine license. Then came the neighbors. The neighbors typified the sorts of people you get in these meetings - often educated and with money, sometimes longtime holders of apartments far below market. One guy, clearly a crazed Soho resident, went on at length about how his hood was being destroyed by people who, as he put it, know people and get bad things done. "Who do these people know?," he cried. The crowd actually applauded. The guy then said, "I always get applause in these meetings but nothing ever changes."

But we digress. Two women spoke against the Martignetti "scheme" as they quickly termed it - one called it "illegal" and a "bait and switch." They are both neighbors who clearly dislike what the area has become. While Tom wore a pained expression, one woman recounted a horrific scene of a near riot at 218 Lafayette - something I don't recall reading in the papers - and how the area has gone to shit. Tom was close to exasperation and explained that was not his establishment. But no one cared, and in the end, the entire escapade looks to go down in flames. As one woman put it, you make all your money in the club and not in the restaurant so you want to give the restaurant to your friend. Based on the board's reaction, that's not gonna happen.

A sidenote from this misadventure - they were complaining about the club opening at 11pm, puke on the sidewalk and packs of people clogging the area. Well the Martignettis are going to keep the club open no matter what. The board was completely sidetracked by their own stupidity and a couple of complainers from the fancy Police Building. You can split the license or not but in the end, the club will still be there. Brilliant.