On its liquor-license application, WeWork told Community Board 1 that the Mailroom, its subterranean bar at 110 Wall Street—the building is home to WeWork office space and WeLive apartments—does not intend to apply for a cabaret license, which the city requires for any establishment with dancing. Well, a complaint has come in, and given the buzz around the venue, I suspect it won’t be the last. “The Mailroom is a club with dancing and DJs,” emailed a reader who’d prefer to remain anonymous. “It’s been overcapacity/severe overcrowding every night, like crowded with people on the sidewalk from the water till the Wall Street subway station, smoking marijuana. Does this mean the club is illegal and they lied in the liquor-license application? It’s affecting the quality of life in the Seaport area with the drug use and noise.”
At the Community Board 1 meeting in June, the Mailroom was described as a bar, not a nightclub, which would’ve concerned the committee more than it already did. (The discussion went on for a long time.) Also unsaid was that Jayma Cardoso, owner of The Surf Lodge in Montauk would be involved. She was not listed among the five principals, and the application specifically says that no outside promoters will be used. (“The Surf Lodge remains open despite conflicts with Montauk residents over the past few years, having earned more than 900 various violations since it opened in 2008,” reported Eater.) And I’m positive that no one mentioned a dance floor, which Haute Living says exists: “The bar looks built for a mix of drinks and dancing, with a DJ booth ready for use across the dance floor from the bar. On either side of the space are 70’s disco-inspired retro sofas, with tables at each, and even a bocce court in back. The retro-chic vibes of the sofas play well in the room, but give the sense of two worlds in the bar: a gilded age New York post office serving up drinks, and a grooved-out dancers lounge opposite it.”
When asked about the dance floor, the lack of a cabaret license, and the participation of Jayma Cardoso, a WeWork spokesperson responded with this statement: “Mailroom will serve as a vibrant after-work and evening destination, creating a space for those who live, work and play in the Financial District. We look forward to hosting occasional programming around art, film, music, and more.”
The question, then, for anyone who’s bothered by the crowds and disruption is: How to complain? Community Board 1 is not likely to take the Mailroom to task for its misrepresentations unless the establishment is causing a nuisance. (CB1 said it had yet to receive any complaints, and if there is dancing without a cabaret license, that would fall under the auspices of the city’s Department of Consumer Affairs.) I’ve said this before, but it bears repeating. If you have an issue with a bar, restaurant, or event space, the best thing you can do is file a complaint with 311 (you can call or do it online) and the State Liquor Authority. Nothing will likely happen as a direct result, but you’ll get a complaint number that you should forward on to CB1 (email firstname.lastname@example.org). These numbers are the main way CB1 keeps track of issues regarding local businesses, and they’re what the State Liquor Authority will take into consideration when a renewal, alteration, or new license comes up. The SLA has said that the only way it’ll reject a renewal is if there’s a trail of prior complaints.
And, always, your complaint will be much more noticed if it’s not the only one. You’re wise to engage other residents to contact 311 and CB1.
The top photo is by Daniel Maurer of Bedford + Bowery.