The lovely-looking restaurant and bar The Breslin begins lunch service tomorrow, and co-owner Ken Friedman (The Spotted Pig) is planning on serving alcohol despite objections from the Masjid Ar-Rahman mosque across the street. Earlier this month the mosque’s leaders called a meeting with Friedman at The Ace Hotel, where The Breslin is located, and asked, "Can you move the bar?" Friedman's response makes us want to hurry over to The Breslin right now for a dram of Laphroaig to show our support (and drown out the voices):
I laughed. And the guy said, "Oh, you think that’s funny?" And I said, "Yeah, that is funny, that is really funny, because we’re not going to move the bar just because you discovered we’re serving booze." Can you name one restaurant in New York that doesn’t serve booze? I said, "This is the United States of America and we’ll do whatever the fuck we want." He said the mosque had suggested it couldn’t control the behavior of "a few bad eggs"; i.e., we could get a brick through our window.
Friedman notified police of the threat, but just to show he's not a hard-hearted man, that it's not all dollars and cents, he agreed to put a curtain over the windows so devout Muslims wouldn't be corrupted by the sight of infidel inebriation. But the curtain hasn't arrived yet, so over the weekend he actually taped paper over the windows to hide a gay wedding. A volunteer at the mosque says city law forbids serving liquor within 200 feet of a place of worship and that "not more than 200 feet is between the mosque and the bar."
But Ace Hotel developer Andrew Zobler tells The Observer, "The law is clear that in order for that to apply it has to be an exclusively dedicated house of worship, and at their space they have both residences and a restaurant, so basically, because of those uses the law allowed there to be a bar within 200 feet. Everyone was aware of that when the liquor license was granted." And Friedman adds, "They can threaten, but they can’t really stop us." Yeah, heh, what are these devout, pissed-off Muslims gonna do?