thebar.jpgWhile the city has spent the last few years making life difficult for bar owners in a fixed location with a vested interest in maintaining good relations with its neighbors, the State Liquore Authority has been passing out temporary liquor licenses like refills at an all-you-can-drink affair. According to the New York Post, the SLA issued 2,899 temporary liquor licenses in the city during 2006. That's 13% more than in 2005 and a 55% increase from the temporary licenses handed out in 2002.

The temporary one-night permits are supposed to be for events like weddings or parties. They allow the sale of beer and wine, but not liquor, without the drawn out process of applying for a permanent license. A Temporary Beer & Wine permit, or TPA, costs recipients $36 per bar and per day. City Councilman Eric Gioia fears that some establishments might be abusing the temporary permits as a way around the more strict permanent license application process. He points to a club in his district that was denied a permanent license because of several complaints from the NYPD to the SLA about its operations, including an employee-involved shooting. Nonetheless, the club, Tropical Sensations, was issued seven temporary permits in 2006. What's interesting is that Tropical Sensations doesn't even have a permit to use its basement location as a nightclub and the limit for temporary licenses is four per year.

"They got a few more by us than they should have," said Kerri O'Brien, the SLA's director of licensing operations,

It does seem that way. In the SLA's defense, they cut off Tropical Sensations from receiving any more TPAs this year. Perusing the SLA's FAQ list can give one some indication of the broad array of regulations that the Authority is in charge of enforcing. We did not realize that football pools in bars were illegal. We imagine that puts about 80% of NYC bars out of compliance, if the SLA ever bothered to enforce that rule.