Locals Resist New Bars Near Atlantic Yards

A war is brewing between local residents and the proprietors of bars and restaurants near the Barclays Arena over changes in the character of the area, according to a story in the weekend Wall Street Journal, “New Nets Arena Proves a Magnet.” Food and drink retailers are eagerly seeking to open new venues, hoping to become the pre- and post-game hang-out spots for game goers. Meanwhile, residents and local community boards are resisting bottle service (See: Kemistry) and Hooters-type establishments.

“Residents are bracing themselves for the noise, litter and traffic the crowds will bring with them,” the article says. City councilwoman for the area Tish James was quoted as saying “I’m concerned that it’s becoming booze alley. I’m concerned that other corridors are becoming burger heaven. Once the arena is dark, you have a community that remains, and a community with a lot of children and young families.”

Another factor is the disconnect between residents–old-timers and recent arrivals alike–and the folks they fear will inhabit the sports bars and Meatpacking District-like clubs along the Flatbush corridor. The clash is more pronounced than at some other sports arenas because of the strong existing residential fabric. “Because the Barclays Center area was already on a sharp economic upswing, the arena has created a clash with the forces of gentrification, as affluent residents are demanding different services than arena-goers,” said the article.
New Nets Arena Proves a Magnet [WSJ]
Kemistry Lounge’s Future in Question [Brownstoner]
Hooters in Park Slope? Residents Say ‘Fuggedaboutit!’ [Brownstoner]
Photo by Alex Terzich

11 Comment

  • Gonna be busy around there fun-wise.

  • “Meatpacking District-like clubs”? I assume that’s referring to the one proposed Kemistry place? Are there others, or is that just a bit of extrapolation/hysteria?

    Does Madison Square Garden support a big club scene? Sports bars, sure, but clubs? A basketball game and a club night are two very different outings (and outfits) for most people. Seems like the Meatpacking’s clubs exist because of proximity to the PATH and NJTransit, more than anything. Don’t see that happening here as much.

    • Ehrmmmm…..
      We have Atlantic Terminal which is a LIRR stop. Long Island has been one of the largest “bridge and tunnel” crops. Of course this will be a hub for more than just the Nets game. THis arena will have concerts not just sports.
      It will be a sight to see.
      Pass the popcorn.

  • The article is a bunch of hogwash. None of what this article suggests has actually taken place. What has actually transpired is an influx of fancy coffee (Hungry Ghost), a couple farm to table type places (Carlton Park, Woodland), it’s gotten a few more stores (Kith, Vinnie’s).

    The amusing thing is that there are so far zero sports bars that have opened and zero clubs which have opened. Kemistry is done. The landlord is suing them for eviction from the space because they haven’t paid 60K in back rent.

    The article is a bunch of nonsense. People screamed that the area would be full of fast food and strip joints and instead it’s been a lot of upscale yuppie type stuff.

  • Also Tish James statement is absurd. I can think of perhaps one or two new bars that have opened within the arena area. How is that “Booze Alley?”

    Any moreso than 5th Avenue or Smith Street or Vanderbilt or I don’t know…any street in Manhattan.

    Crying wolf does no one any good.

  • I believe it was Thomas Jefferson who said, “The price of liberty (from Hooters and Kemistry) is eternal vigilance (at CB 2 and 6 meetings).”


  • I believe it was Thomas Jefferson who said, “The price of liberty (from Hooters and Kemistry) is eternal vigilance (at CB 2 and 6 meetings).”


  • i agree that this article is mostly bs. first, flatbush retail hasn’t been exactly picturesque- so far, what’s gone in is a vast aesthetic improvement (woodland is gorgeous, kith much prettier than the salvation army), and i think at the end of the day, most of us just care that it doesn’t get worse.

    second, while we’re definitely bracing ourselves for lots of negative stuff immediately surrounding arena events, i don’t think that has to do with “fear[ing]” the “folks” we think will inhabit sports bars and bottle-service nightclubs. this is a diverse neighborhood, and accordingly there are actually a very broad range of perspectives on new businesses going in, with tenure in the area seeming to have not that much correlation to viewpoint. and to the extent there is fear about people, it seems to be about the volume of people and their associated garbage, traffic, noise and potential property destruction. obviously, people want businesses to be good neighbors. and it is true that businesses that are highly regulated, that display no interest in being good neighbors, and that have a high potential for serious externalities when they are not good neighbors are always going to have a tough time anywhere in brownstone brooklyn. but still, that’s about the business and the externalities, not the particular “folks” who patronize the businesses themselves. wsj’s (and brownstoner’s?) implication that opposition to one place or another has to do with xenophobia is predictable, but wrong.

    third, i am what would be considered an “affluent resident” and my “affluent resident” needs are well served and that (at least at the moment) doesn’t seem to be changing. i am more concerned that services that everyone, including the less affluent, needs will decline and we will be left only with stuff oriented toward arena patrons and the occasional needs of affluent for a fancy dinner or an expensive coffee, but nothing in the middle. it will be a negative for the neighborhood if hair salons, laundries, second-hand stores, toy stores and hardware shops are replaced with restaurants (whether the food is fast or slow), liquor stores and fair-trade “brew bars.” i have no problem with the latter, but we also need the former in order to remain the walkable, convenient, friendly neighborhood that we are today. i recognize that what happens now relies primarily on market forces that are broader than our little neighborhoods, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t still be concerned about it.

  • THis article may seem premature but it is prescient. The development of that site doesn’t end with the arena’s construction.There are additional residential towers that will be added over time.All of this will create a demand for a mix of services that are not yet there.The population in that small section of downtown has risen significantly (WIlliamsburgh Bank Condo Conversion) and it will certainly tax the existing infrastructure.That neighborhood will not be the same when it is all said and done.

    My fear is the Long Island crowds- and it is this demographic that was being wooed with the development of Atlantic Terminal.The LIRR can be a boozy train.The Arena will be available for concerts that will draw a broad cross section of people. THen of course there will be the Nets games and even hockey (Long Islanders again) games.I think it very much wants to be direct competition to Madison Sq.Garden and in order to do that it will have the same sorts of businesses/bars that on that side of the bridge.