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NY state suspends liquor licenses over social distancing infractions

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The state has suspended the liquor licenses of 18 establishments since late March because of social-distancing violations — including one in Queens that allegedly claims local racists are behind the move.

The Hangar 11 Bar & Grill in Kew Gardens landed in hot water after a flood of 311 calls complaining of such things as crowds milling around inside and out.

The State Liquor Authority says on its Web site that the Metropolitan Avenue bar had patrons buy a bag of chips just so the establishment could say it was selling them “food’’ to go along with their booze as required by law — and enough of a crowd was created that a flood of local residents called authorities to complain.

But a tweet apparently posted by the bar Friday, the day its license was temporarily suspended, said, “Due to the efforts of a tiny percentage of racist neighbors in our beautiful Kew Gardens neighborhood, we will be shut down for a few days.’’

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The alleged tweet included the hash tags #staysafe, #icantbreathe and #racism sucks. It has since been taken down, but not before someone took a screenshot and sent it to The Post.

The bar tweeted the next day, “NYC is a melting pot. We have always welcomed everyone. Most of our 23,000 community members too. Just a handful of hateful and bored members flooding 311 with calls yet we’ve had zero fights.’’

The neighborhood around the bar is predominantly white, while the business attracts customers of all races.

There were 80 complaints lodged against the bar over social-distancing rules between March 20 and May 9, the liquor authority said. It is still closed and will face a hearing before the SLA over its license.



“The people who filed legitimate complaints received justice,” wrote a member of a Kew Gardens Facebook page.

Another resident was incensed over the bar’s tweets.

“The fact that they played the race card is so outrageous,’’ the person wrote on the closed page. “All I can say, this establishment seems to not understand the community they serve.’’

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The bar did not respond to a request for comment from The Post.

Hangar was one of seven New York City establishments to have its liquor license temporarily suspended because of social-distancing issues amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Another Hangar, on Steinway Street in Astoria, Queens, also had its license yanked.

Other bars whose licenses were temporarily suspended included the Atlantic Boat Club in Brooklyn, Sam Ceccilio in Queens and St. Bee’s bar in The Bronx.

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