Writer, producer and actor William DeMeo, who got his big acting break in A Bronx Tale (portions of which were filmed in Sheepshead Bay) and named his production West Street after the Gravesend street he grew up on, is back in the neighborhood today, filming scenes for his upcoming feature-length indie flick Back in the Day at Night Light Cafe (1657 Sheepshead Bay Road).
The bar will serve as the scene of an “argument in the neighborhood bar,” and crew on set this morning told us that DeMeo and Shannon Doherty will both be in the area for today’s filming.
We’re told Danny Glover will be in the movie, and even Mike Tyson has a cameo. Consider this a scoop – none of these stars are listed on the IMDB page, which does note that Michael Madsen, Joe D’Onofrio and Paul Borghese will co-star, and Borghese is serving is director.
The film, written by DeMeo, takes place in the 1980s and the current day, following Anthony Rodriguez (DeMeo), a half-Italian, half-Puerto Rican youth growing up in Bensonhurst. After losing his mother and suffering his abusive, alcoholic father, he’s taken under the wing of a local mob boss (Madsen), who supports him as he rises as a boxing talent to eventually become a world champion.
The movie will definitely feature Southern Brooklyn prominently, and future shoots around Sheepshead Bay – as well as Gravesend and Bensonhurst – are likely. For now, mind the traffic: Sheepshead Bay Road is a nightmare to get down.
CLARIFICATION (10/22/2012): We just received a call about this post from a reader who said our post was confusing. Our apologies – it is confusing, and part of that is because we put our latest updates above the piece, with the original post below it. So, to be clear, Vodka Gallery is not closing. They said they were, and had a closing party, but then announced that new management will take over the business and keep it alive.
Below is the update we posted Friday, after finding out our original post, which is below that on this page, no longer reflected the facts.
UPDATE (10/19/2012 @ 4:31 p.m.): We take it all back. Thirty minutes before this post published, the established announced via the very same Facebook page that a deal was struck, and the establishment would stay open under new management. However, it sounds like there’ll be a change in direction.
Here’s what they posted: “Everyone! Vodka Gallery is under new management (**more info to come, including what’s changing**)”
Fans, however, do not seem amused, with one saying they feel lied to, and another accusing them of playing with their heartstrings. We’re just happy to hear there won’t be another vacant storefront.
The Vodka Gallery (2376 Coney Island Avenue) has closed its doors for good, but not before holding one last vodka swilling bash this past Saturday, October 13. After four years of sharing shots, good times, and more shots, the Vodka Gallery “moved on to new adventures,” according to its Facebook page.
A process server representing the owners of a proposed bar and restaurant in Gravesend that was denied a liquor license interrupted Community Board 15′s September meeting last night, serving papers for a $180 million lawsuit that claims the Board conspired to defame the owners, and discriminated against them based on their Russian roots.
Pleasure Island, also known as Galaxy, located at 816 Avenue U, was denied a liquor license by the State Liquor Authority in 2011 – and again by the Community Board earlier this year – after locals learned of plans to reactivate a bar that some said was a hotbed for underage drinking and rowdiness. The lawsuit claims, though, that those neighbors were misled by numerous community leaders in a smear campaign orchestrated by Community Board 15 Chairperson Theresa Scavo, possibly for discriminatory reasons.
“She’s saying these people aren’t Jewish enough,” Susan Bernstein, the plaintiffs’ attorney, told Sheepshead Bites. “She wants what she wants in that neighborhood. A Community Board isn’t a despotic agency that can decide what business can open and close. They spread intentional lies about the two individuals involved.”
With a headline like that, I’m sure plenty of Sheepshead Bay old-timers are groaning, “Duu-uh! Old news.”
But we’re not talking about the influx of immigrants from the former Soviet Union. We’re talking about a new bar and restaurant at 2817 Coney Island Avenue called USSR. Or, perhaps, Back to USSR, depending on how you read the sign:
I’ve got to admit, on first seeing this I said to myself, “Man, that’s foolish. Way to tell non-Russians they’re not welcome.”
But after getting a closer look at the sign, and seeing they replaced the hammer and sickle with chicken Kiev and kielbasa, designed the communist red star using caviar, and wrapped the whole thing in bread and sturgeon, and underscored it with a blini – well, these guys have a sense of humor, and I look forward to checking it out.
Construction workers have spent the last week or so at 2524 Coney Island Ave, overhauling it from an understated lounge to the brightly-colored, potentially Spider-Man-themed hockey bar, Arena.
It’s not clear when the new location will be open. The site was previously Status Quo Ante, which after a year or two in operation with barely a sign to indicate its existence, closed up shop recently.
BREAKING NEWS! GROUNDBREAKING REPORT! SHEEPSHEAD BITES EXCLUSIVE! YOUR READ IT HERE FIRST, FOLKS!
The restaurant at 1705 Sheepshead Bay Road formerly known as Wheeler’s and then became Wheelers is now once again Wheeler’s!
Ah, Wheelers, we hardly knew ye. I mean, you only existed for three months. And, mom was probably afraid to tell you this, but you were totally an accident.
When Wheelers – er, Wheeler’s? – upgraded to a new sign and awning in November, a little snafu caused the apostrophe, which indicates this bar is the property of Wheeler and not just named Wheelers, got lost in the mix. After three months of looking for it – bam! Found it! – it was mounted yesterday, bringing us back to the name we’ve been familiar with since 1979.
Sheepshead Bay’s oldest bar, Towne Cafe, is on the chopping block.
The bar, located at 1418 Avenue Z, on the corner of East 15th Street, is one of Sheepshead Bay’s more depressingly bizarre venues.
During the day, a handful of older folks sit quietly at the bar, sipping musky wine or Bud Lights and muttering about better days. Then, at night, in one of the weirder nocturnal metamorphoses of our neighborhood, it turns into a Russian-American karaoke hall, attracting wafer-thin men donning leather jackets and dodgy glances paired with fur-clad, makeup-slathered women.
In the years I’ve passed this joint, no one has ever looked happy. It smelled like stale cigarette smoke and desperation.
These are not nice things to say, but I mean it in perhaps the most positive way I can. I don’t want to see Towne Cafe go. Dark, grim and old, it is a concrete reminder of Sheepshead Bay’s seedier underbelly – even if nothing particularly seedy was going on there. It sparked the imagination, and, sitting on that corner for as long as it has, lent character to an otherwise boring intersection.
Oh, woe is me, woe is me! I hate it when a quiet bar with a long beer list goes kaput. But that’s what seems to have happened over at Beer Saloon (1188 Gravesend Neck Road), which had its gates down Sunday afternoon and a “For Rent” sign in the window.