Featured Story

Rhumb Line closed following police complaints, SLA investigation

Rhumb Line Greenport

A sign on the front door of the Rhumb Line on Front Street in Greenport says the bar and restaurant is closed until spring for renovations.

A file at the New York State Liquor Authority tells a different story. 

The SLA took steps last month to revoke the bar’s liquor license and cancel a $1,000 disciplinary bond following complaints from the Southold Town Police Department against the bar, which closed this past weekend.

Between August 2013 and October 2015 the SLA issued 19 violations at the Rhumb Line, including 15 different dates the business was cited for “disorderly premises.” Other violations were for a “failure to supervise” on two separate dates,  a “noise/nuisance rule” and for being a “focal point for police attention.”

All four violation types were issued on June 20, 2015, a night Southold police say a local patron was slashed in the neck during a fight at the bar.

That’s far from the only incident police have had to respond to at the establishment, said Sgt. William Helinski, who often serves as a weekend overnight shift commander for the Southold police department.

“Pretty much every weekend we’re babysitting this place,” he said.

Another incident involved a fight in the bathroom that spilled out onto Front Street, he said. Last March a man was arrested for allegedly punching a woman in the face at the bar, according to a police press release. In July, a woman was struck over the head with a beer bottle, another release states.

Sgt. Helinski said police have had concerns about fighting, bartenders overserving patrons and a lack of security at the bar for more than two years.

Town Police Chief Martin Flatley said the SLA actions occurred after the police notified the agency with their concerns.

“We submitted several referrals to the NYS Liquor Authority on the Rhumb Line as a result of several responses we had at this location,” the chief said.

Rhumb Line co-owner Terry Hasapoglou, who along with business partner Ed Healy bought the bar from its previous owners in 2012, said the bar voluntarily surrendered its liquor license following a recent SLA hearing.

He said that after completing much-needed renovations — including installing a new floor – they plan to re-open with a new business model in the spring. They’ll no longer be open until 4 a.m., he said, and will open earlier too, serving coffee in the morning.

“We’re ditching the late night crap,” he said.

Sgt. Helinski said many of the issues at the Rhumb Line have occurred between 2 and 4 a.m. after neighboring bars close. With nowhere else to go, people looking to keep the party alive are descending on the Front Street bar in droves. Often times, the problems have spilled out into the municipal parking lot behind the establishment, creating a dangerous situation.

“The local dregs, the bachelorettes, everyone is converging on this one bar at 2 a.m.,” he said. “It’s not good.”

Mr. Hasapoglou said the first step toward reopening the Rhumb Line will be to work with his landlord to approve the renovations. Then they’ll look to get a new liquor license.

Their previous license was set to expire at the end of May, SLA records show.

[email protected]