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COVID-19: Popular Long Island Restaurant Loses Liquor License For Violating Regulations

Robke's of Northport has lost its liquor license for violating COVID-19 rules and regulations.
Robke's of Northport has lost its liquor license for violating COVID-19 rules and regulations. Photo Credit: Google Maps street view

A popular Long Island bar and restaurant has had its liquor license suspended for COVID-19 violations.

Robke's of Northport, known as a favorite hangout for sports stars and other glitterati has lost its liquor license on Sunday, Jan. 24, after investigators found the business was in violation of COVID-related regulations, the New York Liquor Authority report said.

The suspension came after an incident on Saturday, Jan. 23, when investigators with the state’s multi-agency task force conducted an inspection and found some 70 patrons dining inside a tent adjacent to the premises.

Twenty-eight patrons were seated together at one table, despite restrictions of no more than 10 patrons at a table – with the remaining patrons seated at tables not spaced 6 feet apart, the authority said. 

Investigators entered the premises, observing the area near the bar packed with patrons standing, drinking, and ignoring social distancing, the authority report said.

Investigators documented approximately 60 patrons inside the restaurant and attempted to inspect the kitchen, but an employee blocked the entrance; investigators were able to photograph one member of the kitchen staff without a facemask, the authority report said.

“In order to protect New Yorkers’ health and safety during this public health emergency, the SLA suspended Robke’s liquor license after investigators again found the business in flagrant violation of COVID-related regulations that have been in place for months," the Authority said. "We are still fighting a global pandemic, and the SLA will continue to hold those who put their employees, patrons, and communities at risk accountable for their actions.”

After investigators exited the premises, they witnessed waitstaff carrying food and drinks to patrons inside the tent after 10 p.m. and contacted the Suffolk County Police Department to report service after 10 p.m.

The Northport Village Police Department followed up and entered the premises with task force investigators at approximately 10:30 p.m., observing two tables with 10 patrons each in the bar area, in addition to a table with five patrons in the dining room.

The licensees’ son, present during the inspection, was questioned why the premises was operating after curfew – responding they were “overloaded” earlier in the evening.

The Liquor Authority said in the report the establishment is a repeat offender, with charges issued by the SLA on Wednesday, Dec. 9, for violations of COVID-related Executive Orders, including improperly spaced tables, patrons standing, drinking and ignoring social distancing, and bartenders and kitchen staff without facemasks.

Suspension orders remain in effect indefinitely, with the maximum penalty including the permanent revocation of the license and fines of up to $10,000 per violation, the authority said,

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