INDUSTRY NEWS | Bar Operator Goes Political

Recently, it seems nearly every day a news story breaks about a proposed drink tax, a vote on an alcohol tax increase, an amendment to an alcohol tax or some other form an alcohol tax can take. Arthur Gregory hopes to put a stop to that.

Gregory, a 20-year hospitality veteran and the operator of Manhattan’s B4 Pub, is throwing his hat in the political ring. Campaigning for the District One New York City councilman seat – the vote is in September -- involves him fighting for local bars and restaurants.

“With State Sen. Dan Squadron and Speaker [Christine] Quinn from the City Council, we are trying to cut some of the fees that bar owners have to pay in NYC,” he says. “We pay not only the liquor license fee to the state but two more fees: one to the city and one to the fire department.”

Gregory says he also would like to put an end to the summonses given to bars for minor infractions — violations of regulations he says most operators don’t even know exist, such as having lids on all garbage cans and having automatic closing devices on doors in restrooms.

If elected to the City Council, his goal would be to help the local businesses that make up his home district. “We need to encourage small business owners to offer the services sought by all of us, such as supermarkets, dry cleaners and restaurants,” a campaign statement reads.

Starting as a bartender and working his way up to general manager, Gregory then began working as a consultant for restaurants, bars and clubs in the city. In the political arena, he has worked as a legislative aide and a campaign manager and has been active on the board of Democratic organizations. His hospitality experience connects him to the on-premise industry, but his active political record joins him to the political floor. Perhaps with the September race, he can marry the two.

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