A Manhattan nightclub is fighting fire with drag queens. 

Club Escuelita, the legendary gay club that’s been a fixture near the Port Authority since 1996, says the State Liquor Authority is trying to put it out of business over two minor violations.

In papers filed in Manhattan Supreme Court, Escuelita charges the SLA is cutting corners in a bid to take away their license, a move the club charges is clearly aimed at clearing gay, lesbian, transgenders and minorities out of the gentrifying area.

“I also believe that we are no longer welcome on West 39th Street as minorities scare the mostly white tourists who patronize the newly built and expensive boutique hotels” on the block, owner Sayvon Zabar said in an affidavit.

Justice Geoffrey Wright signed an order this morning temporarily barring the SLA from moving against the club pending a full hearing on Jan. 12, when he will also consider the club’s request to order sensitivity training for the agency.

The SLA is going back to court tomorrow to try to convince the judge to change his mind. One of the club’s lawyers, Tom Shanahan, said many of the club’s customers and performers – including several drag queens – will be on hand to show their support at the hearing because “we can’t figure out why the SLA is being such a drag.”

The agency notified the club that it would not renew their liquor license, which is set to expire next month, because of two incidents last year. In one, the club’s manager was arrested for allegedly assaulting a patron. In the other, a bartender was accused of selling a drink to an undercover minor.

Zabar said in court papers the manager denies any wrongdoing, and noted that the criminal case against him is still pending. He also said the club is investigating the alleged sale of alcohol to a minor, but noted the club, which had been admitting people 18 and up, had a strict wristband policy in place to insure that no minors were served booze. The club – which has been a launchpad for the likes Lady Bunny and RuPaul – wrote the SLA in December to say they’re now barring people under 21 from going to the club.

A rep for the SLA did not return an email for comment.

oOOo My!

One response »

  1. P says:

    When you’re head looks disportionate to your body, I think you need to get rid of some make-up.

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