Huntington Station tavern riddled with criminal activity gives up liquor license

Huntington Station tavern riddled with criminal activity gives up liquor license

Councilman Mark Cuthbertson speaks in Huntington Station about the problems at Melissa tavern. Photo from Stephen Jimenez

Huntington Station’s Melissa Restaurant Sports Bar & Grill has officially run dry.

After local officials fought to close the establishment, which has been plagued with numerous criminal and violent incidents, the tavern willingly decided to stop serving liquor.

According to a press release, the owners of Melissa tavern, located at 1419 New York Ave., voluntarily forfeited the license to state regulators last week. The tavern owners could not be reached for comment, and it is unclear whether the establishment will remain a dry restaurant or if ownership will change hands.

Since July, Huntington Town Councilman Mark Cuthbertson (D) has been urging the New York State Liquor Authority to revoke the license to curb the safety issues taking place at and around the tavern.

“This is great news for the Huntington Station community and I applaud our police, civic leaders and residents who assisted the town in applying constant pressure to put an end to violence and crime at Melissa tavern,” Cuthbertson said in a statement. “For far too long, this establishment has been a detriment to the quality of life for Huntington Station and I am pleased to announce Melissa’s last call is history.”

Inspector Chris Hatton of the 2nd Precinct agreed this is a victory for safety in Huntington Station.

“Absolutely this is a positive step,” Hatton said in a phone interview. “We’ve had a lot of incidents there in the past several years both inside and outside the tavern. It did draw crowds that tended to engage in criminal activities.”

According to the Suffolk County Police Department, Melissa tavern has been cited with 127 incidents in a five-year span, including a shooting in the parking lot this past March and a stabbing inside the establishment in September.

Cuthbertson worked with local officials and state offices to ensure the end of liquor sales at the tavern.

“Our first priority is public safety,” he said, “and I am pleased that the town had the support of the New York State Liquor Authority, the Suffolk County Board of Health and the Suffolk County Police Department.”

Jim McGoldrick, a Huntington Station resident, agrees that this is an improvement for the community.

“We’re moving in the right direction,” he said in a phone interview. “This is the best thing to happen to Huntington Station in a few years. Children can’t be exposed to the type of violence that was taking place there. It sends a message that this won’t be tolerated.”