Williamsburg Bar Sues New York City For The Constitutional Right To Dance

Muchmore's bar in williamsburgGoogle MapsThe exterior of Muchmore’s in Williamsburg.

Muchmore’s — a music venue, bar, and coffee house in Williamsburg — is challenging a New York law that prohibits its patrons from dancing, according a New York Post report.

The suit references NYC’s cabaret laws, which require all venues to have a licence if they plan to host dancing by more than three people at a time.

The restrictions date back to Prohibition when police were targeting New York’s (booze-serving) dance halls, and speakeasies began to pop up all around the city.

But bar owner and real estate attorney Andrew Muchmore argues that the law has become arbitrary in the 21st century and infringes on his customers’ First and 14th Amendment rights (free speech and equal protection).

Muchmore's interior williamsburgMuchmore’sInside Muchmore’s where the owner wants his patrons to dance.

According to The Post, the suit claims that without the licence, Muchmore has been forced to play “folk music, rock music, experimental electronic music, jazz and other forms of music that are not conducive to dancing” at his bar.

But he believes it’s the constitutional right of customers to get down. Muchmore argues in his suit that cabaret laws prevent him from playing a certain type of music that would encourage dancing.

So why doesn’t he just get the cabaret licence? Muchmore claims that he would have to set up “elaborate digital security systems and to jump through a mass of bureaucratic hoops.”

The Post also notes that the licenses are usually only issued to larger nightclubs than tiny bar establishments.

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