Mac's Public House reopened its doors Friday, continuing its defiance of city and state restrictions on bars and restaurants amid the coronavirus pandemic.
The reopening comes days after the bar was shut down by the city sheriff's office for blatantly violating orders put in place to curb the rising number of coronavirus cases on Staten Island.
Deputy sheriffs closed the Grant City pub Tuesday night and arrested Danny Presti, the general manager.
Presti told NY1's Angi Gonzalez Friday evening that the bar was open again to customers.
"We are not getting the support that we need, the funding, anything from our local, state governments, all governments, for what we need, and we need our livelihoods back, and if they're not going to give it to us, we're going to take it back at this point because we have no confidence in them to do what needs to be done," Presti said.
The bar also posted a message on its Instagram account saying it is open at "8PM nightly" for happy hour.
NY1 spotted several customers coming into the bar Friday evening, and a line started to form outside with supporters hoping to get in.
Presti told NY1 on Friday he was well aware the sheriff's office could come back and break up the gathering. He said he wouldn't be surprised if he was arrested again.
An NYPD vehicle did show up shortly before 10 p.m., but it appeared that no officers ever left the vehicle. The bar closed by 10 p.m.
A patron of the bar, Ian Smith, said he was prepared to be arrested if city sheriffs showed up again.
"If Danny needs somebody to ride in the back of a cop car, I'm more than happy to go with him," Smith said.
Mayor Bill de Blasio said on Friday that New York City's rate of positive coronavirus tests was at 5.47%. As of December 1, which is the most recent date the city has data for on its website, the percentage of positive tests on Staten Island was at 8.06%, the highest percentage of the five boroughs.
Despite being in an “orange zone,” which forbids indoor dining, owner Keith McAlarney and Presti not only allowed people to dine inside, but promoted it, putting up signs declaring the restaurant an "autonomous zone."
To try to get around the restrictions, Mac's offered free food and drinks with a suggested donation, but the State Liquor Authority said offering alcohol for free is not a “loophole" and that a liquor license is needed to sell or serve alcohol.
The state stripped the bar of its liquor license on November 27, and the city Health Department ordered the bar to close.
A spokesperson for the governor said a state liquor authority attempted to conduct an inspection on November 25 but was refused entry, something the spokesperson called "a serious violation of state Alcoholic Beverage Control law in and of itself." The spokesperson also said the inspector spotted at least four patrons inside the bar, in violation of the orange zone rules.