Queens bar packed more than 300 people in basement, then locked them in to try and stop a raid
An unlicensed Queens bar packed with hundreds of COVID-flouting revelers locked its doors to stop a sheriff’s office raid — and prevented partygoers from leaving in the process, authorities said.
Deputy sheriffs found more than 300 people inside the basement of the Sueno Americano Bar and Restaurant on Junction Blvd. at 35th Ave. in North Corona early Sunday.
But sheriffs couldn’t get in until the revelers pleaded with staff to unlock the doors, city Sheriff Joseph Fucito said.
Deputy sheriffs staking out the restaurant Saturday watched as two men let small groups of five to 15 people into the basement, all while walking up and down Junction Blvd. to make sure the partygoers weren’t followed, Fucito said.
They watched 220 people trickle into the bar over three hours, and at 2:25 a.m. Sunday tried to get inside. But all four entrances were locked from the inside, Fucito said.
“Deputies were eventually able to make entry after patrons pleaded with the staff to let them go,” he said.
Inside they found an unlicensed bar and DJ booth and people drinking, dancing and smoking hookah — unmasked and squeezed in tight, he said.
The business, a DJ and several bar patrons were hit with desk appearance tickets for several coronavirus-related offenses, while the restaurant is expected to face alcohol beverage control law charges.