reBar: Closed and Bankrupt

Monday, May 19, 2014

When the owner of reBar, a DUMBO gastropub and wedding venue, disappeared two weeks ago with upwards of $150,000 in deposits, couples and employees were left in the lurch. The restaurateur has since turned himself in and paid bail but now faces up to 15 years in prison. Oren Yaniv, crime and courts reporter for The New York Daily News, discusses the murky legal issues surrounding the reBar case.


Oren Yaniv

Comments [41]

Brooklyn Historical Society from Brooklyn Historical Society

We at Brooklyn Historical Society would like to reach out to the displaced reBar couples and extend a special rate just for them. BHS is a museum and cultural center located in nearby Brooklyn Heights, housed in our historic building, close to the Brooklyn Promenade, DUMBO and downtown Brooklyn. We are also known for our beautiful, interior landmarked Othmer Library and the Great Hall ballroom space. Please contact us at 718.222.4111 x202 or and we will get back to all requests ASAP. We still have many 2014-2015 event dates available.

May. 20 2014 03:11 PM
Brooklyn Society from Park Slope, Brooklyn

The Brooklyn Society for Ethical Culture heard about the unfortunate incident with ReBar in Dumbo and want to extend our Park Slope venue to any couple who needs a space. We can accommodate 100 people indoors and 150 in our Garden. We are able to work with your limited budget and have a list of great caterers.

Brooklyn Society for Ethical Culture
53 Prospect Park West
Brooklyn, NY 11215

Be Well!

May. 20 2014 02:13 PM
smallTALLmedia from NYC

smallTALLmedia will offer reBar couples a $500 discount on THE STORY, a custom-made short film to show at your wedding/rehearsal dinner. While you are dealing with the mess reBar left behind, don't forget to focus on the reason you are getting married! See and contact us.

May. 20 2014 11:42 AM
Gerald from Manhattan

When I heard this story I was heart broken. I am the owner of Seasons A Floral Design Studio in Manhattan and over the past 25 years we have helped couples plan beautiful weddings. A similar incident happened a few years ago with the closing of The Puck Building. We were able to help couples find new venues and create beautiful and memorable weddings. I would be more than happy to help any couples who have been left out in the cold. You may reach me at 212-586-2257 or

I great venue you may want to look into is The Upper Crust @ 91 Horatio Street in Greenwich Village.

May. 20 2014 10:05 AM
Alina from NYC

@Bernie...Ummmm excuse me?! I am a born and bred Lower East Sider raised by a single mother. Nothing has EVER been handed to me and I am certainly part of some "well-off" inner circle. I have worked my tail off for every dollar I saved and spent on that wedding. So you should really stop making foolish assumptions.

All the reBar couples are nice people, most are born and bred New yorkers too, who worked hard for the money they've spent on this wedding. The reBar couples chose reBar because it was an affordable option. We were given an amazing deal by a venue with a good reputation. We didn't do anything wrong. If this ever happened to you and you were told there may be no legal recourse, you would be just as mad and want justice. I hope you never find yourself in this situation...because you won't have anything protecting you either.

May. 19 2014 05:04 PM
Kitoh from Jackson Heights

I'll be honest, had I not been affected by reBar's closing and just randomly heard about this on the news I likely would not have cared that much because I didn't see what it would have to do with me. But I was affected.

We chose to have a wedding. We decided to spend this money because we wanted to celebrate our marriage with the people we care about most. We weren't pressured into this by the expectations of our parents or of society and it certainly wasn't about us just tossing money around. We decided to have a wedding because to us it was important.

This was taken from us.

We looked our finances over before we put any money down. We know what our expenses are and what we expect them to be. We can't afford to pay for two weddings. We can't afford to pay for one and one half weddings. So that's that. This isn't going to stop us from getting married though, it will just be different. And in the grand scheme of things if this is the worst thing to happen to our marriage then we're extremely and gratefully lucky.

It will mean that my dear friends won't be able to spend this time with me in the way that I have spent and will spend with them. It will mean that we won't have a venue for my fiance to dance with her father on the day he gives her away. What this means is the deferral or renunciation of dreams when so much of what we have at the beginning of our life together are dreams we wish to actualize.

Having experienced this my perspective is different. It's not just about me and my fiance and it's not even just about the hundreds of other couples who we now all share this experience with. Almost immediately after this broadcast there were comments that this wasn't newsworthy because couples getting blindsided in this way is a common occurrence. Why is this acceptable? Because it's always been this way? Because it happened to someone you know so it's ok for it to happen to someone else? No. This is not an acceptable practice.

So this isn't just about us. It's about you. We're making noise not only for justice for ourselves but hopefully so you won't have to hear this story from your own friend or your own children or so you won't have to tell this story yourself.

May. 19 2014 03:19 PM
Unlimited Furniture from 129 48th Street Brooklyn NY 11232

Unlimited Furniture would like to help any of the couples who have been affected by this awful situation. We know that newly weds are usually moving into their new homes together and may be in need of some new home furnishings. We are offering discounts on our website and in our showroom to help any of the couples that are in the market for furniture. You can visit our website at or our social media pages contact us at 347-416-6249 or via email Wish everyone the best with this horrible situation

May. 19 2014 01:26 PM
Betty Kalin from Brooklyn

Betty Brooklyn Catering Co. has put together a delivery style package to offer these folks as a simple & low-cost option to cover their food service needs.

This package is available for events scheduled for June-August of this year and starts at just $45 per person plus delivery and tax.

Please email us for more information:

May. 19 2014 01:07 PM
Alina from NYC what is worthy? You are surprised that some of us are taking offense that this story that affects so many New Yorkers is not worthy enough for you. While this doesn't affect you now, the fact that there seems to be very little consumer or labor protection for this many people should worry you. Though this isn't happening to you now, it could, and you could be left in the lurch with the rest of us.

May. 19 2014 12:12 PM

A commenter makes a cogent point. Perhaps legislation may be appropriate here to create a NY claims facility fund which could bep funded through a dedicated wedding reception facilities tax. Should deposits be lost, whether through malfeasance or mismanagement, then those who suffered the loss could seek at least partial and perhaps full recovery from the insurance fund.

May. 19 2014 12:03 PM

Even wonder why some have to burn up so much cash before they marry?

May. 19 2014 11:52 AM
Jesse from Brooklyn

Because we know a lot of people are still scrambling to make alternate plans for their weddings after the ReBar fiasco, 1 Knickerbocker would like to offer a free wedding for 1 couple. Email us at by Saturday, May 31st, 2014 with contact info, wedding date, and the story that makes your wedding situation unique.

We can only give away 1 wedding package, but we are offering discounted rates for anyone who had booked at ReBar and needs a new venue.

Winner will be selected and notified Monday, June 2.

The winning couple will get the following package:

- Up to 100 guests

- day or night excluding Saturday night (some Saturday night dates are available, but we can't guarantee these)

o Ceremony + 4 hour reception

- Exclusive use of venue during event

- Limited open bar including wine, beer, signature cocktail, champagne toast

- Buffet dinner

- Full staffing

- in-house PA system, stage, and dance floor

- Furniture, tableware

- 4 private bathrooms (incl. Wheelchair accessible)

May. 19 2014 11:50 AM
Colleen from Brooklyn

We are Brooklyn newlyweds who renovated a barn on 50 acres in the Hudson Valley. We are planning to start hosting weddings in 2015. However, we heard about this unfortunate situation on NPR and would love to offer our farm for either this year or next year at a much discounted rate to any of the affected couples.
Please contact us at:

May. 19 2014 11:50 AM
fabienne from Brooklyn NY

I am a reBar bride who's wedding was set and planned for June 8th, 2014. As you can see this is right around the corner. We have not only lost our venue, but deposit until further notice but we are scrambling to re plan a wedding. We have family and friends traveling from overseas and various locations in the US. It is just not acceptible and unreal that this happened. We were meeting with our in house coordinator at reBar on 4/30/2014. This was 2 weeks ago! We saw Jason Stevens who was his usual nice and smooth talking self. He was holding meetings with couples whicle we were there, we observed him giving tours. My questions are as follows: How could the city let this go on since 2009? He had not paid taxes and there was no warning to the consumer/public? How is this possible? My father owns a restaurant in MD and he just doesnt get it. If you dont pay taxes you dont get a renewed liquor licence. So how this this go on? Why is this considered civil right now and not criminal? Jason stevens has not contacted us, no email back, no calls back,and zero notice. He just up and dissapeared! ANd the was collecting deposits that same week. Someone explain to me how this is not criminal intent.

May. 19 2014 11:28 AM
bernie from bklyn

@alina- i don't think anyone thinks it's "ok" that this happened, but it's a big deal to you and your inner circle and no one else. sorry to be so blunt.
there is a strain of "me,me,me" in the newer, well-off residents of nyc and it's one of the reasons that this place has become unlivable for born 'n bred ny'ers.

May. 19 2014 11:14 AM
Couture ink

If any couples who have been affected by this awful act of dishonesty are reading these comments, we at Couture ink, are happy to help you with your invitations. We are offering discounts so you can reprint or redesign your wedding invitations. Please contact us at 201-313-3424 or You can visit our website at or our FB Couture ink. Best of luck with the rest of your planning!

May. 19 2014 11:14 AM
bernie from bklyn

of course this is a terrible story and i can't imagine how awful it would be to have this happen but just because it happened to you doesn't make it a news story or worthy of a segment on the BL show.

May. 19 2014 11:10 AM
Alina from NYC

The fact that people think it is okay that almost 200 couples and dozens of employees were screwed out of their money is horrible. I am a reBar bride who lost thousands of dollars. There are couples who lost their entire savings because Rebar was an all-inclusive venue...they gave them everything. We have been told there is very little chance that we will ever see any of our money back. There is no consumer protection for this situation apparently. Thus, if you truly think this situation "happens everyday" then you should be even more outraged...because it can certainly happen to any one of you.

May. 19 2014 11:04 AM
Leslie from Long Island City

200 couples losing their lives' savings for their wedding-- one of the most symbolically and spiritually significant days in an adult's life--posited against the greed, dishonestly and criminality of a man preying on these couples' trust and hopefulness -- this is a heartbreaking, Shakespearean tale. Yes, NYC listeners it is a worthy story. I have met some of the displaced couples and my heart goes out to them. I would also like to put it out there for any of rebar's former employees, including kitchen and floor staff as well as the wedding planners: Please contact me-- we have over 40 weddings coming up and can use waiters, bartenders, cooks and planner/captains. The rebar staff have been amazingly devoted to their clients and we want to hire some or all of you.

May. 19 2014 11:03 AM
A mom of Bride from Brooklyn

I'm a mom of a bride to be who was suppose to get married at reBar later this summer. While I appreciate everyone's comments...unless you have been directly affected by this situation you have no idea what these poor kids are all going through. It's awful!! Can you imagine saving for over a year for your wedding. Working two and three job, saving $18,000 and then one day it's gone -- stolen by some despicable and heartless person! Can you imagine planning your perfect day and have someone take that away from you? And now you have to cut your wedding list and tell your friends and family they can't come to your wedding, you have to try to put together a wedding in less than 3 or 4 months, find a new venue, etc. and do this without your money. I hope this never happens to anyone. Good luck to all the future brides and grooms. Keep positive wherever you get married it will be special and beautiful.

May. 19 2014 11:01 AM
Stephanie from Brooklyn NY

I am also one of the brides that booked at ReBar. My fiancé and I are out 17,500. We as a group are sticking together to figure out the legal way to approach this situation, we are also coming together as a group to offer help, advice or projects for each others wedding which have became the silver lining of this situation. We have a Indiegogo campaign to help the couples that will be getting married in the up coming months. There is also a campaign for the employees of Rebar who deserve our support for everything they have done and are trying to do to help clean up the mess there boss left them with.

May. 19 2014 11:00 AM
Naeema from Long Island City

We at The Aurora Gallery in Long Island City, Queens are working with a few ReBar couples already! We are offering discounts to all couples affected and have 2014 dates. Our website is You can call us at 917.396.8250 or email us at

May. 19 2014 10:57 AM
Jennifer from Jackson Heights, NY

As one of the brides affected by this, I want to correct a few things:

1) This venue did NOT go bankrupt; the owner still has not filed for bankruptcy. What happened is that the owner took the money - cash and deposits - did not pay his staff, and disappeared for nearly a week until he turned himself in. And details about that arrest are still murky. Some outlets are saying he turned himself in, others say he was arrested at home.

2) This man allegedly owed $2.5 million to the IRS that he simply had not paid (though he was charging tax to his clients).

3) This affected around 200 couples. We estimate the total loss between all of us to have been around $4 million. That is huge. That's why it's being reported. It's not a bankruptcy story, it's a story of very large scale theft.

May. 19 2014 10:55 AM
Aida Izadpanah

To any of the effected couples who are looking for help in re-planning their wedding, I am a freelance florist with lots of event planning experience who is willing to offer my services at a greatly reduced rate. I'm trying to make it as a lead event planner (as opposed to assistant), so I am happy to work for a low cost in order to build up my portfolio. Contact me through my website:

I'm not available for July, but can work with you in June, August, and beyond. Good luck everybody!

May. 19 2014 10:53 AM
Anonymous from nj

Those who lost deposits should file a claim with the u.s. bankruptcy court as soon as they are able, assuming the corp entity has filed a bankrutcy petition. If such a petition has been filed, the automatic stay will initially and perhaps throughout the length of the administration of the bankruptcy estate prevent legal actions in other NY courts.

May. 19 2014 10:49 AM
bernie from bklyn

@sam tresler-
how do you know this doesn't happen everyday?
i hear stories like this all the time. it's only a segment because the place is in dumbo.

May. 19 2014 10:46 AM

This happened to my husband and me in 1979 at a venue in Queens....Not a unique happening. I now obtain event insurance for to protect my deposit when booking a party.

May. 19 2014 10:45 AM
Jo from Medusa, NY is offering 50% off to reBar couples!!

May. 19 2014 10:44 AM
genejoke from Brooklyn

Nice try with coughing up a new meme, Brian. Rebar brides?
Um, no.
You are as lame as this segment.

May. 19 2014 10:44 AM
Sam Tresler from Brooklyn

I don't agree with several other commentors here. This *doesn't* happen every day in NYC. This place was taking tens of thousands of dollars in deposits months in advance. Cash-flow should be easy for that, and this guy is basically stealing one of the most important days of their lives.

It honestly reminds me of 3rd Ward too:

May. 19 2014 10:42 AM

The former employees have a lot of self-control, and future employers should note this if they receive a resume from a one of these candidates. I would have most definitely used my key and carried as much top-shelf liquor as possible.

I can't believe this scumbag was able to miraculously come up with $30,000 bail.

May. 19 2014 10:42 AM

Alternative wedding venue recommendation: Jazz Standard on E 27th st. It's relatively inexpensive, and comes with amazingly delicious BBQ from Blue Smoke. (Just not this weekend, because I'm getting married there!)

May. 19 2014 10:41 AM
genejoke from Brooklyn

This happened to me and a lot of other couples, a few years ago, with a wedding photographer/photo company who skipped town with thousands of dollars.
I don't recall hearing a segment on the radio about it though ...

May. 19 2014 10:37 AM

Remember, the permit price for NYC parks is $25. They require 3-4 weeks to process, but maybe in light of this story they would make some exceptions:

May. 19 2014 10:37 AM

Is this a step up or down from Bridgegate?

May. 19 2014 10:37 AM
bernie from bklyn

nice free commercial for franny's! the place that doesn't slice their pizza!

May. 19 2014 10:35 AM
foodaggro from Brooklyn

This is a story?
Happens every day!

May. 19 2014 10:33 AM

wow, must be a really slow news day here at wnyc.

May. 19 2014 10:33 AM
D from NYC

I miss the old DUMBO ;(
I don't do DUMBO anymore, it's ruined with $$$.

May. 19 2014 10:31 AM
Dan from Greenpoint, BK

This was one of the worst crap-holes I've been to in Brooklyn.

I went there for the first time probably six years ago and the entire place felt like a scam. Horrible food, terrible service, and no real drink professionals...all wrapped up in a decent decor. I couldn't believe there were customers there, including me. The second and last time I was there for work, but it's a terrible place.

Put in a Chilli's...

May. 19 2014 10:19 AM
bernie from bklyn

this happens everyday in nyc...why is this a segment on the BL show?
let me guess, one of the producers has a friend in dumbo who wants their money back?
hey, there's a an indian restaurant in queens that overcharged me for dinner the other day. can you guys do a segment on this?

May. 19 2014 09:56 AM

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