Though the food was all right, the 'trendy' decor, with its white fake leather banquettes, was a bit tacky and didn't really have that "Smith Street" vibe. Athena didn't get much love from Yelp reviewers either. Eric S. wrote: "Athena is a grave insult to one of the world's oldest, richest and most soulful cuisines. Everything about this place bespeaks laziness, corner-cutting and general contempt for (or ignorance of) excellence. Oh, and it's way overpriced, too, adding insult to culinary injury."
Perhaps Athena's biggest problem was that, for a while, the restaurant's owner got himself into a bit of trouble regarding his liquor lisence and using the restaurant as a dance club.
In the fall of 2011, the owner of Athena submitted an on-premises liquor license to the NYState Liquor Authority. When he came in front of Community Board 6 for a review of the application, it was pointed out that the restaurant already had a full bar and was serving liquor to patrons. When asked by members of CB6's Permits and Licenses why he was serving alcohol without a proper license, he replied that he believed that he was covered under the previous owner's license.
Several neighbors attended the CB6 meeting, complaining that Athena turned into a dance club
at night. and hosted weekly Salsa dances. The amplified music kept neighbors awake.
When asked by CB6 if he had a cabaret license, a necessity when allowing dancing in an establishment, Athena's owner admitted that he did not.
CB6 subsequently voted against supporting a liquor license for the establishment.
Athena's sister restaurant in Park Slope is still open.
The business on Smith Street is currently for sale.
Any thoughts on what would be a nice neighborhood addition in that space?