Event Notices Food & Drink

“The Living Room” Secures NEWRA Support for DJ License, But Not for 2:00 a.m. Closing

The Living Room, located at 101-107 Atlantic Avenue, received a mixed result for its two application requests presented last night to the North End / Waterfront Residents’ Association.

NEWRA voted 40-4 to oppose a closing hour extension from 1:00 a.m. to 2:00 a.m. on its all-alcohol beverages license (Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays and private events only). However, NEWRA members voted 26-17 to support the addition of a disc jockey (D.J.) to The Living Room’s existing entertainment license.

The Living Room owner, John Hauck (right) and Attorney Overson.

First, owner John Hauck and Attorney Michael Overson presented the 2:00 a.m. closing hour application, similar in content to that heard at the ZLC Committee meeting. They said their customers have asked for a later closing hour and the extension to 2:00 a.m. “would not have a negative impact on the neighborhood.” The establishment currently has a 1:00 a.m. license for 7 days a week for its restaurant, bar and lounge located on the corner of Atlantic Ave., Richmond Street and Commercial Street.

NEWRA President Stephanie Hogue reiterated the organization’s policy not to support closing hour extension requests later than 11:00 p.m during the week and midnight on weekends.

Carol, a Lewis Wharf resident, came to her second NEWRA meeting to speak out against the 2:00 a.m. closing hour. “People come out of these establishments, sit on the Commercial St. park benches and have a good time. Unfortunately, they are very noisy.”

Ben, a resident in the Mercantile Wharf building, spoke in favor of the application. “I have lived above The Living Room for months and my personal experience is that there is not a lot of noise. I have not been impacted by loud music or disorderly folks,” he said.

Another resident, Sue B., said “I think this is really pushing the envelope for a residential area when you have already been grandfathered with a 1:00 a.m.,” said the Prince St. resident.

Sanjoy M., NEWRA Treasurer, noted that City Councilor Sal LaMattina recently said at a NEWRA meeting that no 2:00 a.m. extension request will receive the his support.

Charter St. resident, Bart H., said, “As a member of this neighborhood organization, I can hardly tell what is  different about each of these requests. Everyone says they need this because their competitors have it. I think it is death by 1,000 cuts. I vote no.”

Secretary Nicky R. asked about The Living Room’s outdoor patio. Mr. Hauck said they patio closes at 10:00 p.m. during the week and 11:00 p.m. on weekends.

Paula N. said, “As a younger member, I want to say that I am also concerned about the later closing hours and having drunk people on the street.”

In favor of the 2:00 a.m. closing was Daniel from Cooper St. who said, “I live near Tecce’s and hear people leaving games at 9 p.m.-10 p.m. I don’t see much of a difference between that and people leaving (The Living Room) at 1:00 a.m. and 2:00 a.m.”

Bob V. said, “As a group, we are compelled to stick to the policy we have established. It calls for an 11:00 p.m. closing during the week and midnight on weekends. He already has a license for 1:00 a.m. Why are we beating this into the ground?”

In a secret ballot vote, NEWRA members voted 40-4 to oppose the closing hour extension from 1:00 a.m. to 2:00 a.m (Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays and private events).

Next, owner John Hauck presented a separate application to the Mayor’s Office of Consumer Affairs and Licensing to modify The Living Room’s live entertainment license to allow a disc jockey for public clientele on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday nights until 1:00 AM. The establishment’s existing entertainment license allows automated recorded music for public clientele until 1:00 AM and a disc jockey for Private Events only.

Clarifying the request, Mr. Hauck said that without a DJ license modification, only recorded music can be played through the existing sound system. In order to gain more flexibility over the music, such as using an iPod or to meet patron music requests, the establishment is requesting a DJ license. He emphasized that his staff reminds customers to respect the neighborhood before closing time.

Mr. Hauck said, “I don’t promote ourselves as a club. I control the volume of everything that happens there.” In answer to a question, he said there is dancing at The Living Room, but no dedicated floor area.

Resident David Archer spoke in support, “If the decibel level is not going to change, I don’t see a problem.”

With little other discussion, a second secret ballot vote was taken specific to the DJ license modification. NEWRA members voted 26-17 in support of the application. 

In other business, NEWRA voted 41-9 in support of zoning relief for 357 Commercial Street (Lincoln Wharf), Units 712-713 for Nasser Buisier to enclose two existing outdoor patios to create additional living space. This application was previously discussed at NEWRA’s ZLC meeting and also received a supportive vote from the North End / Waterfront Neighborhood Council.

The North End / Waterfront Neighborhood Council (NEWNC) takes up The Living Room applications at its meeting on Monday, March 13, 7:00 p.m. at the Nazzaro Center.

4 Replies to ““The Living Room” Secures NEWRA Support for DJ License, But Not for 2:00 a.m. Closing

  1. In the past NEWRA has voted AGAINST expansion of entertainment licenses based on the assumption that a piano or jazz band would turn the North End into Landsdowne St. Now they are helping a lounge morph into a club with a DJ license. Makes no sense except to illustrate that NEWRA appears to play favorites . For a group that CLAIMS to stick to their policies, they appear to speak out of both sides of thier collective mouth.

  2. I don't see the need to add a DJ license. It seems it was a compromise vs. the 2AM closing. Guarantee the owner, probably in the very near future, will use his DJ license to explain why he again needs a 2AM license to compete w/ other clubs that have a DJ and a 2AM license.

  3. I was also disappointed that the members present at this meeting voted in support of a DJ license for the Living Room. I do think that the 2 am request was a smoke screen for the DJ license and it obviously worked.

    There were questions that could have been asked which would have painted a completely different picture than what was presented by Mr Hauck and his lawyer. For instance, where was the floor plan showing the existing dance floor and where the DJ would set up equipment? (on the edge of the dance floor?) Mr Hauck played down the fact that there is an existing dance floor in his establishment. He should have been asked directly, " Is your intention to hire a DJ so you can promote dancing?"

    I am sorry that 'Confused' seems to think that NEWRA plays favorites. This couldn't be further from the truth. This an organization of concerned residents who can only vote on what is presented to them. Sometimes the right questions are asked that reveal more than the highly paid lawyers would want you to know.

    Had 'Confused' been at this meeting and voiced concerns about extensions of entertainment licenses, I'm sure that the conversation and the vote would have taken a different turn. NEWRA is an organization open to all, and the more community members participate in these meeting the better this issues will be vetted in the future.

  4. I am all too familiar with NEWRA and its practices. Without being at the meeting I could probably tell you who the four people were who voted against this. The conversation at NEWRA meetings is dictated by the ZLC and executive committee. I would not waste my time attending these meetings. I stand by my original statement

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