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.
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.