Tavern chatter, music upset landlord
By CASEY CORA
Published December 17, 2006
Debra Disch put up a sign. A big, polite, demanding sign.
It is a call for quiet aimed at patrons exiting the Old Northeast Tavern, 201 Seventh Ave. N.
The sign advises customers to "Eat, Drink and Be Merry," but also issues a stern request: "Respect those that live here. Thank you, the neighbors."
Disch, who owns a block of apartment buildings that neighbor the tavern, said the noise problems began in May, shortly after Dan Soronen and Sarah Potter opened the upscale establishment.
She said her tenants are closing windows and turning up televisions to shield themselves from noisy barroom debates, conversations of smokers congregated outside, and live music escaping from the restaurant's windows and doors, which are often kept open.
Maybelle Rector, 56, who lives at 144 Seventh Ave. N, said she hears chatter well past the 2 a.m. closing time.
"At least keep it down to a roar," she said.
But Soronen and Potter insist that the tavern isn't the raucous saloon that Disch and a few neighbors describe.
It serves premium beers and wines, as well as gourmet sandwiches, Soronen said. There's no hard liquor or live rock 'n' roll.
Usually the hired entertainment is an acoustic guitarist, with an occasional mandolin or harmonica joining in.
"We don't get a rowdy crowd," he said. "People for the most part have their wits about them."
The tavern's customers respect the neighborhood because most live there, Soronen said. "Seventy-five percent of our business walks," he said.
"If the neighborhood didn't support us, we'd be out of business," Potter added.
They said most Old Northeast residents consider the tavern an asset in a burgeoning residential area.
"Right now, this restaurant fits the neighborhood," Soronen said.
Although he can't stop people from bidding each other goodbye after the 2 a.m. closing time, he said the tavern makes efforts to keep noise contained.
Employees crank the windows closed at 8 p.m. on weekdays and 9 p.m. on weekends.
Signs above tavern exits prohibit patrons from taking drinks outside. Bartenders also watch to make sure they don't.
Still, Disch said that even after she installed her sign, which she said cost $200, noise continues to be a problem.
The sign, which went through several not-so-polite pen and paper drafts, is the last step before legal action, she said.Casey Cora can be reached at 727 892-2374 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
"We don't get a rowdy crowd. People for the most part have their wits about them."
Dan Soronen, co-owner of the Old Northeast Tavern
[Last modified December 16, 2006, 22:09:28]
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