Traffic Bar Promises to Quiet Down

By Mathew Katz on October 14, 2011 9:05am 

Several neighbors in Hell's Kitchen have complained bar and restaurant Traffic is too loud, particularly when its garage-style doors are open.
Several neighbors in Hell's Kitchen have complained bar and restaurant Traffic is too loud, particularly when its garage-style doors are open.
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DNAinfo/Mathew Katz

HELL'S KITCHEN — The owners of a Ninth Avenue bar that neighbors have complained about for months has pledged to turn down the volume.

Traffic, a restaurant and bar with a nightclub vibe at 701 Ninth Ave., opened in May and almost immediately got flack from neighbors for blasting music outside and keeping their large garage-style doors open late. But all that will soon change, according to the bar's manager Ronald Jabe.

"We're definitely getting away from anything that creates a loud environment," he said. "That way we don't upset everybody and we don't become the hated place in Hell's Kitchen."

The Community Board 4 Business Licenses and Permits Committee was ready to take action against the bar at their meeting on Tuesday, but the bar's owner, Michael O'Neil, arrived with a step-by-step plan to reduce the noise the bar creates.

It includes keeping the bar's garage doors closed more often, changing the kind of music they play, and relocating speakers to the rear of the bar, so they're away from the street. At the meeting, O'Neil said that even some of his own customers complained that it was too loud to talk inside the bar.

"When people complain that it’s too loud to eat inside, it’s probably too loud outside," said committee co-chair Lisa Daglian. "Now they just need to put their money where their mouth is and show us they can do this."

Some neighbors aren't so sure. Sherri Hodes, 62, who lives nearby, is skeptical that much will change about one of her main complaints: rowdy customers outside of Traffic.

"They don't care about what happens outside," she said. "They only care about what's happening inside. That's the problem with Traffic."

But Jabe said the bar's new image will likely involve fewer late nights and less raucous customers.

"We're trying to steer away from making this place a sort of club environment at the end of the night, less of a club, more of a casual lounge environment," he said.

"We won't even need loud music."

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