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Bar to Appoint 'Hall Monitor' for Rowdy Patrons

By Nikhita Venugopal | February 26, 2014 9:38am
 Brooklyn Social, located at 335 Smith St., in Carroll Gardens.
Brooklyn Social
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CARROLL GARDENS — A Carroll Gardens bar has been forced to appoint a "hall monitor" to maintain order among rowdy patrons in its backyard.

Brooklyn Social, at 335 Smith St., was ordered to get customers under control — or risk jeopardizing its liquor license — after Community Board 6's permits and licenses committee conditionally approved its license renewal on Monday. Residents have complained about noise in the bar's backyard space, which abuts neighbors' residences.

“It’s loud,” said Jay Molishever, a real estate broker, who lives down the block from the bar. “And it’s been loud for 10 years.”

Under the terms of the agreement, Brooklyn Social has to hire or assign an employee to watch over patrons using the backyard patio space during operating hours from Wednesday through Sunday.

The monitor's primary responsibility is quelling the ruckus among backyard revelers, but they will also be responsible for locking the doors and windows to the outdoor area at 10:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Thursday and Sunday and 11:30 p.m. on Friday and Saturday, to prevent access. Previously, the area was allowed to remain open until 11 p.m. on weeknights and midnight on weekends, but owners admitted the time was sometimes later.

“Their duty is to keep order in the back and see that it is promptly closed,” CB6 committee chairman Gary Reilly said.

Most members voted to approve the license. But Community Board member Sayar Lonial voted against the motion, saying that it wasn't the board's job to tell businesses how to run their operation.

“It's a hall monitor,” Lonial said.

In order to renew the liquor license, bar owners Matt Dawson and Tracy Meyer also agreed to scale back their outdoor hours by 30 minutes to 11:30 p.m. on Friday and Saturday nights and 10:30 p.m. on other nights. Bar management will also send monthly updates on their activities and complaints to a CB6 representative.

Neighbors say they've complained about Brooklyn Social for the past decade, adding that they're woken up about once a week because of loud noise and other disorderly conduct from drinkers during early morning hours.

Dawson and Meyer met with neighbors two years ago to discuss these complaints and said they fulfilled a list of requests, which included soundproofing the bar, putting up signs asking customers to stay quiet and padlocking doors and windows to prevent drinkers from “sneaking out” into the backyard after hours. 

Dawson and Meyer said they hadn’t received any complaints since their 2012 meeting.

“We feel we’re a beloved establishment by many people,” Dawson said. “Obviously not by everybody.”

Neighbors said they gave up complaining — even after the bar's soundproofing and padlocks had not stopped sound from bleeding out of the bar at night or patrons from drinking in the backyard after it was supposed to be closed.

Glenn Kelly, a member of CB6 who lives behind Brooklyn Social’s outdoor area, said he was woken up because of loud music and noise from the bar around 1:50 a.m. last Friday.

“It really affects the quality of life,” he said, as his wife, Katia Kelly, strongly urged board members to close the bar’s backyard.

“For the price of a beer,” Katia Kelly said, “They are holding me hostage in my own bed.”

Glenn Kelly said bar owners were asked to cut their hours two years ago but refused.

“It comes as no surprise that I continue to have problems with this,” he said.

At the time, Dawson said reducing Brooklyn Social's hours would put it at a disadvantage in competing with Smith Street’s other numerous bars. 

The bar owners reluctantly agreed to the community’s requests and were approved to renew their liquor license, which they said expires on March 31.

“We want to be a positive part of the community,” Dawson said. “We don’t want to make people’s lives miserable.”