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Jacob's Pickles' Plan to Open Basement Bar Ripped by Neighbors Over Noise

By Emily Frost | June 11, 2015 1:38pm
 The restaurant wants to open a basement bar, but was denied by the Community Board. 
Jacob's Pickles
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UPPER WEST SIDE — Popular restaurant Jacob's Pickles got blasted in its bid to open a reservation-only basement bar by neighbors who said the eatery is already creating enough of a racket.

Members of Community Board 7's business and consumer issues committee, which weighs in on new liquor license applications, liked the general idea for the subterranean cocktail joint but were disturbed by testimony from neighbors about the restaurant's noise. 

The underground bar would use space currently devoted to office storage to create an "intimate, quiet" setting for about 30 guests to drink and eat, said Jacob's general manager Arsham Kamli.

The space would only be accessed by reservations, which would have to be made a week in advance and would not serve as a spillover space for the main restaurant, added Kamli, who assured neighbors that there would never be a line outside to get into the new bar.

Seatings for the 12-table bar would happen throughout the day, with the last one at midnight, he explained. 

"It’s a spin on what’s going on upstairs, but it’s going to be a more private, quiet dining experience," he added.

But tenants described living above the Amsterdam Avenue and West 85th Street eatery as "hell on earth," with levels of ambient noise that would literally shake their floors.

Resident Martha Duke, who lives on the floor directly above Jacob's, said she thought her experience in the East Village had prepared her for living on top of restaurants and bars. 

"It sounded like a rock band was in the living room," she said of Jacob's. "You can take Ambien and not sleep through this."

Kamli said the restaurant worked with the landlord to install soundproofing on some of the floors directly above the restaurant. He also held meetings with tenants and said he would continue to work to resolve the noise issue. 

Owner Jacob Hadjigeorgis told DNAinfo: "We understand the concerns and will continue to support the community in every possible way we can. We appreciate the support of the board to make the Upper West Side a vibrant destination and place to live."

Hadjigeorgis could not attend the meeting because of family commitments, his manager told the board.

"We love Jacob, we love his food... and he has a great clientele. It’s always busy," said George Zeppenfeldt-Cestero, co-chairman of the CB7 committee.  

"At the same token, if your tenants above you are hearing noise we have to resolve that before we can move forward," he said. 

The committee invited Jacob's Pickles to return in a month with its application after more work had been done to resolve the noise issues.

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