HELLS KITCHEN — Longtime Ninth Avenue watering hole Rudy's Bar & Grill is one of the few places that's allowed to operate its backyard bar until 4 a.m. — but neighbors are trying to change that.
The century-old bar at 627 Ninth Ave. was given a permit in the 1990s that allowed its late-night operations to buck more stringent Community Board closing times. But now, some of its neighbors are banding together in a bid to to cut the party short.
“Twice we’ve had to leave our bedroom to fall asleep,” said local Nolly Evans, 38, at a contentious community board meeting Wednesday night. Evans moved into her apartment three weeks ago, but has lived in Hell’s Kitchen for three years.
Evans said she was “shocked” that the level of noise Rudy’s emits was permitted.
Most bars and restaurants given liquor licenses today are required to shutter outdoor space by 10 p.m. or 11 p.m., community board members said.
However, under Rudy's liquor license, which dates back to 1992 when the current owner Jack Ertl, 88, bought the bar, the venue is allowed to use the backyard space until the wee hours with no restrictions, according to documents and bar management.
Management however said the bar generally closes at 1:30 a.m.
Since June, there have been 20 noise complaints to 311 against Rudy's, according to an online database. The recent noise complaints were lodged between 5:50 p.m. and 11:37 p.m. and none came after midnight, according to records. There were no 311 complaints prior to June, though the database tracks all complaints dating back to 2011.
But the bar's management defended the tavern and said it provides a service to the community.
"The worst that happens is they sing happy birthday at midnight," said Danny DePamphilis, who has worked at Rudy's since the nineties. He also lives directly above the bar's back garden.
Rudy’s management also said that those complaining were suburban transplants who don't understand Hell's Kitchen.
“To have somebody come in from suburbia and say that we want to change this neighborhood because they paid an exorbitant amount for a co-op is not fair to the people in the community,” said Thomas Purcell, a the lawyer representing the bar, at the meeting on Wednesday.
“You're taking money out of our pockets so that this guy can sleep well at one in the morning?"
The discussion will continue at a later date, though the state has the final say in the matter. The State Liquor Authority won't review Rudy's current license until 2016, the bar's management said.