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Astoria Bar Is Too Noisy For Sidewalk Seating, Community Board Says

 Sweet Afton at 30-09 34th St. in Astoria.
Sweet Afton at 30-09 34th St. in Astoria.
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DNAinfo/Jeanmarie Evelly

ASTORIA — Community Board 1 shot down neighborhood bar Sweet Afton's bid to add sidewalk seating Tuesday night, after complaints from neighbors about noise.

The gastropub has applied to add six tables with 12 chairs in front of the eatery, located on 34th Street just off 30th Avenue — an attempt to draw more customers from the busy thoroughfare, manager Rob Mohally said.

"We actually just think it would be a really good attraction from the avenue," he said. "People want to sit outside and people-watch."

The bar brought its application before Queens CB1 Tuesday night, which ultimately voted against Sweet Afton, though the board's recommendation is only advisory.

Board members said they'd received 10 emails with complaints from residents who live near the bar about noise, trash and patrons smoking out front.

A man who said he was the owner of the apartment building next door told the board he was frequently fielding complaints from residents about the sound from the bar.

"I'm constantly, constantly having phone calls from my tenants that they cannot sleep all night," he said.

Another neighbor said that while he's a fan of Sweet Afton, he's also worried about what adding a sidewalk cafe could mean.

"I love the establishment and I go there very frequently, but there is definitely a problem with noise in the early hours of the morning," he said. "My concern, and the concern of the neighbors I've spoken with, is that if we add outdoor seating we're going to have an issue."

Mohally said the bar tries its best to keep patrons quiet, with a security guard hired specifically to "police sound in front of the building."

"We understand that this is something that is important to the neighbors, and we've always wanted to keep a good relationship with them," he said. "We want to keep the neighbors happy."

He said that if a sidewalk cafe were permitted, there would be no smoking out front. The sidewalk seating would have the same hours as the bar's small backyard space, staying open until 10 p.m. on Sundays through Thursdays and until 11 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays.

"We haven't had any problems with the backyard so we thought it would be the same with the front," Mohally said.

The city's Department of Consumer Affairs will ultimately make a decision on the bar's application.