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W’burg residents: We love gay bar, but hate its noise

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A Williamsburg gay bar is under fire — and neighbors say it’s not because they’re proud, it’s just because they’re loud.

A North Brooklyn civic group unanimously rejected a Lorimer Street gay bar’s request for a liquor license renewal last week over complaints that the boisterous Metropolitan bar keeps its neighbors awake late into the night.

Community Board 1 members stressed that while they love and respect the gay community, Metropolitan bar failed to abide by state guidelines that force the venue to close its outdoor space by 11 pm on weeknights and 1 am on weekends.

“It’s equal grief for everyone,” said CB1 member Tom Burrows, who says he has visited Williamsburg’s first gay bar many times and “always notices a violation.”

Neighbors approached the board in January when the bar’s liquor license renewal appeared on the agenda, claiming they were fed up with shards of broken glass in the courtyard, billowing cigarette smoke, and cacophonous conversations from revelers that lasted past 4 am.

One Williamsburg resident told the board’s public safety committee he had to hose off the sidewalks in front of the bar on Lorimer Street to remove the smell of urine.

“If the owner just brought people inside at 1 am when he is supposed to, this would have never happened,” said Linell Ajello.

Metropolitan’s owner did not return a call for comment, but the bar’s manager said that neighbors are “never happy” and have complained about noise as early as 10 pm.

The board’s vote is only a recommendation and does not mean that the bar will lose its license.

The State Liquor Authority has the ultimate power to grant or renew liquor licenses for bars and restaurants — and Metropolitan Bar likely won’t face much trouble, considering it has no prior violations or complaints on file, an agency spokesman said.

But Williamsburg resident Sinclair Rankin hopes the board’s vote will at least send a message to the bar to better soundproof its backyard — without necessarily tamping down any of the fun its customers are having.

“I could care less if people were making out back there,” said Rankin. “You can’t hear making out.”

Reach reporter Aaron Short at ashort@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260-2547.

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Reader Feedback

grit from Williamsburg says:
While it was popular among a mixed crowd, Williamsburg’s first gay bar was The Abbey on Driggs Avenue at N. 7th, opened in 1995.
Feb. 21, 2012, 9:45 am
ed from williamsburg says:
sign of the times. too many babies and people who complain about everything and anything.
Feb. 21, 2012, 11:20 am
david from williamsburg says:
i never understood these kill joys. they move into a cool neighborhood because it's cool and then go about dismantling everything cool about it. wouldn't they just be happier raising their kids in the outer suburbs?
Feb. 21, 2012, 4:58 pm
Roman from Williamsburg says:
Actually, five years ago this street wasn't cool. And it actually still isn't, except for Metropolitan bar.

Meanwhile, I went to the Abbey a few times, and while everyone claimed it was a gay bar, I never met a gay person there.
Feb. 21, 2012, 5:09 pm
Michael from Harlem says:
Let's see... You live on the main strip and are going to complain about the noise??? Um, OK.
Feb. 21, 2012, 5:30 pm
piminnowcheez from williamsburg says:
There are two details in this story that I find very hard to believe:

1) "[Neighbors] claiming they were fed up with shards of broken glass in the courtyard..." What impact could shards of broken glass in the courtyard possibly have on neighbors? The back yard of the bar is not shared space.

2) "One Williamsburg resident told the board’s public safety committee he had to hose off the sidewalks in front of the bar on Lorimer Street to remove the smell of urine."

If the problem is that the bar stays open too late, then as long as the bar is open, its restrooms are available. And, the front of the bar is incredibly exposed, being right across from an L train entrance, and during most active hours, there is a bouncer out front who would discourage urinating in front of the bar. So, these putative public urinators making the front of the bar smell are choosing to urinate in a highly-trafficed place, possibly in view of a bouncer, when a restroom is just as easily available. That doesn't make any sense, and I suspect this "Williamsburg resident" is either lying or has been misrepresented in this story.
Feb. 21, 2012, 5:38 pm
Jered from Williamsburg says:
If you don't like the noise then move to Queens!
Feb. 21, 2012, 5:50 pm
Allison from Williamsburg says:
If anyone is unhappy with the LAWS, they should be petitioning the local government to have them changed. In the end, the point is that the bar is breaking laws (according to the article). If this is true, the bar should either adhere to the laws or try to change the laws. As of now the residence are within their rights to be aggravated at any place in any neighborhood for breaking any laws. I understand the argument of "why move to New York if you just want to complain about all the things that made you want to move here" but I get a little annoyed when that argument (which is totally valid) is misused in situations where there is negligent behavior on the part of business owners, who ultimately ruin it for everyone by not following the rules.
Feb. 21, 2012, 5:52 pm
Nick from Williamsburg says:
If anyone is unhappy with BARS they should move the f*** out of Williamsburg, Allison.
Feb. 21, 2012, 5:54 pm
Allison from Williamsburg says:
Nick, you're exactly right. If you're not aware that Williamsburg is blanketed with bars and decide to move here, it's your own fault for not doing the research first.
Feb. 21, 2012, 6:05 pm
han brolo from williamsburg says:
Actually, The Metropolitan Bar came directly out of a Sunday night party at The Abbey. the only Gay Night/ Party the neighborhood had prior to Metropolitans opening 8 years ago was run by The owner of Metropolitan who was infact that Sunday night bartender at The Abbey.
noise complaints aside i am calling —— on the piss smells out in front of the bar.
Feb. 21, 2012, 6:19 pm
Pippy from Williamsburg says:
And what about those of us who've lived here for 10 or 15 years who are fed up with how out of control the bar scene has become in the neighborhood? Why should I move? I was here first...maybe the bar should follow the law.

That said The Abbey was Williamsburg's first gay bar.
Feb. 21, 2012, 6:26 pm
mp from park slope says:
Why are so many comments assuming that upset residents moved to the neighborhood AFTER the bar opened? Williamsburg was home to many people and families before it became a hot spot. Many of them have been or will be pushed out because of rising rents and also because a changing culture (and noise!) I like the Metropolitan, but I think it's important that, if I am going to drink there, I respect residents' needs.
Feb. 21, 2012, 6:31 pm
mp from park slope says:
Why are so many comments assuming that upset residents moved to the neighborhood AFTER the bar opened? Williamsburg was home to many people and families before it became a hot spot. Many of them have been or will be pushed out because of rising rents and also because a changing culture (and noise!) I like the Metropolitan, but I think it's important that, if I am going to drink there, I respect residents' needs.
Feb. 21, 2012, 6:31 pm
mp from park slope says:
Why are so many comments assuming that upset residents moved to the neighborhood AFTER the bar opened? Williamsburg was home to many people and families before it became a hot spot. Many of them have been or will be pushed out because of rising rents and also because a changing culture (and noise!) I like the Metropolitan, but I think it's important that, if I am going to drink there, I respect residents' needs.
Feb. 21, 2012, 6:31 pm
mp from park slope says:
Why are so many comments assuming that upset residents moved to the neighborhood AFTER the bar opened? Williamsburg was home to many people and families before it became a hot spot. Many of them have been or will be pushed out because of rising rents and also because a changing culture (and noise!) I love Metropolitan, but I think it's important that, if I am going to drink there, I respect residents' needs.
Feb. 21, 2012, 6:32 pm
mp from park slope says:
Why are so many comments assuming that upset residents moved to the neighborhood AFTER the bar opened? Williamsburg was home to many people and families before it became a hot spot. Many of them have been or will be pushed out because of rising rents and also because a changing culture (and noise!) I love Metropolitan, but I think it's important that, if I am going to drink there, I respect residents' needs.
Feb. 21, 2012, 6:32 pm
mp from park slope says:
Why are so many comments assuming that upset residents moved to the neighborhood AFTER the bar opened? Williamsburg was home to many people and families before it became a hot spot. Many of them have been or will be pushed out because of rising rents and also because a changing culture (and noise!) I love Metropolitan, but I think it's important that, if I am going to drink there, I respect residents' needs.
Feb. 21, 2012, 6:32 pm
mp from park slope says:
Why are so many comments assuming that upset residents moved to the neighborhood AFTER the bar opened? Williamsburg was home to many people and families before it became a hot spot. Many of them have been or will be pushed out because of rising rents and also because a changing culture (and noise!) I love Metropolitan, but I think it's important that, if I am going to drink there, I respect residents' needs.
Feb. 21, 2012, 6:32 pm
mp from park slope says:
Why are so many comments assuming that upset residents moved to the neighborhood AFTER the bar opened? Williamsburg was home to many people and families before it became a hot spot. Many of them have been or will be pushed out because of rising rents and also because a changing culture (and noise!) I love Metropolitan, but I think it's important that, if I am going to drink there, I respect residents' needs.
Feb. 21, 2012, 6:33 pm
mp from park slope says:
Why are so many comments assuming that upset residents moved to the neighborhood AFTER the bar opened? Williamsburg was home to many people and families before it became a hot spot. Many of them have been or will be pushed out because of rising rents and also because a changing culture (and noise!) I love Metropolitan, but I think it's important that, if I am going to drink there, I respect residents' needs.
Feb. 21, 2012, 6:33 pm
Cynthia from Clintion hill says:
mp is a tool
Feb. 21, 2012, 7:22 pm
yva from ridgewoo says:
If the noise is too much, wear earplugs. Property are only young once, chill.?
Feb. 21, 2012, 8:09 pm
Lunesta from Greenpoint says:
I also call bull$#** on public urination taking place in front of Metropolitan as well as the courtyard being open past 4am. Neither does all of the noise in front come from this bar as there is a 24/7 bagel shop across the street as well as a 24/7 L Train Station. I have been to this bar on many occasions and have NEVER seen the courtyard open as late as 4am, or even 3am. If you're gonna fight, residents, at least fight fairly.
Feb. 21, 2012, 8:32 pm
Madame Peepee from Williamsburg says:
The smell of urine outside? Please, what about the smell of urine INSIDE. Clean up those damn bathrooms. Disgusting! What a dump. All the $ spent in there over the last decade and barely a cent reinvested back into that cucaracha trap. One day the gay mafia (Metropolitan. Sugarland, Phoenix, etc) will lose it's grip and go down the drain. Oh wait it's clogged and sewage is now ankle deep.

Yummmmmmm!
Feb. 21, 2012, 8:41 pm
Anonymous from Williamsburg says:
@Madame Peepee: Yes, you are right. The bathrooms can get rather dirty during a busy night at the bar. Urine is a real ——, especially when intoxicated people tend to lose their aim. I suspect you don't go out to dive bars that often, as the bars in all of them are not always the most pleasant. If you don't like it, go to one of those fancy bars with $15 mixed drinks for a pleasant bathroom experience. Oh, and don't f**k with the gay mafia. It's straight owned, if you were not aware...
As for the broken shards of glass, I've seen the staff promptly sweep up broken glass as soon as they're aware of it. How does glass in Metro's backyard affect the neighbors? Oh, it doesn't. Sidewalks smelling like urine? Um, this is NY. I've walked down many a street all over this city and smelt urine. Let's blame it on the closest bar. I mean, what bar in it's right mind would let someone piss on the sidewalk? Metropolitan doesn't. This whole article is mostly sensationalized and complete bull***t. As a regular of the Metropolitan, I can attest that they close the courtyard before the bar closes, and I've never seen or been in the courtyard after 4am, as they kick everyone out of the bar at that time. Even if they were to close it early, then you would have hoards of people out in front of the bar pissing off a whole new set of people. It's a lose/lose situation. Smokers suck, but they gotta go somewhere, as you can't smoke indoors anymore. I feel for the longtime residents of these hip neighborhoods to an extent, but thanks to the Metropolitan and all the other popular businesses in the area, your property value has gone up. Get over it, or move. Kids can't sleep? This is NY. Your children adapt to the city, not the other way around. If you don't like it, then move to the 'burbs. It's as simple as that.
Feb. 21, 2012, 9:26 pm
Serena from 11211 says:
Just a gentle reminder. We were here before all the bars. We were here before the restaurants put outdoor drinking and dining in the backyards. So stop asking us why we moved to Williamsburg if we didn't want all the noise and drunken idiots. We were here first. It's that simple.
Feb. 22, 2012, 8:45 am
Josef from 11238 says:
For residents like Serena and Pippy, and the Community Board, I say: NYC is the city that never sleeps.

If you want quiet, there are literally millions of homes across the country where you could live. You don't even have to leave NYC - just move to Staten Island.

For people who want to be able to carouse all night and then take public transit home, there is one place in the country: NYC. More specifically, Brooklyn, Manhattan, and pockets of the Bronx and Queens.

As such, your complaints deserve no sympathy. The guidelines for when bars should close outdoor areas are BS. They are not compatible with a rule banning smoking indoors - if smokers must go outside, then bars will always have people making noise outside whether it's on a patio or out front. Since the 2nd hand smoke concerns of bar staff and patrons are semi-legit, this over-privileged "oh, the big city is too noisy for my sensitive ears - and won't anyone think of the children" hooey needs to cease.

Staten Island, people.
Feb. 22, 2012, 10:15 am
Lauren from Williamsburg says:
I live literally above Metropolitan, with bedrooms both on the street and on the courtyard. I have no complaints at all about Metropolitan. In fact, I feel significantly safer because there is a bouncer outside late at night for all the times that I come home late from working.

The comments from Williamsburg residents in this thread show that the community board is not representing its constituents.
Feb. 22, 2012, 12:09 pm
Blahblahblah from Bushwick says:
I've got the perfect sullution...PROHIBITION 2012! Let the REAL living begin! Lol
Feb. 22, 2012, 12:59 pm
Michael from Manhattan says:
I have been going to this bar for years and always have a great time. In fact, I travel from Manhattan just to hang out there. If these 'irritated' neiboors screw that up for me and countless others? Well f--- them, they're being brats. Move somewhere else whiners because I am CERTAIN there are many people who would do anything to live where you live. Find something valid to complain about.
Feb. 22, 2012, 1:44 pm
Frank from 11211 says:
Josef from 11238- The city that never sleeps is a reference to New York, New York aka Manhattan. The whole move to Staten Island bit is so facile. I bought a building here 15 years ago when I tired of the round-the-clock, noisy lifestyle in Manhattan. Like many of my peers it was to move to a quiet, residential neighborhood with room for growth. It was a neighborhood that could support some new shops, galleries, restaurants. Had I known that it would turn into the East Village, I wouldn't have left the East Village. You newbies act so entitled to have everything your way. Your comments show that you don't know the first thing about the community board. If you did you would know that about 90% of all applications do get the thumbs up from the board. You all act like there is some rich history of having these backyard spaces to drink in. Guess what? That is a new thing that opportunistic entrepreneurs started in this very neighborhood not very long ago. It's too bad that their patrons and their staff can't seem to appreciate it and behave responsibly. If they would you wouldn't hear all the whining form those of us that were here first and are tired of it
Feb. 22, 2012, 2:43 pm
b from williamsburg says:
wow. While I'm sure the neighbors have some legitimate complaints about the bar (honestly, everyone will complain about their neighbors, whether it's a bar or not), this article is so construed against the bar, while also not even doing a little factual gathering (ie. the courtyard abuts other backyards on all sides and is not against anyone's building, there is a new 24hr bagel store at the subway entrance, and the strange "private club" across the street that is aways louder then the front door of metro) that you would almost think that The Brooklyn Paper has an agenda...
Feb. 22, 2012, 3:43 pm
Found from BoysHatUpYourArse says:
Willamsburg is full of hipsters that should all move back to Minnesota.
Feb. 22, 2012, 5:07 pm
Malembi from BK says:
Why are so many comments assuming that upset residents moved to the neighborhood AFTER the bar opened? Williamsburg was home to many people and families before it became a hot spot. Many of them have been or will be pushed out because of rising rents and also because a changing culture (and noise!) I love Metropolitan, but I think it's important that, if I am going to drink there, I respect residents' needs.
Feb. 22, 2012, 5:25 pm
Vince from Greenpoint says:
Every self loathing, alcoholic, bottom from the midwest assumes that the bars were always here, and we should have done research before we moved here. If by research they mean crystal ball...
Feb. 22, 2012, 5:58 pm
on devoe from williamsburg says:
People who don't live adjacent to this bar don't know what the f*ck they're talking about. There are very loud drinkers outside in the back until 3 or 4 in the morning almost every night of the week. Most other bars make an attempt to be good neighbors and close their outside space at reasonable hours- Pete's Candy Store for instance, which closes at midnight. But Metropolitan has made clear over the years that they don't give a sh*t about being a good neighbor. The quote from their manager that neighbors are "never happy" is typical of their attitude. The reference to broken glass, by the way, is from a next-door neighbor who has to put up with assh*les throwing bottles and glasses OVER the wall into adjacent yards. All of you "go to Staten Island" hosebags
Feb. 23, 2012, 2:04 pm
humboldt from williamsburg says:
i wish there was a gay alternative to metropolitan in williamsburg, because while i love the crowd and the bartenders, the truth is that it's a sh*thole. i LIKE sh*tholes, but metro's owner doesn't give a f*ck about his patrons or the community, just making money.
Feb. 23, 2012, 3:49 pm
Simone from 11211 says:
There are a lot of older people living near Metropolitan who've been in the neighborhood their whole lives. Should they move because some people have decided this is a cool place to drink? Or, should the bar abide by the laws, and, even more than that, just be good neighbors? The "get out if you don't want to live in the next post frat house neighborhood hot spot" attitude is really, really entitled and oblivious to others.
Feb. 23, 2012, 4:57 pm
venkman from williamsburg says:
I second Simone: this comment thread is a continuous stream of an entitled mindset, that shows no understanding of the laws, the fabric of the community, the function of the community board or the history of the neighborhood. It's worth keeping in mind, that this particular block is almost entirely residential. This is not the same situation as the north side.
Feb. 23, 2012, 6:06 pm
Andrew from Clinton hill says:
Williamsburg is a textbook case of gentrification.

All of the 20somethings (and I am a 20something myself) moved to williamsburg because it was "Hip" and "Fun."

They care little about the fabric of the neighborhood because to them being a neighborhood is about bars, music, and shopping.

Do any of you realize that it's about the schools, the local businesses, the people who have contributed to the continual growth of the place that you love?

I don't buy the "this is New York City, it never sleeps" argument. A street does not have to turn into an amusement park. Why don't you visit Park Slope, Clinton Hill, Bensonhurst, Bed-Stuy, DUMBO, or any of the other Brooklyn neighborhoods, and tell me, they "don't sleep."

Your entitlement is what makes the neighbors so angry: it's all about what YOU want, no compromise, no respect for people who own property and live there. I seriously doubt a lot of you are anything more than transplants/renters (if you owned property, maybe I would take you seriously).

So if you want a part of the city that doesn't sleep, why don't YOU get out and go move to Times Square if that's what you want?
Feb. 23, 2012, 7:43 pm
james. says:
dear andrew, shut up ——.
Feb. 24, 2012, 5:20 pm
jco from williamsburg says:
if see Sinclair Rankin (http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1361421147) in person, im going to ask him how one soundproofs a backyard. why is everyone such a dick?

also, ive lived in this city my whole life and i would sooner move out before i took an apartment above a bar.
Feb. 24, 2012, 5:23 pm
Shay from Park Slope says:
I have been to this bar numerous times on weekdays and weekends and I have never seen partons throw glasses over walls and piss outside. Granted i am not there on a daily basis so this can occur when I am not present but from what I have seen the "norm" is pretty chill and laid back. Yes when there are a bunch of people outside it can be loud then again its a bar :/ I feel bad for the old school residents if they have a valid compliant they should be respected. People who moved there after the fact, you moved by a bar get over it. In Park Slope I have 2 bars across the street and live slightly (not fully) over one and its fine. I cant see how being in a vicinity of 3 bars is problem-less and 1 is an issue. PS: I was born in BK and live in BK please don't tell me to move to Minnesota or some other state. Spread love!
Feb. 24, 2012, 6:54 pm
old time brooklyn says:
why is it tagged as a gay bar - if the patrons are pigws they are are regardlkess id how hey butter their buns - and honestly getting to brooklyn as of late gives you no karmic balls - i was here when you were watching barney - and you are living over the toxic waste
Feb. 25, 2012, 9:30 pm
Jerry from East Williamsburg says:
"On Devoe," your nose is growing! Metropolitan's backyard is NEVER open past 3am, or even 2am. Where is your documentation? Perhaps you are hearing pedestrian traffic coming from the L Train on Lorimer onto Devoe at those hours. Attributing all late-night incidental noise to Metropolitan is convenient, but inaccurate.
Feb. 25, 2012, 10:11 pm
drew from Greenpoint says:
Gosh, this dive bar is dirty, what a rip off! HAHA, seriously, people? Would everyone be happy if they remodeled, charged a cover and $15 for drinks?
Feb. 26, 2012, 6:31 pm
On Devoe from Williamsburg says:
My backyard shares the same outside space as Metropolitan's, so I am not hearing incidentals like people coming off the train,or people out on the sidewalk. What I hear, night after night, is the roar of people out back, and I guarantee you they run 'til 3 or 4, because half the time some dumbass screams and wakes us up. If you like, I can send you all my 311 calls that culminate with the cops shutting the party down after 3am.
As I said, if you are not adjacent to this place, you don't know the scale of the problem. Bars that respect their neighbors listen to their concerns and close their outside spaces earlier. Black Rabbit closes their outdoor at 10! Given that, would you care to ague how fair closing an outside space at even 2 am is?
Feb. 26, 2012, 8:08 pm
italianboy from williamsburg says:
its true these yupps that moved here have no respect to peoples property because mommy and daddy pay for everything
this was once a great place until they moved in its sad to see these jerks walking around like zombies on the i phone they dont look when they they cross the street like they have the right its sad the old feel is gone they should all move back to new hampshire
Feb. 27, 2012, 10:28 pm
JMS says:
Whiners... You people who own houses by this bar should be jumping for joy. Your property value is thru the roof because of bars and hip crap. Guess what? Sell or rent people make your profit and move. I am banking on this right now with a property. NY is the land of change so ride it!
March 14, 2012, 11:20 am
gwr from williamsburg says:
I guarantee that if the people defending Metropolitan had to contend with disruptive bar noise keeping them up into the wee hours every single night, they would be complaining too. A person's right to expect some peace in their home trumps the right to party, even a libertarian would tell you this. I don't understand what is so difficult about keeping noise levels down to a reasonable level in residential neighborhoods. I doubt the drunks would even notice if their bars were a bit quieter. Most businesses try to cooperate with the communities they operate in. They consider that good business. I write this as a long time Williamsburg resident who remembers when Metropolitan was a nice little Italian restaurant called Milo's.
June 24, 2012, 7:51 pm
Steven from Williamsburg says:
As a Lifelong New Yorker of three Generations, I have seen NY Neighborhoods change from middle class to ghetto and back to middle class.
25 years ago I walked by the abandoned buildings and drug dealers here in Willilamsburg. I can't help laughing at the "some of my best friends are" attitude of the complaints. On the old Phil Donohue show in the 70s, White folks said they would tolerate Black neighbors if the neighbors were clean and quiet!.
When When the West Village were mostly gay folk, it was the safest place to be at all hours. Since Gentrification and new middle class residents, the News reports robberies, beatings and murder there have skyrocketed. The gay bars near the new Condos have closed and crime increased there. Open a straight bar with straight drunks and brawls. Close the Metro and make the street dark and lonely. Then crime increases and these people will leave and Williamsburg will become a Ghetto again.
Oct. 17, 2012, 5:15 pm
Anna from Manhattan says:
I grew up in Williamsburg and left years ago when it became full of drugs and crime. Now I live in Manhattan and pay thousands for security and ambiance. Be honest. You can't afford to live in Manhattan. We in Manhattan see you guys as lower class Manhattan wannabes and small town mentality. Trying to recreate your small towns. Sad really.
Oct. 17, 2012, 5:29 pm

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