A note to the neighborhood.
We have a bar in Cambridge, MA (Lord Hobo) that is similarly located right in the middle of a neighborhood. There are condos that sit right on top of the bar and homes and apartments on the other three corners of our intersection. With no other bars or restaurants in the neighborhood we are a focal point.
The location there has been a bar for the better part of 60 years, and not always the classiest of places. One of the local cops told us that the bar, The Windsor Tap, that had been there previously until the late ’90s was nicknamed ‘The Bloodbath’. Our health inspector grew up in the neighborhood and told me how she used to run past the location as a kid because it was ‘the scary bar’. The neighbors were concerned that we were going to be more of the same.
We had an uphill battle with our neighbors when it came to convincing them that we were looking to open an establishment that didn’t cater to thugs and drunks, that we weren’t going to sacrifice our relationship with our neighbors for a quick buck and that we planned on being there for a long time.
This philosophy comes with us as we open up Alewife in Long Island City. We love opening neighborhood bar and restaurants. Repeat business is what keeps us going and if we alienate those closest to us with the most potential to frequent our establishment then we are poor businessmen indeed.
Alewife Queens is a world-class beer bar that serves high-end comfort food. We cater to a crowd that is looking to go out and enjoy good drink, food and friends in a welcoming environment. We do not do dollar drafts, we do not serve shooters, and we do not have live music or dance nights.
Daniel and I (Michael here) have been in the industry for a long time, I have worked in those bars that keep the music so loud that you have a sore throat from shouting trying to talk with your friends. I never understood it, and vowed not to own an establishment like that.
As to what we are planning to do to control noise once open.
– We are not going to have any speakers in outside areas (either in front or on the back patio).
– Long-term plans for the patio include an 11′ cedar fence (I remember hearing that fences make good neighbors) with retractable awning to act as sound dampening. We will also abide by the hours of operations in our Liquor License, which stipulate earlier closing times for outdoor seating areas.
– The staff will be fully trained in not over serving customers. On busier nights we will have staff actively watching the front of the establishment to make sure that people are not congregating and making noise.
– There will be signs posted outside the establishment discouraging loitering after hours and to respect the fact that they are in a neighborhood.
Most importantly, we have an open door policy with our neighbors. Communication is the key.
I cannot guarantee that there won’t ever be noise. We are in the hospitality business and, though we strive to achieve this, we cannot satisfy everyone. We cannot control the actions of our patrons when they leave Alewife. But we will do our best to create conditions were there won’t be many issues and address any our neighbors might have.
Hopefully we are discussing them over a few drinks and dinner at the bar.
Please feel free to contact us with any thoughts, concerns or questions.
For those of you wondering, ‘So Lord Hobo has been open for almost 2 years. What does the neighborhood think of you now?’ Well, our neighbors are some of our best customers; some bring their children in for dinner. While on record there has been one noise complaint, when the police showed up they couldn’t even tell if we were open, hearing no noise from outside the location.