Disgruntled Neighbors Dampen Nublu’s Birthday Week

NubluSuzanne Rozdeba

It’s been a week of highs and lows for Nublu. Tonight, the club celebrates its 10th anniversary at Le Poisson Rouge. But earlier this week, owner Ilhan Ersahin was forced to defend himself against accusations that his live music venue was to blame for noise on Avenue C.

Mr. Ersahin appeared before Community Board 3’s SLA licensing committee on Monday after neighbors lodged numerous complaints about noise they said came from Nublu. Some present at the meeting wanted his beer and wine license revoked. Meanwhile, committee member Ariel Palitz defended Nublu, calling it an East Village institution and one of its few remaining live music venues.

Today, Mr. Ersahin denied the block was all that noisy. “I think the complainers have this thing in their head and they keep on going because they have nothing else to do,” he told The Local. “I live right above Nublu; it’s not like I don’t know what’s going on.”

Mr. Ersahin said he had made concessions – including cutting back the number of music sets on Sundays, Mondays and Tuesdays from two to one, and adding a thick layer of soundproofing – but would not agree to the committee’s requests that he add an additional doorman and impose tighter restrictions on hours of operation and music.

“It would cripple our business until we’d have to close. The stipulations were ridiculous,” he told The Local. “One board member said, ‘If it’s noisy, put another doorman outside.’ Another doorman is another $3,000 a month for me. Does that mean we have to police the whole block?”

He said he wanted to return to the committee next month in an effort to appease it, though he declined to be specific about his plan. “Hopefully we can resolve it somehow. I want to satisfy them and my neighbors, but we should do it in a civilized manner, not just arguing in front of 200 people,” he said.

Mr. Ersahin said the club had made the block a safer place in the past decade and believed it wasn’t getting a due amount of respect. “In my mind, we are like the Village Vanguard. We have been there 10 years. In 60 years, there’s still going to be a Nublu,” he said.

This isn’t the first time Nublu has been on the hot seat: The club was forced to close last summer after its liquor license was revoked by the State Liquor Authority due to its proximity to a Jehovah’s Witnesses Kingdom Hall. When it reopened (serving wine and beer rather than hard liquor) Mr. Ersahin said the new operation would be “less clubby style” and “more wine/lounge/art/talky kinda vibes.”