The creation of a dozen new rules for a Maple Street bar — governing everything from how long the front door can be open when music is playing to the appearance of its go-cups — was hailed Tuesday by Councilwoman Susan Guidry as a “wonderful outcome” that she hopes will set a new standard for college bars in the area.
After two underage-drinking raids of Rocco’s Tavern in January, the city Alcohol Beverage Control board began negotiating with the bar on a list of practices that would alleviate the rowdiness in the area residents complain of. On Tuesday, city attorney Dan McNamara presented the following requirements:
- Rocco’s is fined $2,000 for violations regarding music and underage drinking.
- Rocco’s may not play music that can be heard at all from more than 50 feet away, and when music is playing inside, the door may not be open for more than 60 seconds at a time. All windows must also be closed after 10 p.m., and contact information must be posted outside for someone to handle noise complaints immediately between 10 p.m. and 3 a.m.
- Rocco’s must help the neighborhood association, Maple Area Residents Inc., pay for 20 hours of patrol by a law enforcement officer in the three-block radius around the bar. Rocco’s must pay for 50 percent of that cost, up to $250 per week. Rocco’s must also send a representative to quarterly meetings of the association to address any complaints.
- Rocco’s must ask for ID at the door and at the point of sale, and any employee that sells to an underage patron must be immediately fired.
- Rocco’s must ensure that no one loiters outside.
- Rocco’s must only use “go cups” that are clearly labeled with the bar’s name, or stop using them altogether.
If any of the conditions are broken, Rocco’s will have its liquor license suspended for a minimum of 45 days.
“The business owners have got to come to grips with the fact that it’s my duty first to protect the quality of life of residents in a residential area,” Guidry said after the hearing. “This is a residential area. I want businesses to succeed — when they fit with the area.”
Ideally, Guidry said, all the bars on Maple will begin keeping their doors closed, the music contained inside, with no patrons on the sidewalk and no go cups which can be easily passed around to underage drinkers. The atmosphere, Guidry said, should be more similar to Magazine or Oak Street than Bourbon or Frenchman.
“There are a lot of successful bars and restaurants that do not encourage outrageous behavior,” Guidry said.
Nearby TJ Quills was also raided in January, and Guidry said its owners are set for municipal court Wednesday. McNamara had said during May’s meeting that the city would be bringing another bar in the “immediate area” before the ABC board, but declined Tuesday to name the bar or the status of any other pending cases.
To read our live coverage of the meeting, click “Replay” in the box below.
Scott Satchfield and our reporting partners at WWL-TV obtained home video of the area that shows the nighttime revelry:
Contact Robert Morris at rmorris@NolaMessenger.com, or post your comment below.