Jun 212011
 

Rocco's Tavern on Maple Street

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.

  25 Responses to “City lays the law down on Maple Street bar”

  1. NIMBYism at its finest. I get that its a neighborhood, blah blah blah…

    But next time you think to yourself “Why doesn’t NOLA have a _________ ?” (insert type of business, restaurant or service found elsewhere)

    Articles like these are at least 30% of the reason. It is hard to business here because of heavyhanded local politics. While you all might see an “empowered community”, investors see an environment not worth the headaches.

  2. The people who live here matter. If you are asking people to forego peace in their neighborhood so that you can conduct a lucrative business, you are not welcome in the community. Go to a different community. If your chief aim is to provide a place for college students to break the law and indulge in conspicuous and excessive consumption of alcohol, I’m not quite sure why you think that would be welcome by residents of any community. Show that these are not your aims, help keep the peace and everybody’s happy. If you can’t make money that way, leave.

    • Well said wev. This article is not part of the problem Travis, it is the undergrads who have no respect for those in the area which are the problem. It is not “heavyhanded local politics” when the politicians are sticking up for their constituents. There are several local businesses in the area doing very well which get along with the surrounding community

      • I doubt that “investors” are turned off by the fact that residents don’t want to see bars packed with underage drinkers. I think that investors are turned off by the fact that the city government is simple and ridiculously backward. Hell, as a new resident I know *I’m* turned off by it.

  3. I’ve lived Uptown pretty much all of my 62 years and Maple Street has always been able to keep the roar down. Until recently, that is. Suddenly the attitude is that all these rules are unfair and limiting the rights of the students. Well, students…you have no rights. Drink responsibly or we’ll kick your higher education butts out.

  4. Same problems different street, the bars Uptown are out of control! I am tired of paying so much in taxes and having to deal with disrespectful brats and the bar owners who are making money at the neighborhoods expense. Travis must be one of the bar owners!

    • the bars pay more in taxes than u do

      • I would hope the Bars pay more in taxes than a single citizen as bars create more garbage, have often unregulated noise restrictions, require more police attention, and use up more public parking than one woman in her own home. I seriously doubt the college students enjoying the services of the bars and creating the need for extra garbage pick up, police patrols and parking spaces are paying the taxes that pay for those services.

  5. Seriously??? These bars have been around for YEARS! And don’t get me started on how long Tulane students have been being rowdy??? Long before uptown became the posh swanky place to live! Travel up Hillary a couple of blocks(Like around the cemetery) or even on right across St Charles… Focus your energy on that. There are killings and robberies happening every night in this city every night and you are worried about college kids and loud music. You bought your houses knowing there was a college around the corner and bars down the street!

    • Get a life-

      Agreed. Phillips has been around for over half a century and I believe Bruno’s opened close to 80 years ago. It’s great to see sustainable economic development along Maple. If noise was going to be an issue, I would suggest not living next to bar.

    • Really? That’s your argument? If you focus on something else that is much worse this thing next door won’t seem so bad? These bars have been around for years, except for the new ones, of course. The ones which do not try to do business the right way and allow excesses despite warnings never seem to prevail.

      Most college kids are just fine. A few are problems and it was ever thus. If you’re going to run a bar, you have to decide which kind you want. The neighbors need exactly the level of peace and security they’ve always needed and that won’t change if you decide to lower standards at your bar.

    • The area around maple is not “posh” or “swanky” which would be a more appropriate classification for some areas on the opposite side of broadway. And yes, undergrads have been rowdy but there is a huge difference between having fun and being rude. Its not that hard to go out an have a good time without being rude. Normal, respectful people do this every week. If you want to be treated as adults act as adults. Show some respect and you will be given respect.

  6. I hope they mean ID at point of sale for credit card purchases/tabs. IDing at the door and for every. single. transaction. even paid with cash is insanity. Almost no point in having a doorman. These bars have been around forever, but obviously Rocco’s is getting to be a bit out of control, so I don’t mind the rules.

    And to Patrick, good luck kicking their “higher education butts” out. Whatever that means.

  7. Don’t think I ever defended underage drinking or the ability of TU undergrads to raise hell.

    What is unfair is to create specific rules for individual businesses. If they were serving minors- prosecute them for that! Laws that are already on the books probably could take care of these problems.

    Don’t go creating silly rules that won’t be enforced and then expect the problem to resolve itself. It is all political grandstanding.

  8. I live a few blocks from the corner of Hillary and Maple. I doubt anyone who is complaining lives anywhere near the area. I have never encountered any issues of noise trash etc. I frequent Bruno’s regularly and am always ID’d so know for a FACT they do a damn good job making sure underage drinkers are not allowed in. I am way over 21 and have been turned away bc I didnt have my ID on me. If you dont like living by a bar, you should not have bought a house near an established bar. I am sure the one’s complaining are renters. They are most likely hypocrites as well, as I am sure they like the convenience of being able to walk and eat and drink at Bruno’s as well. Go find something else to complain about….

  9. I agree with what TAR said.

    It’s unbelievable how wrong the media is. For example, the so called “home video” that made it look like Bourbon Street is a ridiculous couple that has been doing everything they can to shut down the bars on Maple for a while now. As you see in the video, there is a cop car with it’s lights on, and people acting rowdy. But in reality, that couple complained about the noise, the cops came out (and they didn’t do anything because the music wasn’t above the specific wattage), and they started video tapping to make it look like it was a “crazy and wild” night. They also we’re harassing the patrons of Rocco’s and shoving their camera in their faces. Of course, ANYONE would get “rowdy” if someone did that to them.

    If anyone should be complaining about trash, it should be the businesses around those 4 bars because they are the direct neighbors. Clearly, they aren’t complaining, because there isn’t any trash to find come morning. If there is any complaints from the businesses, the bars make sure to take care of it.

    PLUS, those bars are a lot of the reason that the Tulane and Loyola kids know about OTHER businesses on Maple Street. If it wasn’t for them, those small LOCALLY OWNED, business would have a lot less customers.

    • Hello NolaGirl,
      Wasn’t it you whose Mustang was totaled as it was parked on Hampson after a an underage Rocco’s patron came rolling around the corner and lost control? These bars are bad neighbors. They routinely serve underage, they routinely serve people that are visibly intoxicated. They scoff at existing noise ordinances. A large part of the problem has been a gross lack of enforcement of existing ordinances due to a police force that has, how shall I say, personal conflicts of interest. The enforcement against Rocco’s was way overdue. It was also a miracle considering how politically well connected the owners are. Message to Tulane undergrads, “Be nice or leave”.
      Mike

  10. I can see both sides of this argument, but I’m more pro-business, and I feel that the neighbors get out of control and self-righteous about their entitlement to absolute silence, etc. when they CHOSE to move into the neighborhood. But, I also think the these college students are rude as hell and need some lessons in politeness. The problem with these situations is that no one is willing to compromise. Rigid and fussy neighbors want nothing less than the total anihilation of the bar, while the bar owner doesn’t want to affect his own bottom line. It’s a shame that reasonable people can’t find a middle ground. A real shame, in my view.

    • CeeBee,
      When I moved to the neighborhood right after Katrina, Bruno’s was the only bar in operation. They were and have continued to be a good neighbor. They card at the door and are serious about not serving underage. They keep their doors closed so as to not offend the neighborhood with the noise that a bar might generate. They regularly pressure wash the sidewalk in front of their establishment. They have an employee that daily walks the neighborhood around the bar picking up trash from the night before. Of the four bars at Hillary and Maple, Bruno’s is the only one that appears to be determined to be a responsible operator. They also seem to be doing a fair amount of business.
      I have been called many names but, rigid and fussy are not some of them. Plain and simple, I do not believe it is not the right of a business to trash the neighborhood in which it exists. You seem to disagree.
      Mike

  11. Why can’t you Tulane student just pick up after yourself. The bags and bags of garbage I pick up every week is rediculous.

  12. Week after week, year after year, I have been one of the unlucky residents who has been set the odious task of cleaning up beer bottles, cigarette butts, broken glass, half eaten food, cans, fast food bags, gum wrappers, empty to- go cups other random and sundry bags of garbage thrown to the ground without thought. I have over my years here in NOLA woken to the blaring horns of vehicles that can not drive down my street due to the constriction caused by illegally parked cars, had multiple incidents of damage to my own vehicle by careless or drunk drivers and have, on occassion, called a person back to a steaming pile of poo their dog left on my lawn. I think the issues here extend far beyond loud music and underage drinking. The focus should be the lack of common courtesy the people patronizing ALL university area bars and neighborhoods lack for themselves their neighbors and eachother. If each and every person walking, driving, drinking, smoking, visitng and living in this area wether they be a buyer or renter showed a little bit more decency toward their fellow man and a bit more consideration towards this planet we share the uptown university area would be a better place.
    Thank you

  13. Hmmmm…..does an executive at WWL happen to live in close proximity?
    Do I feel a little media manipulation here?

  14. I live on Freret Street 2 doors down from the old Friar Tucks Bar…
    Can’t read + deal with all this, but my thanks and condolences go out all my fellow Uptown neighbors that have to deal with the horrific consequences of a “High School Bar” in you midst.

    When we built our new home, my wife and I knew we were moving next door to the “airport runway” and designed/built it to not only to take on 240++ winds, but also the noises from the “airport” that was Tucks.
    At first it worked out fine- have a problem call the owner- he find a solution/fix. We all tried to make it work; besides they were there first…
    But alcohol + kids = problems- The details are NOT worth going into, but they all culminated with the tragic shooting death of Errol Meeks.
    It makes me sick to even type about that, much less think about his loss and what his family now has to live with…
    There are no easy solutions to these complex issues, all I can suggest is if you have a problem with these nuisance bars SPEAK UP.
    We found most of the trouble was NOT caused by Tulane or Loyola kids (still was plenty), but came from the Suburbs Yuggies who drove Uptown to play all u can drink games + beer pong, + fight in street, sleep in the bushes then wake up in the morning demanding I make them breakfast+ puke/piss/litter/yell/scream and then punch their girlfriends face or holes our garden wall.
    You think it- they did it…
    The best suggestion I can give is to go here:
    http://www.shoppingcctv.com
    And install as many high rez cameras as possible, they are both very entertaining but also can be used in a court of law…
    http://www.abc26.com/news/local/wgno-story-freret-graffiti,0,2187198.story
    AB

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