Dublin resident complains of noise from gay bar’s continuous Celine Dion and Whitney Houston music


Left: Whitney Houston, Right: Celine Dion, tags: dublin gay - CC

A resident living next to a popular Dublin gay bar has informed the court that the loud music from the venue, including booming club music and songs by Whitney Houston and Celine Dion, severely disrupted his sleep.

Tommy Bergin and his wife, residents of an apartment above Street 66 bar on Parliament Street, objected to the bar’s music, singing, and dancing licenses. The case was heard by Judge Marie Quirke in Dublin District Court, who oversees public bars in the city.

Noise reduction for coexistence

The judge observed that, according to expert witnesses, the building wasn’t suitable for housing both apartments and a late-night venue.

The judge decided to renew the licenses, provided that the music levels were reduced by ten decibels. She expressed her belief that there was no solid proof that this would negatively impact the business. Both parties were also instructed to have meetings every four months.

In a case described as “unfortunate,” she stated on Thursday that the Bergins deserved a quiet environment. At the same time, she recognized that Siobhan Conmy, the bar’s owner, had purchased the venue with genuine intentions and had promised to adhere to all required measures.

The judge did not alter the bar’s special permission to stay open late on weekends.

In 2021, a Dublin City Council staff member, Mr. Bergin, and his wife, Mai, moved into an apartment. As the COVID measures were relaxed in early 2022, they started having a problem. The music from the nearby bar suddenly got so loud that Mr. Bergin compared it to an earthquake, much louder than it used to be.

Despite using noise-canceling headphones and turning his television to total volume, he claimed that the resonating tones of Celine Dion and Whitney Houston from the nearby bar were persistently audible, disrupting his peaceful sleep.

In response to his barrister, Conor Duff’s queries, he described how the relentless, club-style music, replete with the melodies of Whitney Houston and Celine Dion, echoed every night, significantly disrupting his sleep cycle. Such was the extent of disturbance that he found it impossible to fall asleep before 3 am, leaving him with six hours before he had to report for work.

The bar is operational from midnight Monday to Thursday until 3 am on weekends.

When asked about the music volume, his wife, Mai, told the court about their home’s walls shaking due to the force of it. She could even list the typical songs from the bar’s playlist. The playlist was heavily filled with tracks from Taylor Swift and Celine Dion, a late-night rendition of ‘Toxic’ by Britney Spears, and power-packed performances by Whitney Houston and ‘Psycho Killer.’

Mrs. Bergin explained that nights typically concluded with Ike and Tina Turner’s rendition of Proud Mary. She described the experience as similar to being inside a nightclub, with walls vibrating due to the loud music. Another resident who lived above the bar confirmed the escalated volume. He was forced to alter his work schedule to night shifts, enabling him to sleep during the day.

In the preliminary stages of the court case, both sides were asked to bring in sound specialists for a combined evaluation. Interestingly, they disagreed about how much the noise level should be lowered – a difference of just two decibels.

Audio specialist Diarmuid Keaney suggested lowering the bar’s maximum volume from 88 to 80 decibels, nearly half the sound levels. Contrastingly, Ted Dalton, another sound expert consulting for Mr. Bergin, proposed the front bar volume to be 78 decibels and 86 decibels in the back.

Siobhan Conmy, the owner of the bar, formerly the Front Lounge until 2016, described her place as an enjoyable venue that plays popular music. Since 1995, it has had the vibe characteristic of an LGBT bar. She admitted to her lawyer, Dorothy Collins, that she had spent €52,000 on renovations.

In court, it was reported that she had removed six bass speakers from the bar, added air conditioning to keep doors and windows shut, and improved the soundproofing. Judge Quirke decreed that the music volume should not exceed the limit Mr Bergin’s expert witness suggested.

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