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Saturday, October 25, 2014

New and expanding Silver Lake restaurants and bars have residents worried

The future home of Bedouin (left); Black Cat (right) plans to add a private dining room

The future home of Bedouin (left); Black Cat (right) soft opening pictured in 2012

SILVER LAKE — Plans for a new cafe on Bellevue Avenue and the addition of a new dining room at the Black Cat on Sunset Boulevard have raised concern about a decrease in street parking and an increase in noise and congestion in the  surrounding neighborhoods.

In the south end of Silver Lake, residents have raised concerns about Bedouin, a proposed cafe that would serve alcohol and stay open late in middle of what is now primarily a residential area.  A resident named Nicole who lives near the proposed cafe at the corner of Bellevue Avenue and London Street said her section of Silver Lake is quiet and sleepy, and she wants to keep it that way.

“This is not a party neighborhood with people walking around and being loud outside,” she said in an email of her neighborhood. “I am sure that 16 tables outdoors would echo and keep babies up crying, dogs barking, and people awake.  This is not fair; we did not rent our apartment on Sunset Boulevard or Hollywood Boulevard.  We chose our street because it was quiet and secluded away from businesses.”

On Wednesday night, the Silver Lake Neighborhood Council’s Governing Board will hold a special meeting to review the Bedouin’s request that would allow it to convert the corner office building into a cafe and serve alcohol. Click here for meeting details.

Meanwhile, on Sunset Boulevard,  the owners of the Black Cat have generated some opposition by seeking city permission to serve alcoholic drinks in a new a 22-seat private dining room that would be constructed within the existing building.  A Planning Department official will also consider a “deemed-to-be approved” permit that would allow alcohol to be served in conjunction with dancing and live entertainment until 2 a.m.   The city’s Planning Department has scheduled a Sept. 2 public hearing to review the request and seek the public’s opinion.

Julie Adler, who lives near the Black Cat, said the Sunset Junction area is already “over-saturated with bars and [liquor] licenses” and is worried about the potential impact on nearby residents and businesses.  “The trouble is, there is very little parking now,” she said in an email.  “How will it be with these business overrunning the area, especially at night?”

Black Cat owner Charlie Conrad notes that dancing and live entertainment have taken place in the building for nearly 50 years under a succession of gay bars. “All we are adding is an additional dining room,”  said Conrad.  “The live entertainment and dancing permits are the existing permitted uses for The Black Cat, which have been in place at this address since the sixties.”

In fact, Conrad said, the Black Cat is seeking a maximum occupancy of 131 instead of the 193-person limit included in a previous permit.

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44 comments

  1. Julie Adler, who lives near the Black Cat, said the Sunset Junction area is already “over-saturated with bars and [liquor] licenses” and is worried about the potential impact on nearby residents and businesses. “The trouble is, there is very little parking now,” she said in an email. “How will it be with these business overrunning the area, especially at night?”

    You live in the 2nd largest city in the US! In one of the most dense areas of the State/Country! Why would you live near the Junction if you didn’t want nightlife/shit to do? STOP DRUMMING UP FAKE NEWS EASTSIDER! Why don’t you do a story on the people who drive from Riverside just to have coffee at Intelligentsia? Or how the Junction is loosing business because there isn’t enough parking? Why don’t people take Metro? Why don’t people ride bikes there? WHY WHY WHY WHY WHY PARKING CARS PARKING PARKING PARKING SHUT UP

    • Echo Park Resident

      SERIOUSLY. Waaa waaa too many bars! Too many restaurants! Too many things to do! If you don’t like nightlife or the bar scene, why on earth would you move to Silver Lake? It’s not like the area just recently became a place where younger crowds/more active crowds have set up shop. This is like moving to Century City and complaining that there are too many skyscrapers.

      If you can’t stand living within walking distance to a place that might be open past 10pm, might I suggest moving to Simi Valley?

      • It does boggle the mind when you consider that this establishment has been a bar for decades up until only a few years ago when it underwent a management change. Since then, the space has only been half-used, so basically the owners are asking the city to allow them to change the use for the half they’ve not used until now that used to be part of the old bar.

        Honestly, you’d think with the way people complained that someone just dropped a ton of bars down into a neighborhood that previously had none. If you don’t want to live in the heart of Silverlake, lord knows you can sell and get a lot more for your money in much quieter parts of town, like Arleta, or Pomona, or, heck, Santa Clarita.

      • Lives at the junction

        @ Echo Park Resident

        <3 <3 <3 Amen!

    • This is not the east sider drumming up this fake news – there are classic “not in my neighborhood” haters drumming this up.

      This is a GREAT project for the community (that i live in) i CANNOT WAIT to go here! Thank you SOMEBODY for having a great idea for that space and trying to do something in the neighborhood!

      Thank you for trying to make the community a better place to live!

      • YESSS!!! NIMBY’s just need a reason to complain. Let’s develop Los Angeles and have a great city become even greater!

        • Hi Billy,

          I am not a NIMBY, i’ve never even been to a neighborhood meeting or spoken at City Hall up until now. I keep to myself, lived in a secluded area of Hawaii to the major ghettos of Oakland. I want you to visit this corner and take a look at what goes on there, and then get back to me. It’s about respect and 320 of the neighbors within 600 ft signed a petition saying that they do not want the cafe to serve beer/wine and extend their hours. We welcome a cafe. simple.

    • What everyone is missing is that sunset junction was half dead just 10 years ago so parking was never an issue when the gay bars operated there. You do realize that the people living nearby, for the most part, don’t have off street parking. So they suffer from the new hippiness of that area. I’ve got the parking gene so I don’t give a crap, but cut the residents a break already. Instead of encouraging people that want a livable neighborhood, to move to similar valley why don’t all the newly minted hipsters move to sf or ny, or even Hollywood?

      • Completely agree. If your brightest business idea is to sell gallons of alcohol to Millennials then take your sleazy opportunism to Miami Beach, So. Padre Island, or Cabo where the locals are inured to the drunk driving, assaults, rape, vomiting, balcony diving, sex on the beach and seediness that goes with it. The urge to turn Silver Lake into Ibiza, our reservoir into a swim beach, plant a bar on every corner, convert every home into a short term rental is about 6,000 miles wide of the mark.

    • I must point out the big lie told by Charlie Conrad, suggesting that as much or more drinking and dancing has gone on at that location for 50 years. LIE!

      In fact, the old Black Cat was a fraction of the size of the current one. Conrad knowingly fails to mention that they tripled the size of the location when they merged it a few years ago with the longtime laundromat next door to make the current gastropub. The old Black Cat was not a dance place, although surely a couple-few people would dance once in and while. But there was not space in there for a lot of dancing. Still, Conrad lies about it. If he feels he needs to lie, you better wonder why, and you better wonder whether you ought to believe anything he says.

      As for the comments to the effect of, “If you don’t want clubs and alcohol all over the place and until the wee hours, why did you move to Silver Lake,” Well, sorry, that’s just plain stupid — and the sign of someone who just arrived and knows nothing. I’ll bet if you asked you would learn that Julie Adler has lived in Silver Lake a long time. This massive and sudden proliferation of bars and late night drinking establishments and clubs is a VERY recent development, and running poorly checked and basically out of control.

      That is, until very recently, you would have been asking, “If you want bars and clubs until late at night, why would you move to Silver Lake.” And from that, I have to ask: If Silver Lake is such a great place to move and live, then why would you want to change it into something completely different, no resemblance to the Bohemian and extraordinarily diverse neighborhood that got so much attention that attracted you in the first place?

      That is, lots and lots of late night bars and clubs and drinking establishments is NOT what people moved here for. The kind of comments here are those of newcomers who will certainly also be moving on before you know it, just party hard for a little while, then go elsewhere, leaving a ruined neighborhood in their wake.

      • Carsmakepeoplestupid

        I danced in Le Barcito (the former drag bar) with hundreds of others fueled by alcohol until 2am before it closed in 2011. If you don’t want to live in a CITY, then don’t live in a CITY!

    • Please get your facts straight—before there was even a spackle of Sunset Junction business–there have been HOMES…yes, people living their lives in their RESIDENCES….the burst of Sunset Junction is DUE in large part to those very people who have been living, working, creating the business in that area…so PLEASE I’m certain you have advise for your community–your neighbors & the folks who close to you… The residents of Sunset Junction know all to well what is BEST for their community..Hey, why don’t you give everyone your address—and let’s look into the the feasibility of nightclubs, bars & restaurants–sounds like you would LOVE THAT!!!

  2. I can’t believe people still whine about places on sunset blvd expanding. Its one of the most iconic streets in the country…. get over it.

    If you would like to have ample parking move to the valley where it is super quiet and you can park a bus anywhere.

  3. Yikes, that part of Bellevue is totally sleepy and residential. A little neighborhood cafe might be nice, but I can see why the neighbors are opposed to a restaurant serving alcohol that stays open until 2am. That’s almost like having a bar on your corner.

    This seems like a no-go.

    • It is residential…but it is also right by the 101. So I can’t say if it is all that sleepy. Plus there are a couple of corner stores / bodegas right at the same intersection.
      And having people out on the street later at night is actually a good safety feature – more eyes on the street, less temptation for mischief.

      • Right off the 101? You mean the Silver Lake exit that’s a half a mile away or the Vermont exit that’s over a mile away?

        And what mischief? The area talked about is already rather safe.

        All these transplants wanted these changes and now they’re complaining about it after folks who’d been around for decades were priced out. Tough cookies, you can’t have it both ways.

        • Echo Park Resident

          If the area is so safe, why is every Eastsider article about Virgil Village/South of Sunset filled with commenters asking for a solution to the tagging and gang issues?

        • No, we (everyone living in reality and not in your sophomoric doucheland) mean the freeway itself, which is one block away.

          • Carsmakepeoplestupid

            The freeway delivers 24-hour white noise…not quiet. But oh yeah, anything even if it’s harmful in connection with the automobile is ok. Dumb NIMBY!

      • Hi Ryan,

        there is ONE local LATINO grocery store that is open until 9pm. THATS it, nothing else operates there. check your facts!!!

    • i am not the owner or even a friend of the owner of the new place on bellevue. but from what i understand, it’s not a full alcohol license they’re applying for – it’s a beer & wine license. and they’re not proposing being open til 2 like a bar, but staying open til 10 or 11 like a restaurant. (again, this is my limited understanding of the issue – perhaps someone with more authority can chime in.)

      i encourage all those interested in the issue to attend the meeting tomorrow (wednesday 8/13) night. but if these things i’ve heard are correct, it sounds like an excellent addition to the neighborhood.

      we live in a thriving, central neighborhood of a very populous city: when did silver lake get so reactionary/prudish?

      • ALAGGGGHU AKGRRRBARR

        We don’t need this pretencious hipster bvllshit coffee/bar in our neighborhood, as it is it’s already hard to park around here, this is an unfair proposal for a business in this area, our neighborhood is eerily quiet despite the low hum of the 101, the loudest thing you can hear at night are the dogs that bark when someone walks by them, imagine all these dogs barking constantly to drunken fashion victims from 7am to 12am, the bad loud music I’m sure they’re gonna play (just look at the actor dude’s website, he’s got awful cheesie taste, yes the owner), the drunk drivers and crime, yes crime, rich drunk white people attract muggers like sh1t attract flyes, fights, loud arguments, overpriced bvllshit nobody wants around here, come on cheesie dude, you should open a bike shop, a hardware store or a piñata store around here, not kidding at all.

        • Please go to therapy or at least adjust your meds, they are making you crazy.

        • Carsmakepeoplestupid

          Clean out your garage!

        • Well aren’t you a barrel of joy! If you are so wise and smart, why don’t you buy the place from the owner and open up a pinata’ shop you racist prick! At least this owner is bringing commerce and business to the neighborhood while you sit on your ass complaining. He actually works for a living and is investing in the place. He owns it!! Let me guess, you must be a broke hipster kid angry that the world didn’t give his punk rock band a chance to play at Los Globos, so you make it a point to try and ruin other peoples businesses who work hard for what they have rather than some entitled life you seem to think you deserve. Wake up! World doesn’t revolve around you. Also, learn take a english class, learn to write and then maybe someone on here will take you seriously.

          • @billy,

            racist? he is from a 3rd world country so yes, english is not his first language, are you against that too, coming from somewhere other than the US?

            there is a piñata shop on Hoover and it does fine, that’s what our neighbors use at their parties on the weekends, this is a LATINO area, corn guy, produce truck, $1 ice cream truck with misspelled words, are you going to criticize everyone that is LATINO now for now using correct grammar? you should be ashamed of yourself. no wonder you are most likely single and want this bar to happen so just by chance you will get laid! hahahah

    • FYI the cafe is requesting beer and wine, not liquor and the proposed hours are:

      ● Monday-Wednesday 7am – 11pm
      ● Thursday-Saturday 7am – 12am
      ● Sunday 8am – 10pm

      hardly raging bar hours.

  4. Living in this neighborhood for almost 8 years, these issues people bring up always puzzle me. LA is the 2nd largest city in the US, we are a world class city…in one of the coolest neighborhoods in the city. All these projects are great for our neighborhood. Sure, I’ve noticed there is zero parking in the junction area esp in the last 3 months. That is why I walk, being able to walk is one of the reasons i chose SL. If you are looking for a quite neighborhood you shouldn’t be living in the middle of LA.

    • Ah, walking…. what is that?

      Agreed – and it’s part of why I live in this hood too. Love to walk – even sold the spare car because it was more hassle than it’s worth and it’s easier to be a low-car household.

  5. I live up the street on Hyperion Ave. I am happy to see the Black Cat succeed. This is Silver Lake and we are all here because of its great street life. You want to see a busy street life, try 6th St in Korea Town. Sunset Junction is nowhere close to that neighborhood in density. Bring on the development, bring on more housing options. I guess if you don’t like it you may consider going to the valley.

  6. Streets are public. Living on a certain street does not guarantee you street parking, Too many folks use their garage for storage/extra space and then scream and wail, “There’s no street parking!” “Too many bars!”. There have been bars, restaurants and formerly sex clubs in Silverlake forever. Get over it. Remember the “no cruising” signs on Griffith Park blvd.?

  7. I’m not sure why there’s such a fuss about this proposed cafe. After all, Bedouins are a nomadic people, so the Bedouin cafe will probably change locations after a few months.

  8. If you don’t like the change, move to the suburbs! We live in a great city that is starting to build ways for people to walk and support local businesses. Bedouin is a great example. Cafe with coffee, beer and wine!! What’s the fuss about? Most major cities have been doing this concept for decades! Hell, Starbucks and Chipolte serve beer and wine. The neighborhood has a weird stigma about such things! I’m looking forward to this place. I live right around the corner. What’s funny is people are complaining about parking, every house next to this place has a driveway and garage for those cars. Why should the cafe owner have to suffer because neighbors need more space? Can’t wait. Bring it Nomads!

  9. The Black Cat and the Bedouin Cafe are not analogous situations, I’m not sure why they are being grouped together. Black Cat is located in a commercial zone on a main thoroughfare, there should really be no question about whether it is allowed to expand. . The proposed Bedouin Cafe, however, is located in a largely residential area and will have a large patio area. It will most likely have an impact on the surrounding neighborhood. Surely some compromise can be reached with regards to Bedouin – e.g. it operates as a cafe but no alcohol permit – plenty of cafes flourish without serving alcohol.

    • Please check the address of Bedouin on Zimas. It’s in a pink commercial zone because the DNA of the neighborhood is not rooted in the automobile it was formed around transit, particularly streetcars. Having businesses in close proximity with residential while still providing a segregated land use pattern is an LA innovation. It creates an urban area that is walkable but not overly dense and busy like New York and Paris was at the time of LA’s ascension. SL is a multi-modal neighborhood as is much of Central LA where cars are permitted but transit is key to moving large masses of people. The balance was disrupted by the overtake of our cities by the oil, auto and rubber industries. Now you’re addicted to your car, the oil that fires it on the rubber tires that move it. Mission accomplished. Most of LA suffers because it was NEVER meant to be a car-only city, hence why you don’t have parking.

    • Have you been to the meetings? The owner has compromised his hours and half his patio space. The NIMBY’s of the neighborhood don’t even give the guy a chance to talk. He’s actually very approachable. He talks to all his neighbors and listens to their concerns. And he owns the building!! He’s not some schmuck coming in with some bar. It’s a cafe. I can’t wait to be able to work in a actual cafe that has AC, cool quite environment and quality food and drink.

      • If the hours were compromised, they should have been addressed as so at City Hall this tuesday, Sept 2nd, WHICH HE DID NOT. the hours STAND, he was quiet as a mouse and wants to stay open til 12:30am in this quiet area. He can talk a good game, but at the ZA meeting, he did not change his hours.

  10. FYI, last night the Silver Lake Neighborhood Council voted to support Bedoin’s application for beer and wine service at the proposed cafe on Bellevue Ave. The space is zoned commercial and ‘by-right’ the owner can open a cafe or similar business. The beer and wine permit is a conditional use permit that requires approval by the city and a license from the Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control.

    • Thanks for reporting results, Anthony. I couldn’t make the meeting, but I’m proud of my neighbors for not flipping out about this–like the Echo Parkers did with Fix when they asked for a permit to serve beer and wine in addition to coffee.

      Who knows if this place will be any good, but the concept isn’t so outrageous that it deserves to be smothered in the cradle at the permitting stage.

  11. All of the intolerant trolling of locals concerned with the development of commercial enterprises beside their homes is lame. Silver Lake is not Manhattan. For those of you shouting at Silver Lake residents to move to Simi Valley if they don’t want drunks in their yard — it’s not that basic. If they wanted a lot of nightlife on their corner they would have moved to DTLA. Silver Lake is a diverse residential area. There are some commercial districts where businesses are expanding their services for drunks. There are also quiet Silver Lake neighborhoods where dealing with noisy jerks after work hours is not what they signed up for. Some people don’t want to sleep and live on top of where other people shit and eat. Why is that so hard to differentiate?

  12. Bellevue Ave Resident

    I live very close to the proposed new Bedouin Cup (“BC”) and I’m actively working with my neighbors, and with the business owner, to come up with a solution that works for everyone. There are many facts that are mis-stated in the comments, and I’d like to clear them up.

    First, I want to be clear about my personal position. I have lived here for over 5 years. I personally think that an affordable breakfast/lunch café (with entrees $8 – $10) would be great! But I prefer no liquor license (not even beer & wine), and prefer that the BC be required to close by 5p (when parking starts to fill up.) I work from home, my living room windows face Bellevue Ave. in the direction of the proposed “café”. I am very familiar with the traffic patterns along Bellevue Ave, and the parking.

    THE FACTS… with links to sources:

    [1] SETTING A PRECEDENT:
    Whatever exceptions are permitted for BC is setting a precedent. There are about 10 lots surrounding this location that are zoned C1 (commercial), but they are currently either vacant or used as residential. So, if we allow a restaurant to come in, stay open until 12a, serve beer/wine but no dinner entrees (more on that, below)… we are setting a precedent and our lovely, quiet neighborhood could end up being over-run by a loud, obnoxious night-life scene.

    [2] CLOSING AT 11P NOT GOOD ENOUGH; WANTS TO CLOSE LATER.
    The BC is already able to stay open until 11p without any variance, per the current zoning. The owner is asking to stay open until 12am Thurs-Sat. The hours of operation being requested are: Mon-Wed, 7a to 11p; Thu-Sat 7a to 12a; Sun 8a – 10p.

    [Source: Agenda for Silver Lake Neighborhood Council meeting held 8/13/2014: Go to this site and click on “SPECIAL Governing Board Meeting Agenda*” SITE: http://silverlakenc.org/2014/08/11/special-governing-board-meeting-agenda-august-13-2014/

    [3] SEATING CLARIFICATION: The BC is asking to have 24 seats inside, and 16 seats on their outdoor patio…. That’s SEATS, not tables. Big difference! Sixteen SEATS on the patio would be 4 tables of 4 people each. (One of the comments here referred, incorrectly, to “16 tables”) [Same source as above, in #2.]

    [4] NO DINNER ENTREES, JUST BEER, WINE AND “LIGHT SNACKS”:
    Here is a direct quote from an email sent by the owner to some of us in the neighborhood recently: “We will be providing breakfast and lunch and evening snacks. We’d like to be open for people who do want to walk to is in the evening to enjoy a glass of wine after a days work to be able too.”

    So this is a “Café” that doesn’t plan to serve dinner entrees, but will serve beer and wine, and wants to stay open until midnight. That sounds to me like something altogether different than a neighborhood friendly café trying to attract the local residents to walk to.

    [5] APARTMENTS WITHIN 15 FEET OF RESTAURANT AND PATIO:
    The back of the BC is literally about 10-15 feet away from the front doors of apartments in a small 2-story apartment building that is on the adjoining lot. The patio is about 15-20 feet away. The 2nd story front doors of those apartments overlook the patio. Families live in some of those units. [Source: Personal observation, and easily visible on Google Maps Street View]

    I hope this helps people understand more of the issues here. For those who live near the proposed Bedouin’s Cup location – I encourage you to attend the Sept. 2nd Public Hearing meeting and/or to send in a letter with your ideas and concerns:

    MEETING- Tuesday 9/2 starting at 9a:
    LA City Hall
    200 N Spring St Room 1020
    (Enter from Main St)
    LA, CA 90012
    Case # ZA 2014-1626(CUB)(CU)
    CEQA # ENV 2014-1627-CE

    Applicant (business owner): Mousa Kraish

    SEND LETTERS TO:
    ATTN: MICHAEL O’BRIEN
    LA City Planning Dept
    Office of Zoning Administration
    200 N Spring St, Room 763
    Los Angeles, CA 90012

    • That was great. Thank you for the info. Few things you should clear up. I actually live across the street. The apartment building behind the space DOES NOT look into the patio and is a bit further than the 15-20ft you described. The owner is also covering the patio to give customers shade.

      He also amended his hours. I mean, give the guy a break. If you’ve been to any of the meetings you’d see time and time he would listen patiently as people called him names and attacked him and he’d still male compromises. How can we NOT want to work with the guy. And peoples complaint about noise? How come no one is starting a protest about the house 4 doors down from the space where that band practices for hours in a non sound proofed garage?!?! I know for a fact that this building was sound proofed when it was redone. Give the guy a chance. If it is a bar, then we can protest! By the way, his application is for a cafe, where kids can go. What bar would allow children?

  13. I live a few houses from the proposed Bedouin cafe/bar. I have lived here for over 10 years. My husband lived in the area since elementary. We are in our late 30’s. My neighbor across from us has lived here for 25 years. My neighbor at the end of the street across from us has also lived here for years. My husband and I own our house and we are not renting. We have the american dream of actually being able to pay our house in our lifetime and we are in our 30’s. Not rich but hard working. Yet we are suppose to just pack our stuff and move to the valley or some suburb because we are fighting alcohol for the 2 children that will be inheriting our home in the future. I am not one of the many just complaining. For my children I am gettting signatures to oppose alcohol a few feet from my house. No one from that business notified us. We had to learn from another concerned resident of the neighborhood. The business owner lives by dodger stadium please do not mistake his owning the property from him residing in it. we have tried to attend every meeting no matter how last minute but we have little kids that go to bed at 8. It has not been easy. We are not oppose to a proper business at that location. We are stating help us find parking resolutions for those that need it. And let your food speak for itself. Coffee can be the new alcohol. People travel far to get coffee now a days. Now while it should not be a big deal to serve a little wine or beer. Not everyone can handle their liquor. Its a cul de sac. Kids bike down their driveways and it is a safe haven for them. Now stranger danger and watch out for cars needs to be implemented. Who is looking out for the long term residents? Who is looking out for the many children that will lose their safe haven? Yes we are not the targeted demographic in this picture yet we are the most affected. Just so we can have another place that can serve alcohol at late hours. hopefully its on the log at the silverlake council meeting where he mentioned maybe he should have just oppened a weed dispensary and not a cafe/bar. That was just hours ago. That might make some people happy also.just dont forget the kids that live a few feet from that establishment.

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