Friday, June 22, 2001

Bars could lose liquor
permits after noise
complaints, petition

By Leila Fujimori

The city Liquor Commission put a Moiliili karaoke bar and a Hawaii Kai sports bar on three-month probation for noise complaints.

Cafe Anasia and The Shack in Hawaii Kai faced the possibility of not having their liquor licenses renewed.

"When people become adamant about it (noise), we try to address it," said Wallace Weatherwax, commission administrator. He said he has not noticed a rise in the number of petitions for noise.

About eight area residents testified against karaoke bar Cafe Anasia on South Beretania Street at yesterday's hearing. The business had received 10 noise complaints since July, said Duane Pang, deputy corporation counsel.

Neighbors complained of loud talking as late as 2:30 a.m., bottles and cans tossed in their yards, and people urinating on the sidewalks.

Commissioners questioned whether those testifying were sure the violators were patrons of Cafe Anasia. A karaoke business, which has no liquor license but allows patrons to bring in their own liquor, is next door to Cafe Anasia.

Commissioner Chu Lan Kwock noted that many of 142 signatories to a petition did not live near the cafe. She suggested that neighbors may be more upset about having to jockey for street parking with customers than they are about noise problems.

Despite 236 checks in the last two years by liquor commission investigators, the karaoke bar has never been cited for noise problems, said investigator Kerry Shannon.

Since it opened in 1997, Cafe Anasia has received two citations, which were for late filing of gross sales receipts.

Owner Chauvonthi Luna said she has responded to complaints by hiring a doorman to check exiting customers for bottles. Waitresses remind customers to be mindful of the neighbors. She has also posted signs encouraging use of 40 parking stalls available in an adjacent building.

Meanwhile, two Hawaii Kai residents complained of rowdiness and swearing coming from The Shack during sporting events.

The bar, located on the water's edge in the Hawaii Kai Shopping Center, has a satellite dish, and one television outside and 12 inside. One man complained the drinking and noise begins as early as 9 a.m. on Sundays.

Resident Judith MacKenzie pointed out the bar is 332 feet away from the nearest house and "sound travels over the water very readily." The bar has between 100 and 150 people on busy nights and allows patrons on the lanai until 10 p.m.

"She's totally justified" in complaining, said Gary Clair, a general partner of The Shack who flew in from Los Angeles. "But we weren't aware it was such a major problem."

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