No More DJs at the Attic

That is, if one particular NIMBY neighbor has his or her way.  The Attic has endured as one of the best places in the Mission to get a cheap drink and sweat the night away while dancing to frenetic DJs who know their shit.  It’s also one of the best places to get so hammered that you black out and wake up the next morning in a room full of exquisite hats, but that’s a story for another time.

Unfortunately, one neighbor is so fed up with the hot tunes that he is resorting to a lawsuit in order to squelch all the fun.  He is suing the Attic for personal damages because he can’t sleep at night, focusing on the technicality that the bar is not allowed to play any music since it doesn’t have a cabaret license.   Without a cabaret license, the Attic is on the hook for a $1000 fine should the cops deign to show up for a noise complaint. 

Since it doesn’t appear that an amicable solution can be reached without the NIMBY in question moving out of the Mission to quieter digs (ask Ike’s about that one), it seems that only a legal battle will ultimately determine the fate of DJs at the Attic.

So, should you get the opportunity, contribute to the Attic legal defense fund by stopping by to swig some Racer 5.

[Photo by flatsol]


Indie Slash at the ATTIC tonight!!!

The Attic and Clooney’s: San Francisco’s Best Dives

Rock ‘n’ Roll Revolution Early Evening Rooftop Concert at 24th and Mission

72 Responses to “No More DJs at the Attic”

  1. Anon. says:

    This has been an on-and-off measure for a while. They did a brief hiatus in October as well.

    Of course, if you move in next to a bar that’s been doing this for years, what the hell do you expect?

    Myself, friends, room mates spend a lot of time here as it’s a block from our house. We DJ here from time to time and it’s a big part of our ‘community’… ‘neighborhood’ etc. We’re not the only ones judging by the heavy crowds on Thurday/Friday/Saturdays. It’s rather unjust that one asshole can ruin something for so many people.

    Sounds like kindergarten ethics to me. You don’t move into a new neighborhood and tell everyone to play by your rules.

    If I were this neighbor, seeing all the people whose good times are being ruined, I’d seriously be afraid of my identity coming out. Lest bricks begin sailing through my windows at 2am.

    • one says:

      you go all “sounds like kindergarten ethics to me…” about this guy, yet you insinuate throwing bricks through his window at 2am.

      I lovelovelove the smell of irony in the morning!

    • torpor says:

      I was with you until you recommended throwing a brick through the guy’s window. Don’t be just a big a douche as the NIMBY.

  2. I want to know more about these exquisite hats.

  3. jwz says:

    There’s no such thing as a “Cabaret” license, that was the old (1980s) name for what is now known as “Extended Hours Premises”, which is the license that lets one stay open after 2AM.

    If they are not allowed to have DJs, then the license they are missing is “Place of Entertainment”.

    Many bars dodge around their lack of “Place of Entertainment” by claiming that they don’t actually have DJs, but that instead they have bartenders who just happen to play CDs every now and then. That means that the person pressing play is not a “performer”.

    • olu says:

      back in the day – way back in the day- we had the same issue at Pow, and we ended up going to the board of supes and getting the permit. The argument that won the day was that DJs aren’t the same thing as live entertainment.

      something like that.

      having a hundred people @ BOS meeting doesn’t hurt your cause either…

    • torpor says:

      Frankly, i’d almost rather have the bartender play a well-chosed iPod playlist than some douchetard DJ with a god complex.

  4. Kevin says:

    I used to live in a tiny room right above the attic 4 years ago. Not only could I not sleep, it made me hate 80′s mash up more than anything in the world…. much less the drunk squeals of feathered haired hiptster girls.

  5. Josh says:

    The real solution is that if they do stop playing music, just have people show up on random days of the week at 12AM with boom boxes and blast that shit so he wakes up. Eventually he’ll get the message and either move, or kill himself.

    • Chunkafunk says:

      Great. Please have everyone leave their street address, too, and then he (and his annoyed neighbors) can return the favor.

      Where did all these entitled hipsters COME FROM? It’s like the Lower Haight 1996-style sprang a leak into the Mission that has yet to be plugged. High School without End, Amen.

      • torpor says:

        Amen, Chunk. It’s really ridiculous to read anything by any of these suburban transplant douches that were still suckling on mom’s teat back when the Mission ceased being a cool neighborhood .

  6. Mazzy says:

    My take is who was there first. If the bar has been playing music before a tenant moves in then it is the responsibility of the landlord or seller to divulge that there is loud music below these units. BUT if a bar started playing loud music after people lived there then then should sop. It always pissed me off when lofts started going up on 11th Street and the new dwellers hated the loud club scene. HEY it’s a music street. Landlords and sellers should state this upfront.

    • gg says:

      Actually, regarding the lofts that went up around 11th St in SOMA and people who hated the loud club scene, that wasn’t the new dwellers, it was the people who had been living in that neighborhood for 10+ years.

      I went to the BOS meetings on that one and was surprised, I thought it was the new loft residents, too, but it ends up the new people moved in BECAUSE of the club scene, they liked it. They came to the meeting to support the clubs.

      The complainers were the people who had moved in 10+ years earlier because it was cheap to live there. They did NOT like the club scene that had evolved but it’s always been a mixed use commercial area so who knows what delusions they had when they moved in. Maybe they figure they’re so special that the city should change the zoning of the entire neighborhood for them? The real kicker is that technically, many of the longterm residents had been living in commercial buildings illegally, the lofts being built actually legitimized residential use.

      Classic San Francisco NIMBY eat my cake and have it, too.

  7. Lionel Hutz says:

    The guy who filed suit (it’s a man, baby) is a royal drag. His name is Jonathan Joiner. He lives on the corner of Bartlett and 24th, above the liquor store. The suit is Jonathan Joiner v. Roger Howell, Case No. Case No. CGC-09-494039. (All of this information is available through the San Francisco Superior Court’s website.)

    He is an attorney ( with apparently nothing better to do than sue the Attic and who somehow convinced his boss to do just that. Evidently miffed by the bartenders’ cold reception (read paragraph 14 of his complaint) and the SFPD’s refusal to enforce his private war against the Attic (look at paragraphs 15 and 16 of his complaint), he decided that money was his best option.

    Bully tactics, in my humble opinion. You hear more noise coming from the Cuban cafe, the street performers at the 24th Street BART station, and the trapeze people than you can hear from the Attic. The guy is overly sensitive and money hungry.

  8. Sugar T. says:

    Attorneys Jonathan Joiner and Brian McMillan negotiate in the hallway of the SF Superior Court.

  9. [...] MissionMission reports that its’ a bar where you can black out and wake up to hats.  Oh Joy! Now,  MM reports, a  neighbor tired of the noise, is suing them. Filed Under: Today's Mission Tagged: missionmission , the attic This entry was written by Lydia Chávez, posted on at 9:14 am, filed under Today's Mission and tagged missionmission, the attic. Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post. Post a comment or leave a trackback: Trackback URL. « Sinking Cities [...]

  10. InTheKnow says:

    The Attic needs an Entertainment license, this is what allows bars and nightclubs to play amplified music. It is not the neighbors fault that the bar is not playing by the rules set forth by SF Entertainment Commission, go apply for the permit and stop your crying.

    • bobby fuller says:

      If this guy is so sensitive to noise, then why did he move to the corner of 24th and Bartlett in the first place? There are certainly quieter places to live, even in the same neighborhood! This looks like a money grab pure and simple.

      • piratesnack says:

        Every lawsuit is a money grab. That’s because in the vast majority of cases the only remedy the court can award is money damages.

        To play devil’s advocate, why isn’t it a “money grab” when the attic plays loud music to boost its sales? The Attic is not a charity. It has DJs to draw more patrons and sell more drinks. So why should the Attic be able to do something that annoys its neighbors purely to increase its sales? Maybe it should share some of that extra money with the neighbors it annoys by drawing larger crowds and making more noise.

      • Rod says:

        piratesnack, why are you pluralizing, ‘neighbors’, there is one ‘neighbor’ who is complaining. you don’t see how a frivolous lawsuit is more of a money-grab than running a small business and earning money from willing consumers?

      • bobby fuller says:

        Let me clarify my “money grab” statement. I don’t think this guy is really even bothered by the noise coming from the Attic at all. He lives on 24th and Bartlett. Busses roll by on the regular. There’s a BART station right there. There are lots of people on the street. There is always noise on that block. He did some sleuthing, found out the Attic might not have the proper permit, and then saw an opportunity he could exploit for some cold hard cash. He’s a lawyer and is playing the game lawyers play.

      • cami says:

        This is just ridiculous. The Attic has had DJs and played music for ages. They aren’t money grabbing, they are provided entertainment for San Franciscans who enjoy this city and what it has to offer. These people who live in the Mission – especially that close to bars and restaurants – have no right to complain about the noise. It was definitely already noisy at that location before they moved in, because it is a business area. If you want it to be super quiet, move to the burbs (that’s what people do when they either grow up, get boring, or want to go to bed early, duh!), or in Jonathan’s case, perhaps the Castro might suit him? Stop trying to turn SF into a suburb, it is a city, and we want it to continue to thrive with great dining, nightlife and entertainment.

      • Chunkafunk says:

        “These people who live in the Mission – especially that close to bars and restaurants – have no right to complain about the noise.”

        Uh, yeah, they do have a right. Look it up.

        “If you want it to be super quiet, move to the burbs (that’s what people do when they either grow up, get boring, or want to go to bed early, duh!), or in Jonathan’s case, perhaps the Castro might suit him?”

        Nice. So much wrong with this statement. You do know that the Mission has people of all stripes, not just twenty-two year old tweakers? Families, with kids, and other “boring” types. Working people who have real jobs that have early hours. Seniors. Or folks who didn’t just move here on their way somewhere else. But your last twist was just ducky. Put the gays into their ghetto, eh? No gays in the Mission, right, cami?

  11. Rod says:

    i just moved into a room where the windows face the East and the sunrise wakes me up, without fail, every morning. this is terrible and i’m entitled to live here without this kind of sleep deprivation. i’ve been here for almost a month and i’m not moving. i’m going to sue the Sun as well as the City for this terrible injustice, what’s happened to San Francisco??

  12. MrEricSir says:

    That’s it, from now on every time I hear a dog bark or a baby cry, I’m filing a lawsuit.

  13. piratesnack says:

    I’m a frequent patron of the Attic. But if in fact they do not have the license that is required to do have DJs, then it’s hard to have sympathy for them or animosity toward this guy. The city has (apparently) passed a law saying you have to have the license. It may be a stupid law (probably is). But if that is the case, the city should change the law. I can’t fault the guy for asserting rights the city has given him. The Attic should just get the license they need. Problem solved.

  14. Bad Neighbor says:

    that’s him. So if you see him on the street, tell him he’s a bad neighbor!

  15. piratesnack says:

    Rod. I pluralized “neighbors” because I believe it is likely that one could easily find more than one neighbor who is annoyed by a loud bar. There is only one neighbor who has filed a lawsuit, but my sentence did not refer to neighbors that filed lawsuits. It referred to neighbors that were annoyed.

    With respect to whether running a business in a manner that arguably creates a nuisance is more of a “money grab” than filing a “frivolous” lawsuit, nobody has established or even provided an argument that the lawsuit is frivolous. It might be. I don’t know. I think we all agree that it is not right to file frivolous lawsuits, but nobody has shown that this lawsuit is frivolous. You describe the Attic as running a small business to willing customers. I think that is great. I am all for that. But when a business’ efforts to make money create a public nuisance, then, yes, that is a “moneygrab” (though I would not choose that particular term).

    With that said, I’m not saying the Attic is a nuisance or a villain. I am a regular customer. I’m just saying the attacks on this neighbor seem a little silly and based on a myopic view of the dispute. If the lawsuit is frivolous, then the Attic will easily prevail.

    • Rod says:

      Jonathan, or piratesnack if you prefer: so, by this logic, every bar in town should shut down because there might be neighbors who are bothered but never file complaints . . .

      and come on now, we all know it’s frivolous BS. this is a loophole. somehow this law states that having a DJ selecting the music is ‘amplified’ and requires certain permits, but having a jukebox playing music on the same sound system doesn’t require a permit.

      • piratesnack says:

        I don’t think that is what I suggested at all. The choice is not between attic v. no attic. I was suggesting that, as a general principle, where a business imposes externalities on others in order to increase its profits, a reasonable solution is to compensate those harmed or annoyed. I think that is a principle that most in the Mission readily embrace. For example, most probably agree that B.P. should compensate those people harmed by the oil it is spilling into the Gulf. I’m not saying that is the solution in this instance. Nor have I suggested that any annoyed neighbor should have a veto. My point is merely that to spin this story as a curmudgeonly or mean-spirited neighbor against a benevolent local business (as some in this thread have) is a little silly. This is not Footloose.

        But I do agree with you that the law is likely foolish. Most liquor laws don’t make much sense and are in dire need of reconsideration. The fault there lies with the city or state, not with this neighbor.

      • Rod says:

        again, you are pluralizing as if some united contingent exists. otherS are not, as far as we know, affected by the externalities of this business. ONE person is affected by the externalities of this business, and if you stand on that corner it’s obvious that his claim is dubious at best. the Attic are running a bar, not spilling oil into the ocean.

    • Andy says:

      Well… frivolous and “douchebag” are two different things. In this instance, the attic is clearly not ‘up to code,’ but considering the noise from The Attic seems pretty minuscule from his point on the block, especially compared to other noise on the block it seems like he just sees an opportunity to fleece someone.

      Is this the ‘legal’ definition of ‘frivolous?’ I don’t know. But it fits the word douchebag pretty damn clear.

    • jimbeam says:

      If you look at the complaint, you’ll see that it’s based on the owner having a reasonable duty to the Plaintiff. I am not sure this is the case as the Plaintiff is not a customer. The Plaintiff lives in proximity to the club and we’d have to look at case law to see what a “reasonable duty” means in these circumstances, but it’s not the strongest argument.

      He’s also alleged injuries which are very, very difficult to quantify monetarily. It will be very difficult to prove he has actually been materially damaged by the Attic’s actions. If there’s no provable damage or no reasonable duty, then there is no case.

      As has also been suggested, there are rarely instances of specific performance in tort and the Plaintiff is likely looking for cash or to force the Attic out of business based on cash. The Plaintiff might have a stronger financial claim if he were able to show that the Attic’s illegal noise is keeping him from being able to sell his apartment.

      The lawsuit is frivolous if there is nowhere near any case law supporting the Plaintiff’s contention that the owner has a legal duty towards him or if there is no case law for damages being awarded in this kind of case for what the Plaintiff has claimed.

      He would also have to show that there is negligence in playing the music in the way the Attic is playing it without a license (which would be substantially supported by any citations the Attic has accrued).

  16. SFGooner says:

    He might want to consider moving back to Florence, Alabama. I’m sure things are quieter there.

  17. piratesnack says:

    Rod, it’s an analogy to illustrate what an externality is. Do you sincerely dispute that noise is an externality? I doubt that you do. And in illustrating what an externality is, I used the plural “others” because often externalities are imposed on multiple people. Your quibbling is petty. I mean, seriously, dude.

    • Rod says:

      so your argument is still that this affects multiple people who choose not to complain? the economics jargon and histrionics need some logic behind them . . . as far as is being reported, there is ONE person complaining here. until we hear any further, there is ONE person affected. if we want to make an exaggerated comparison, i think rather than an oil spill you could compare this to something like a man moving into an apartment in the heart of Bourbon street and then suing one particular bar down the street because he hears noise on Friday nights.

      • Chunkafunk says:

        Bourbon Streen in NOLA is zoned for its no-holds-barred revelry. And they have cops on horseback Genghis-ing folks out at the end of the night. 24th street is not similarly zoned.

        You can’t entertain the idea that multiple people might be bothered by thumping bass beats until 2AM? Why doesn’t the Attic install better soundproofing? Or CLOSE THE FREAKIN FRONT DOOR WHEN THE DJ IS ROCKIN’ THE TURNTABLES?

        I used to go to the Attic, too. Liked it. Liked the odd DJ night. But they didn’t blast at wake-the-dead levels like the do now.

        And all this “street justice” outing is pretty nasty. Like said above, if he has no standing, the suit will be tossed.

        The Attic makes money. They should make a profit, sure, but they should also not bomb the neighborhood with block rockin’ beats several times a week. They have options.

      • Rod says:

        ‘multiple people might’? is anyone even reading? again, i am contesting the fact that multiple people are bothered because so far only one is complaining. apologies to everyone for making them read me say this three times . . .

      • Andy says:


        After this guy started filing noise complaints against them in October they have turned off the speaker at the front door and keep the door closed. As a result, it is QUIET in front of the convenience store across the street (below his window).

        “Street Justice??” Our legal system was set up to make public all information relating to a civil suit. When one person sues another, it’s public knowledge, as it should be. Sooo… if you’re an asshole fucking with the community, you can’t be anonymous. When you walk down the street, everyone will know your PUBLIC business. That’s not ‘street justice,’ it’s fucking society.

      • jimbeam says:

        Dude, read my analysis of the actual suit above. He’s using a legal theory that is very, very weak in this circumstance in order to get $$$. This has nothing to do with “externalities”, other people complaining or anything like that.

  18. yentu says:

    I’ve lived about 150 yards from the Attic for nearly 20 years. It used to be a place the cops regularly came to to deal with serious drunks and fights and such. Now it’s kind of a h..ster joint, and impacts the neighborhood much less, I’d argue.

    Piratesnack and Chunkafunk, I’m not supportive of vigilante action, and I get where you’re coming from in a “letter of the law” vein, but, um…it IS one guy. And, per other comments, the impact is as great from street noise. And despite your assurance, a frivolous lawsuit in such a case can win or have the same impact as winning.

    So, yeah, as an argument, and theoretically, y’all are right. But I think in this particular, you’re not. Not sure whether that makes me an entitled hipster from the Lower Haight of 1996 or not

  19. Mermaid says:

    Bring back Sailing!

  20. NetDiva says:

    I’m sorry but if you don’t like noise, don’t move into an apartment above a friggin’ bar.

    • Chunkafunk says:

      I’m sorry but if you’re a bar owner and you don’t like angry neighbors, soundproof your bar before making your bar into a dance club.

    • Dude says:

      Wait! Remember… he lives across the street from the bar! Not even sharing a wall!

  21. Fiddler says:

    I don’t understand, what’s so hard about the Attic getting a permit? If there’s no noise problem, as many of the self-appointed sound engineers on here have so easily concluded, then it should be a breeze for them to pass a sound inspection so everybody can get back to the fun. Am I missing something?

    And what’s up with all those on here basically advocating violence- anon, bad neighbor, etc.- while hiding behind a wall of anonymity? Shouldn’t your righteousness include not only outing the neighbor but yourselves as well?

    • Rod says:

      Fiddler, shouldn’t YOUR righteousness including outing YOURself?

    • Anon says:

      I never advocated violence, believe me! I’m just saying when you have very little practical ground to stand on (the noise he’s complaining about is less than my room mates make, gimme a fucking break), and you’re fucking with a community, you better expect some blowback. Is that hard to understand?

      The only violence I advocate is ‘violence’ against his character. Him harassing a business that many people in the community patron, all should know who is fucking with the neighborhood. That’s legal, and just. period.

      • Anon says:

        And one more thing… I don’t know about this license in particular, but usually any license related to bars, entertainment, live anything, tend to be expensive and occasionally, nearly impossible to get.

      • Fiddler says:

        Oh, my bad, you meant “bricks through windows” in the metaphorical “violence against character” sense … how could I have missed that?

      • Chunkafunk says:

        “fucking with a community”, “fucking with a neighborhood”. He’s not fucking with a neighborhood. But you are fucking with the definition of a community and neighborhood, for sure.

        Does the “community” as you see it only consist of bars and dance clubs and those who patronize them? If that’s what you think, then your idea of “community” is quite narrow. When it is an individual vs. a business, the business should get an advantage just because it has customers? That’s “fucking with the community” right there.

        BTW, the noise ordinances are, as far as I know, NOT based on noise your roommate makes. Thankfully.

      • one says:

        Oh horseshit. Stop bloviating nonsense.

        “I’m not advocating violence BUT…”

        You know you ARE responsible for yourself, right? Stop making problems – an atmosphere of aggression and hostility and don’t imagine you don’t own a piece of it.

        That’s your idea of community?

  22. skeeellloooo says:

    I was in there last week and they had a guy sitting at the bar right by the front door with a decibel meter. They were feeding him beers, some I’m guessing he’s collecting data to support that the front of the bar/outside hopefully isn’t that loud. One of the bartenders said that the NIMBY in question often barges into the bar to complain, and that they’re worried that one day some drunk is going to do something reallllly stupid to the guy.

    Speaking of people doing stupid things, enough with the vigilante outing of this guy (ps. WHOAH YOU KNOW HOW TO USE GOOGLE?!?!?) Putting his personal details up here is just asking for more trouble for the Attic. Let them have their day in court theres nothing ANY of you can do about this other than continue to financially support the attic. If they lose, then they can pay for soundproofing, or get an entertainment license.

    • bobby fuller says:

      How is this person’s identity being revealed in any way a “vigilante” act? The minute he filed suit was the minute he gave up his anonymity.

  23. Erik Kolacek says:

    “one Says:

    May 25, 2010 at 9:34 pm

    you go all “sounds like kindergarten ethics to me…” about this guy, yet you insinuate throwing bricks through his window at 2am.

    I lovelovelove the smell of irony in the morning!”


    Oh really…anonymous person who has probably lived here for what…3 years, max…if ever?

    I “lovelovelove” the smell of what a huge c*nt you are. STFU.

    I’m 42 years old and I grew up in this town. I’ve played in bands, booked more events and dealt with more shitty neighbors than almost anyone I know. There is a special place for entitled, rich, white, “gay rights” lawyers who can’t “tolerate” noise, and it’s called SONOMA.

    I’ll throw a brick through that asshole’s window, and I’ll have my address engraved on it for him. Fuck him.

    This is my real name, btw. Find me. It isn’t hard.

    San Francisco, grow a goddamn pair and kick these carpet-bagging shitbags out on their asses. If you can’t or won’t stand up to “legally represented” bullies, kiss your town goodbye.


    • Chunkafunk says:

      You might have been raised in this town, but it doesn’t look like you grew up. Whether you are really who you say you are or not.

  24. [...] bold flyer, spotted at local fave the Attic, proudly proclaims having the longest happy hour in the city.  Of course, this is a hotly debated [...]

  25. whateevr says:

    a nice jukebox would be better served than the incredibly lame dj sets they have there, and solve everyones problems. dj music is for the shit clubs all over nowadays, not a dive bar.

  26. whateevr says:

    attic = nice bartenders, nice drinks, nice lighting :) …… however, smells like a wet mop, back space not used to its potential, dj sets are just not “cool”, manager should get creative with the place. this is a cool scene for the 90′s. not anymore.

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