Brick & Mortar Music Hall Effectively Shut Down Over Sketchy Circumstances

UPDATE: Lawrence Le Blanc, Brick & Mortar's booker, tells us new soundproofing will go in Wednesday and “all is well.”

Despite being located in the shadow of the Central Freeway, the Entertainment Commission ruled Tuesday that Brick & Mortar Music Hall is too noisy and is only allowing the club to remain open under burdensome circumstances.  The Examiner reports:

The restrictions stem from nearly two years of complaints by neighbors of the venue on Mission Street near Duboce Avenue who say they have heard noise from the concert hall since it opened.

Following an hourlong discussion, the commission voted to approve numerous restrictions for the club, including limiting entertainment hours from 5 p.m. until 12:30 p.m. on weekends and 5 p.m. until 11:30 p.m. on weekdays. The sound levels of the club may also not exceed 80 decibels, which is about the level of a garbage disposal.

At the hearing, the owners explained they had already invested $50,000 in soundproofing, however the commission demanded the club schedule additional soundproofing by June 15—despite some neighbors defending the club, saying noise issues have improved.  Additionally, Brick & Mortar claims to have never received a complaint or police citation.

Brick & Mortar's owners allege the heavy-handed restrictions are not in fact over sound issues, but over their refusal to employ the Entertainment Commission's lone inspector's private security company, Yojimbo Protection Services.  In an interview with the SF Weekly, Brick & Mortart's owner Jason Perkins claims the club's troubles began last fall when he declined to hire Yojimbo at the inspector's urgings.

“I think if I hired his security company we would not have had one complaint,” Perkins says.

Other club owners, speaking off the record, report similar occurrences. One says [Inspector Vajra Granelli] referred him to a partner at Yojimbo to hire security for a nightclub. The owner hired the firm, but soon found that it was too expensive. After he replaced the firm, the club began getting noise and security citations from Granelli, according to the owner.

“The reason why clubs hire this person is because they [the entertainment commission] leave us alone,” he says.

The corruption has left Perkins frustrated and ready to throw in the towel. “We will close,” he told the Examiner. “We’ve got four other venues to run, it’s not worth it.”

[SF Weekly | Examiner]

Comments (25)

The comments to that article suggest that while there may be an inspector with a conflict of interest, there are also real people with real noise complaints about the place. And the owner, who comments over and over, reminds me of the newly-famous folks in Arizona who were recently on Gordon Ramsay’s show.

Oh man, that really really sucks. It was a great new venue.

Is there any way to fight this? Would it be worthwhile contacting our supes, etc, for instance?

I’m not usually in support of nightlife venues in residential neighborhoods, but this practically sits under the Central Freeway and next to the building for the retardeds. Let them party!

As a resident on Woodward, I assure you the venue is extremely loud. When music is playing, it is very clear and disturbing. We rarely hear the freeway. This yojimbo character is nobody I know. I’m very pleased to finally have some peace and quiet, two years has been long enough.

Is it really any louder than the other clubs that have occupied the building?

I think that’s the rub. It differs from the previous occupants in that it’s more successful.

yes, brick and mortar is louder than  previous clubs and they were shut down for noise violations.  Sound concerning?

Just out of curiosity, was B+M any worse than the prior clubs in the space? (I remember Coda being in there beforehand, and I’m pretty sure there was another club in there before that). Not attacking, just curious why this ownership team was hit with complaints and not other ones…

before coda it was Levenda Lounge, I can’t remember what before that

Dude. You suck. I have nothing more to say.

If they have a legal leg to stand on, they will sue, otherwise, don’t believe the hype.

80 db? I am a sound engineer and have organized poetry readings that are louder than that. At the end of the day politics and business have many underlying factors that most community members will never understand and frankly do not want to understand. In all honesty the fact that an EC board member may (may not) be involved with an outside constituent directly benefiting from his/her position on the board shakes things up a bit. I understand the current issue is sound, but I feel it is important to consider underlying factors that arise in the merging of business/politics.

this is sucky. fight the power! rage against the machine! and the dying of the light!

Extremely bogus. Kevin, can you tell us more about who these commissioners are and what their angle might be? sounds like a lot of people are having problems with them.

What a shock, a pack of appointed water cooler dictators stick it to someone just because they can.

the board of appeals did a similar thing last week - they basically now say that if you have a business and a website to go with said business, you essentially own TWO stores in SF, not one, and that counts against the number (11) that you can have before being declared a “Chain”.

WTF is happening to San Francisco?? This is a serious loss to the local music scene guys and The Mission. The area is turning into Walnut Creek right before our eyes. Nothing like a bunch of whiny neighbors to take down the hood. The war on fun shows no mercy!!!
Save the Brick & Mortar!!!!

As a person who spent a number of somewhat hazy years in The City in the 70’s and 80’s, I couldn’t agree more. What the hell has happened? SF has a long, long legacy of extreme, cutting edge music - including being one of the very, very few cities in which the Sex Pistols actually performed, if my aging memory serves - and now the NIMBY crowd is closing down a music venue in their “gentrifying” neighborhood? Hell in a hand-woven wicker handbasket, I tell you. HANDBASKET!

every time I listen to my Chrome records, I think ‘I can’t believe these guys made this music in this town’……transmissions from another era


Winterland (where the Sex Pistols played) was torn down and turned into condos in 1985. You are getting upset about NIMBYs and gentrification 28 years later?

If I can hear it with the BMW windows closed: too loud.
If it scares the golden retriever: too loud.
If it makes the double-stroller rattle: too loud.

Call the feds. They love busting this kind of corruption.

They are slowly ramping it back up again…. To everyone that knows nothing about this noise problem, except for what they assume from their quiet apartments far out of ear shot from Brick and Mortar…the noise is a nightmare.

We live next to the highway? Yes, and B&M is still ridiculously louder!!!

The restrictions were too strict? Maybe because B&M was ignoring the regular laws set by the city. 

The neigborhood hates music? Yet, no one complains about public works. —dumb comment. 

Why does Brick and Mortar get more complaints than previous owners? They don’t. And that’s another dumb comment.

City living is loud? So, you’re kool with my band practicing in your living room tomorrow at midnight? 

“Just move if you don’t like it!” Brilliant. You’re probably the same Ass-Hats that belly ache all day about how the tech invasion is driving up rent and moving the SF natives aross the Bay. Yet, driving us out by noise, anxiety, lack of sleep and stress is perfectly acceptable? 

I love to get fucked up on pills and sing Honky Tonk, but not while I’m at work. I love to get naked with my boyfriend and have sex on every surface of my apartment, just not when company is over. There are a lot of things worth doing in this life that won’t mean you’re a gentrifying shit head if you choose to do them only at certain times. 

I don’t know if there are really this many slight minded venue groupies on here posting these uninformed opinions or if all of these comments are posted by Brick and Mortar’s staff. To all of you reading this… If you don’t like the laws, change them. But, while they are in place, don’t be shocked that Brick and Mortar is expected to follow them.