Fire Hazards, Outdoor Sex Among Complaints Against Nightclub

Neighbors rail against El Cid, citing loud noise and lewd behavior

All Jerry Saslow wants is a good night’s sleep.

Instead he gets drunken revelers carousing under his windows into the wee hours.

Saslow shares an alley with El Cid, a storied Silver Lake bar and nightclub that hosts a range of nightly events and performances including Flamenco and Open Mic, as well as themed evenings like “Goodie-Tu-Shoes” and live bands such as SR Elephant and Creepy Groovy.

That’s great news for the party crowd, but not for Saslow, who lives just across the alley from the club, in the 4200 block of Sunset Boulevard.

"We've taken to sleeping with earplugs and noise machines," he said.

Roberto Juarez and his wife live a block away. Foot traffic and loud talking would be enough to disturb most homeowners, but Juarez said he has even caught club-goers having sex in his front yard.

"I can't stand it, "Juarez said in Spanish. "It's too many problems."

Across Sunset Boulevard on the opposite side of El Cid, some residents of a senior complex are also fed up with the disruption from the nightclub.

"This is way over the top,” said Patricia Parker, a resident of the center. “So out of control."
Another frustrated resident has been videotaping the continuous commotion that occurs outside of his window.

Residents have repeatedly called police, with some now saying they report every incident in order to create a complete police record, but they say the problems persist.

A manager at El Cid, who gave his name only as “Ben,” said the bar tries to respect its neighbors.

“We do the best we can to handle noise,” he said. “There has not been noise issues on a regular basis.”

He also said that the complaints are coming from a disgruntled former employee. None of the residents interviewed for this story are current or former El Cid employees.

LA City Council President Eric Garcetti said his office has met several times with the management of El Cid and that he has brought together police, residents and El Cid management to try and resolve the conflict.

"What's happening at El Cid is unacceptable," he said. Unless the club makes some changes, they could be shut down, he said.

"If they don't clean up their act,” he said, “absolutely."

Controversy is not new to El Cid. 

The club was originally built at the turn of the 20th century by D.W. Griffith as a movie theater to screen “Birth of A Nation” and other films.

In 1961 it was converted into the 16th Century Spanish-themed tavern that has in recent years become a draw for trendy club-goers.

One recent visitor identified on Yelp! as Julia G. from Santa Monica, described her experience this way: “This place has a great vibe from the walkway to the table and the flamenco show was remarkable.”

Another visitor, Julie A. from Jacksonville, Fla, was especially enamored of the outdoor space. “I really like how it's such an open space, so if you get too hot and sweaty from dancing, you can chillax outside under the sky in one of the tables and cool off a bit.”

The Los Angeles Fire Department shut El Cid down last month for being over capacity and blocking fire exits.

But that's not enough, say some fed-up homeowners.

"I would like to enjoy my own backyard," Saslow said. "I would like to have conversations and watch TV in my own house.

“ I also know that El Cid has the right to do business, but I think they have to consider the area and the neighbors.”

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