From Iceland — Two More Venues Might Close Due To Noise Complaints

Two More Venues Might Close Due To Noise Complaints

Published October 25, 2022

Photo by
Art Bicnick

The Reykjavík Health Authority has sent two entertainment venues in the city centre a message from the residents of Grjótathorpin complaining about noise, reports RÚV.

We have opened the Christmas Vault: get your gifts here! Icelandic Yule Lads, the Christmas cat, Icelandic Christmas candy and more. As always, join our High Five club to support our journalism, get discounts in our shop and get the latest issue sent straight to your email.

The residents are fed up with the noise and want the venues closed. The owners point out that they run entertainment venues in the city centre and have all the required licenses.

The residents’ message was sent to the city representative, the health inspectorate and the police chief in Reykjavík. They say that the situation was bad before the coronavirus pandemic, but now it has intensified into an “all-out outdoor festival around Austurstræti/Ingólfstorg.” The artist Sverrir Guðjónsson leads the group of residents who wrote the complaint.

The venues in question are Pablo Discobar in Veltusundi and American Bar in Austurstræti.

The residents demand that sound meters be installed on the outside wall of the American Bar and Pablo Discobar, to give an accurate picture of the noise pollution that occurs in the city centre and keeps the residents and hotel guests awake. They also want the Reykjavík Health Authority suspend or limit the activities of the two venues, as they say that the acoustics of the premises are incompatible with the current activities.

Ingvar Svendsen, the owner of American Bar, received the report from the Reykjavík Health Authority yesterday. He points out that they have taken down subwoofers during the pandemic and says they are willing to do better. However, it cannot be overlooked that they run a club in the centre of Reykjavík and have all the necessary permits.

Jón Bjarni Steinsson, the owner of Pablo Discobar, takes the same approach. They are ready to look at how to do better, but they are primarily running a club and have all the required licenses.

Aðalgeir Ásvaldsson, executive director of the Association of Companies in the Restaurant Market or SVET, has had several consultation meetings about noise in the city centre. At one such meeting, statistics from the National Police Commissioner on noise complaints from Austurstræti between 2015 and 2022 were presented. “This is about one complaint a month.”

Aðalgeir questions whether this is a problem at all, saying that at the least there are no grounds for the residents’ demand to close the venues. Dissatisfaction can be attributed to the fact that people’s appetite for entertainment decreased during the pandemic.

He believes that the main problem in the city centre today is not noise, but that people find it difficult to get home after the party. The night bus is stopping, and no one has picked up the 100 taxi licenses issued for the summer. “Unfortunately, people are more likely to get behind the wheel or get home on electric scooters.”

Earlier, we reported about another venue in town that had to close due to noise complaints. The venue, called Tóma Rýmið, or Empty Space, is managed by the art collective, Klúbburinn.

Support The Reykjavík Grapevine!
Buy subscriptions, t-shirts and more from our shop right here!

Show Me More!