SMELLS LIKE MEAN SPIRIT

Mark Miller informs customers that the bar once rocked by Kurt Cobain,  can no longer play jukebox music

Mark Miller informs customers that the bar once rocked by Kurt Cobain, can no longer play jukebox music

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IT claims to have “the most rockin’ jukebox ever”.

But a popular city pub –which once famously hosted an impromptu Nirvana performance – will be decidedly quieter from now on.

The Southern Bar in Clerk Street has been told it can no longer play any music following a string of noise complaints dating back two years.

The decision to stop the venue – which is popular with students – playing amplified music was taken by the city’s licensing board this week after the bar received 36 complaints about the noise over the past two years.

Members heard that police and the council’s licensing standards officers (LSOs) had been called to investigate neighbours’ complaints on numerous occasions.

It is not the first time the bar has been brought before the board, and it was even told last June that it would have to cancel its live music nights until the issue had been resolved.

Southern manager Mark Miller told the Evening News then that £10,000 had been spent on soundproofing and moving the stage.

But Tory councillor Alastair Paisley, who sits on the board, said the bar had failed to resolve the issues and had continued to attract a series of noise complaints.

He said: “They were referred to the board previously and ignored what we said and just carried on regardless.

“They have now learned that they can’t do that and hopefully every bar in town will read this and see that the noise clause they have signed up to should be observed.”

The Southern Bar was the lucky venue treated to an impromptu five-song set by Nirvana in 1991 after the band played a gig at Calton Studios.

The pub is renowned for being a music venue and Mr Miller, 23, said he was “angry” at the decision, and planned to do everything he could to return music to the pub. “This bar has been a music and live bands venue for the past 40 years,” he said. “Take that away and you’ve just got an empty room. I’m angry and frustrated and I’d like this to be resolved.

“I can understand the complaints about live bands, but the jukebox is quieter than the telly.

“When the council’s officers first came to see us in June, they seemed to think the staff were turning up the volume.

“We even agreed to put it under lock and key so that we couldn’t alter the level.

“We’ve come up with a three-point plan to try and get our music back.We’re going to reduce the number of speakers by 30 per cent, allow them to take our jukebox key away and ask the company to set the sound level on the jukebox.”

A message posted by the bar yesterday appealed for “open-minded musicians willing to play totally unplugged”.

Councillor Marjorie Thomas, convener of the licensing board, said: “We were given three pages of complaints all relating to noise and, really, they could have done something about it.

“It takes a lot before our LSOs take things to the board and they have had some time to deal with this.”

gfraser@edinburghnews.com