Harassed by noise complaints, downtown Raleigh bar closes

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Questions surround closing of downtown Raleigh bar.

Signs are posted outside of the downtown Raleigh bar Fifteen notifying customers the place is closed for good. It shut down Friday and the staff believes there was an agenda.

The bar has been receiving several noise complaints and hit with fines.

"It was a hundred (dollars) a shot, per complaint," said manager Cal Thompson.

Fifteen has been open for a couple years and caters to the LGBTQ community.

The staff here believes discrimination was at play and the property manager found a way to force them out.

"(They) figured out a way that they can kill the project or kill the situation," said Thompson. "We've seen people be very vocal about how they feel. This is an election year, the HB2 situation, so I honestly would not be shocked if that's what it was for."

Thompson has been paying off fines and the last check he wrote was for $500.

"We were trying to comply with everything that they are asking," Thompson said. "We took drastic measures to change the way our sound come out. We have had the sound governed, that way there's no bass."

Still, something as simple as airing a presidential debate was a problem.

"People were sitting here watching, wanting to know what's going on. There was even a complaint about that," Thompson said.

The owner decided to close down, fed up over the fine frequency.

Fifteen sits in the condo building The Dawson. The property is managed by the Talis Management Group.

Talis President Ron Weinhold would not comment on allegations of bias.

"Our office has received complaints of noise," he said.

The Raleigh Police Department reports 42 call to service to the bar in the past two years. Officers showed up twice because of loud noise.

Residents who live directly above the bar say Fifteen has been a good neighbor.

"I don't have a problem with it," said Dawson resident Melissa Brinson.

"We haven't noticed a whole bunch of noise," said Dawson resident Reghan Burgess. "I feel like the noise maybe coming from a different direction than it is right below us."

The business might move to another location.

"It was a bar, but it was more than that. It was a community hub, with all the nonprofit work and things of that nature that we did," Thompson said. "It's just really sad. It's depressing."

The staff plans to move everything out of the space in next four weeks.

ABC11 tried to speak with the president of Dawson's HOA, but he did not return calls for comment.

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