The shows go on: James Street completes ballroom renovations


By Alyse Horn

After a noise complaint in July during the Deutschtown Music Festival, James Street Gastropub & Speakeasy was forced to close its Ballroom until further notice.

The venue needed to undergo renovations on its second floor to make it soundproof and add ventilation, said General Manager Kevin Saftner. According to the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board requirements, music cannot be heard beyond the licensed premises’ property line.

Saftner said during previous shows, the staff would open the windows of the Ballroom to allow air flow, as there was no ventilation system hooked up on the second floor.

“We had to run electrical work from all the way downstairs, where the main [breaker] is, all the way up to the roof,” Saftner said. “So through an old building like this, it was not the easiest thing.”

There are now three air conditioning units in the Ballroom and the windows have also been sealed with special sound proofing material to keep the bass at bay. Saftner said he has stood outside the building during performances in the Ballroom, and although he can still hear muffled noise it is “way better than it was.”

“You’re never going to be perfect with this sort of thing, but we’re as close as we can get,” Saftner said.

The new renovations, which cost about $25,000,  have been blessed by the PLCB and Pittsburgh Police Officers, and Saftner said they are happy with the work that has been done to keep the noise level down.

The Ballroom finished up repairs in mid-August and has hosted about 10 shows since then. Saftner said he is happy to be back up and running, but during the month-long limbo he said he was humbled by the community support.

“I didn’t realize how positively we are looked upon in the community until this happened, because everyone just came out of the woodwork to help,” Saftner said.

For a full list of upcoming events at James Street, click here.


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