As part of an effort to stem the tide of nighttime noise along Newark Avenue, Jersey City recently passed new regulations that will limit the hours of operation for rooftop bars along the Downtown pedestrian plaza.
On May 23 by a 7-0 vote, the city council made some additions to ordinance 18-050, which regulates properties along the green-colored car-free plaza that was first created in 2015. The changes decree that any restaurant’s rooftop bar area must close at midnight every day of the week, but food and beverage operations may continue in any fully-enclosed portion of the business after that time.
Additionally, patrons who leave a licensed establishment after 1 a.m. will not be granted re-entry to the premises for any reason. Security at the restaurants is responsible for enforcing that rule, and eateries are also required to notify patrons of the new policy via signage that should be “prominently displayed.”
Interestingly, the way the ordinance is written dictates that the new rules only apply to the permanent section of the plaza, which ends at Erie Street. The pedestrian plaza was recently extended westward to Jersey Avenue as part of a pilot program that will run throughout the summer, with a more permanent version coming later this year.
The new ordinance may have to be expanded at a later date to include the additional blocks, as local officials continue to try and find a compromise that works for both residents and the hospitality industry. A few restaurants like Porta already have rooftop areas and the upcoming LGBTQ lounge Six26 will have a rooftop bar as well, so the issue of open-air bars generating some noise on Newark Avenue probably isn’t going away anytime soon.
Following council approval, Mayor Steve Fulop signed the changes to the ordinance into law on May 25, putting them officially in effect.