Jazz Landmark Shutting Down, Owner Feels Unwelcome After Noise Violation Citations

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PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — When it comes to jazz, some locals call it a landmark, but in just a few weeks, a North Side music venue will close its doors.

A lot of jazz greats have performed on at the James Street Gastropub and Speakeasy – Roger Humphries, George Benson and Walt Harper.

The place has changed hands many times and gone by numerous names, including the James Street Tavern, but soon the lights will dim and the stage will go silent.

“We have been cited for noise violations a few times now,” said owner Kevin Saftner. “It started in July of 2016, and we were just cited again a week ago, and there was talk of a nuisance bar issues.”

Saftner said he and his mother, the co-owner, did not want that label, so they decided to wrap it up and not fight.

“First of all, we’ve had tons of great neighbors over here. We have so much support from the North Side, all the organizations, all of our neighbors have come out to support us. We love being here, but there must be one or two that don’t like us being here, and it’s all anonymous,” Saftner said.

Eddie Heal lives next door to the James Street Gastropub and has no complaints.

“They have been good neighbors, good for the neighborhood, they bring economic development for the people that work here, and how about the musicians. This is a fabled music, jazz venue, so it’s a great asset for the city let alone the North Side,” said Heal.

But on Nov. 11, the music will stop and the doors will close.

“We actually just were awarded by the City Paper, being voted the best place to see live, local musicians play. The day that that was announced was the day that we announced we are shutting our doors,” Saftner said.

Saftner says he doesn’t know if he will move to a new location. Right now, he just wants to make sure his 30 member staff land on their feet after the closing.

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