Noisy bars, clubs in San Antonio could get city funds to keep things quiet

Patrons of the El Camino listen to a DJ play his set on Saturday.

Patrons of the El Camino listen to a DJ play his set on Saturday.

Charlie Blalock/ Contributor

Loud bars, music venues and restaurants in the city’s popular nightlife districts could see financial help from the city this summer to help quiet down — appeasing neighbors and reducing noise complaints.

The city is launching a pilot program to incentivize small businesses to mitigate noise by funding up to $7,500 for equipment or renovations, such as installing sound-absorbing panels and acoustic windows or purchasing bass traps, decibel meters and directional speakers.

Businesses were “disproportionately more likely to be repeat offenders” among the more than 8,000 noise complaints the city received from October 2021 to April 2022, Ana Bradshaw, assistant director of the city’s Economic Development Department, told a council committee Tuesday.

“We know many of the businesses in this case wanted to be good neighbors... but there may be a (capital) gap that was preventing them” from taking steps to reduce noise complaints, Bradshaw said.

On San Antonio businesses with the most noise violations, from bars to BBQ restaurants

City Council set aside $150,000 in this year’s budget for a pilot noise mitigation grant program, enough money to help two businesses in each of the 10 council districts.

Eligible businesses must generate no more than $9 million in revenue annually, have no outstanding code violations and must have been at their current location for at least a year, Bradshaw said. The application will open in late March, with funding awards expected to be made by late May.

Businesses will be required to foot 25 percent of the costs associated with the renovations or upgrades they’d like to make.

District 1 Councilman Mario Bravo, who represents the St. Mary’s Strip, suggested increasing the award amount from $7,500 to $15,000, given the high costs of noise mitigation efforts.

“I’d rather help 10 nightclubs be successful in this than have 20 have less substantial results,” Bravo said.

On Violence, noise complaints, construction, parking problems are roiling the St. Mary’s Strip

Councilwomen Phyllis Viagran and Teri Castillo, who represent Districts 3 and 5, respectively, voiced support for the proposed amount, saying it would help as many businesses as possible.

Bravo also pushed for making it a requirement that grant recipients hire a professional consultant to ensure that any changes they make will actually reduce noise.