A row has broken out between a Chelsea restaurant and its neighbours after residents accused it of turning into a “nightclub” and complained to the council about Mariachi bands playing too loudly.
Mexican restaurant and bar Mestizo, based on the King’s Road, has said it was forced to close for around six months, just a week after it opened in December 2021, due to noise complaints.
The family restaurant’s general manager Carlos Alvarado told the Standard the row has been going on “since before we opened” and that it was forced to spend £60,000 on soundproofing.
But neighbours have continued to complain about the venue and have said it is removing tables “to create a dance floor in the centre of the restaurant”.
They have also complained about customers shouting and having loud conversations past its licensing hours.
Mestizo recently asked Kensington and Chelsea Council (RBKC) to grant it a “shadow” premises licence to allow it to open for breakfast and Mr Alvarado has said this has “reignited tensions” with neighbours.
Letters sent to RBKC complained Mestizo was “running the restaurant as a night club and the frequent events held there that cause nuisance well past their licensing times”.
Residents also complained that noise was disturbing residents above and across the street from the eatery by “playing music loudly or by having live acts such as Mariachis play at high volume”.
Another neighbour told the council: “My fear is that they intend to be running a full club in the restaurant, as they have had several evenings advertised as such, and I believe the issues that we have had [will] only escalate.”
Residents have protested to RBKC about noise causing vibrations in the flats above the restaurant as well as plans for a fire performer who was due to perform at the premises, a council log of complaints shows.
RBKC said at the time of writing a report into the issue it had received 13 noise complaints in the past two years.
But the restaurant’s manager has said one neighbour has made “threatening statements, claiming to have powerful lawyers who could shut down our business”.
Mr Alvarado said: “From day one they said that they did not want us here and they would try everything in their power to close the restaurant.”
He added: “We understand and empathise with our neighbours' concerns, and we have always been open to communication and making changes that benefit the community.
“We have taken numerous steps to address security concerns, including hiring a security company, maintaining cleanliness outside the restaurant, installing CCTV cameras, and ensuring that any activities, such as the mariachi band performances are at reasonable hours as to not disturb our neighbors.
Despite our efforts to be good neighbors and contribute positively to the community, it seems that some of our neighbors are intent on jeopardising our ability to operate in this already challenging area.”