Hookah bar, neighbors at odds over late-night noise

Posted July 19, 2013

— Residents of a neighborhood that abuts Raleigh's popular Glenwood South entertainment district blame the late hours of a hookah bar for the early morning ruckus they say disrupts their sleep.

Philip Poe says people park in front of the homes at all hours of the night and, when the bars close at 2:30 a.m., they make their way to the Sahara Hookah Cafe on the corner of West Peace Street and North Boylan Avenue. The Sahara, which does not serve alcohol, stays open later – until 4 a.m. – and that is a draw for late-night revelers.

Sahara Hookah Cafe Neighbors blame hookah bar for late-night noise

"We find a lot of trash in the mornings, and when you're really right around the hookah bar itself, there is a lot of activity," Poe said.

Sahara owner Naser Shamma says the problem isn't his patrons or his hours, but people coming back from Glenwood South. "All those people parking here come back drunk to their car," he said.

Raleigh police have fielded more than 30 911 calls to the area so far this calendar year. Shamma said none of the calls was linked to the hookah bar. 

"I have no problem at all in my place," he said. 

Poe doesn't see it that way.

"We're really concerned we could have an ugly event if this doesn't get under control," he said.

He and his neighbors have asked the city to consider requiring a permit for parking along their streets, so that police could issue tickets more freely. The Law and Public Safety Committee of the Raleigh City Council is considering that option.


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  • DougWare.NET Jul 24, 2013

    As an almost weekly, non-drinking client of Sahara, I can say that the problem is not the hookah lounge.

    First, It's not a bar and they do not serve alcohol or permit any on premises. Secondly I've personally seen the trash left in people's yards. It's primarily beer bottles and styrofoam food containers. The hookah lounge doesn't provide either of these items.

    Lastly, I don't understand the "something ugly may happen" comment. You can't regulate something based on the fact that something may happen there. Someone may get shot at Crabtree Mall tomorrow, or mugged or rapped at a downtown restaurant.

    Are we going to close these places down too because "something ugly may happen" there as well?

  • mayra0313 Jul 23, 2013

    Speaking of crickets and frogs, they are really loud! Who do I need to complain to? ;)

    Hahahahahahahahahahahaha. That is funny!!!!!

  • westernwake1 Jul 22, 2013

    The homeowners may need to merely wait. There is a movement afoot still in North Carolina to close all the hookah bars for violating the indoor smoking ban.

  • davidgnews Jul 22, 2013

    The amount of revenue these bars produce is more important to the city, which only tolerates them as such. Besides, they ran most of them off of Hillsborough St and they had to go somewhere.

    If the hookah bar isn't producing a lot of city tax, they'll likely get shut down. If they're making a lot, then tough for the neighbors (who should have contested the zoning or not moved there in the first place).

  • xxxxxxxxxxxxx Jul 22, 2013

    Isn't the development of Glenwood South fairly recent? Maybe the homeowners were there before the noisy restaurants and bars moved in.

  • Riddickfield Jul 22, 2013

    Bought a house next to a bar and complain about the noise. That's like buying a house near an airport and complaining about the planes.

  • ezLikeSundayMorning Jul 22, 2013

    Speaking of crickets and frogs, they are really loud! Who do I need to complain to? ;)

  • Brian Jenkins Jul 22, 2013

    Is this his logic....."I live by multiple bars and its noisy". LOL try Franklin Co Mr. Poe.

  • dogluv3r Jul 22, 2013

    I highly doubt the hookah bar is the problem. It's downtown that's the problem, and you knew that when you moved there. You don't live over by Glenwood and expect to hear crickets and frogs every night. If you do, you moved to the wrong place.

  • deastwood1 Jul 22, 2013

    They choose to live downtown right off of Glenwood Ave! You get what you pay for! Suck it up or move!