The Thirsty Pig can have live music on its deck this summer – the tunes just can’t be amplified.

Portland’s City Council voted Wednesday to retain a prohibition against amplified music on the back deck of the popular Old Port bar and restaurant. The ban was imposed last year after nearby condo owners complained about excessive noise.

Attorney Brandon Mazer, who represented the Thirsty Pig, said the owners had offered to work with people living at 150 Middle St. and 99 Silver St., including by installing decibel meters at the Exchange Street restaurant and at a condo and providing the restaurant owners’ cellphone numbers to nearby residents. The owners met with the city’s Sound Oversight Committee to develop the plan, he said.

“We are here to make this work,” Dave Nowers, manager of the Thirsty Pig, told councilors Wednesday. “We really just want to survive in the Old Port.”

But councilors and condo residents were unmoved by the proposal, which included keeping noise levels below 85 decibels – 7 decibels less than the ordinance allows.

Condo owners at 150 Middle St. and 99 Silver St. argued that they should be treated like a residential neighborhood, even though they are located in the Old Port. They said there are roughly 60 condos in those two buildings. And that the amplified outdoor music was unbearable in 2017.

“It is very disconcerting,” said Rachel Henderson, who lives at 150 Middle St. “There has to be a way to work this out. I don’t want to be driven from my home by the music.”

While Mazer pitched the proposal as a compromise, Elizabeth Boepple, who represented the 150 Middle St. condo board, said the existing prohibition on amplified music was the compromise reached last year. Boepple noted that the restaurant is still allowed to have amplified music indoors.

Councilors agreed. Councilor Belinda Ray, who represents the district, said that she doesn’t receive complaints about other nearby venues that have outdoor music, such as Oasis, Amigo’s, Brian Boru and Portland Lobster Co. “This is the one I get complaints about,” Ray said.

Councilor Jill Duson speculated that the Thirsty Pig may simply be a victim of the built environment.

“It’s in a sound tunnel,” Duson said. “I think the compromise we made last time was a good balance.”

Randy Billings can be contacted at 791-6346 or at:

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