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Residents near bar complain of patrons

The townhouse dwellers live on Moody Avenue, but moody doesn't even begin to describe their mood.

Residing next to the Bahasa Lounge has these folks hopping mad.

Most aren't so upset with Bahasa itself. That distinction goes to the Kennedy Boulevard bar's most uncivilized patrons, who pump bass outside the club, who pee, puke and prowl around outside their homes.

"I don't sleep from 10 o'clock at night through three in the morning," Fred Merriman told city officials at a meeting last week in Hyde Park.

Clyde Snodgrass suggested the only way to counter the late night/early morning rancor outside would be a combination of "10 Xanax and two Tylenol PMs."

Though Snodgrass was kidding about that, he was dead serious about how angry the drunken revelers have made him: "I'm glad I don't have a firearm anymore."

Snodgrass joined neighbors, city officials and Bahasa's managers and owners Feb. 15 at Kate Jackson Community Center to discuss ways to live together in harmony.

The bar doesn't affect too many residences in its spot on Kennedy, in a small two-block stretch between the major thoroughfares of Howard and Armenia avenues. But the Moody Avenue townhomes, which were recently built catty-corner to the nightclub, get the full brunt.

Of particular concern is a grass parking lot behind the club. At last call, bar patrons flood into the lot, residents said, and wait for valets to retrieve their cars.

Many get rowdy, they said, and come onto residents' property. Some have vandalized vehicles, residents claimed.

Co-owner Corey Riina said Bahasa is committed to doing everything it can to minimize the commotion around its club.

"We don't want you to wake up at night," she said. "We bought a decibel meter. We have people pick up the property every night. If you have any problem, please come to me and talk to me directly."

Kristin Dobbins, a townhouse resident, told Riina, "I do think you do a good job of trying to keep the noise down."

But the problems multiply when Bahasa closes, Dobbins said.

"Every night, we watch as people leave the club, and they have fights in the street. They have sex in the side lot," she said.

Police need to "concentrate on the time between 2 o'clock and 3 o'clock. That's when the noise happens. I can set an alarm to it."

Tampa police officials pledged to work on ways to improve enforcement in the area.

"Our top priority will be keeping customers off private property," said Capt. Hugh Miller. "And we'll look at our deployment and how we can make that better."

Rick Gershman can be reached at rgershman@spttmes.com or (813) 226-3431.

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