City may pull plug on restaurant's live music

Posted at 5:52 PM, Mar 21, 2016
and last updated 2016-03-21 21:02:27-04

Complaints are only getting louder against a trendy Little Italy eatery, and they are so loud that the city of San Diego may pull the plug on its permit to have live entertainment.

Michael Viscuso breathed $2 million into the spot, opening Entrada in November 2015.

"It was a rat-infested space with a lot of homeless people sitting out front, doing a lot of graffiti and damage to the building," he said.

Viscuso may have breathed a little too much life into it, more than the neighborhood can handle.

"It does shut down pretty early around here," said David Caswell, who used to work in Little Italy.

Not Entrada, a Mexican eatery and speakeasy lounge open until 2 a.m. on weekends.

"It's a vibe where you can sit and have a conversation and not have to raise your voice over the music," Viscuso said.

But next-door neighbors at Finestra lofts hear it very differently.

Four inches connect the two buildings, about the size of a dollar, but when the music's playing at Entrada, residents at Finestra say their walls won't stop shaking.

An agency called Civic San Diego says it's been inundated with late night noise complaints. They claim police have been called more than a dozen times.

"With our conditions, we are allowed to have dancing, the music is set at a level that's a lot lower, considerably lower, than most nightclubs," Viscuso said.

On Thursday, Civic San Diego could revoke Entrada's permit to have live entertainment.

It's something Viscuso -- who owned Gaslamp clubs On Broadway and Belo -- said will put him out of business.

He said he's already paid about $50,000 to muffle the sound, and is offering to do more.

"I'm willing, at my expense, to go into her building, insulate the walls; I've even offered to rent the unit where the complaints were coming from," he said.

Finestra's owner said she didn't know about that offer. She said it wouldn't solve the problem since the noise reverberates to all eight of her lofts, not just the neighboring one.

She said one tenant is moving out, and she's reluctant to put the units back on the market until this is resolved.

Viscuso said he'd appeal any decision to revoke his entertainment permit.