Mérida, Yucatán — A sign with red letters spelling out SUSPENDIDA pasted by its front door, the trendy nightclub La Fundación Mezcalería was closed just after midnight.
Employees of the Department of Urban Development, accompanied by 30 municipal police agents, were responding to citizen complaints about noise and lewd activity.
About 50 patrons were in the bar at the time of the unannounced raid. Other bars in the neighborhood are in danger of meeting the same fate, says Diario de Yucatán.
This stretch of Calle 56, between 53 and 55, was tranquil at night until about four years ago when the night club took over a jazz club space. It was almost an instant hit, and copycat hipster bars have appeared elsewhere in the Centro.
Last week, about 50 residents met with city official to complain about the influx of revelers and instances of unruly crowds, public urination, vomiting — and worse — until 3 a.m.
The mayor’s envoys were reminded that the houses in the neighborhood pre-date the new bars by many years.
“If the administration wants to keep these people who came to Mérida and you really want to be an American Capital of Culture, you have to solve this problem,” said one of the neighbors, quoted in La Jornada Maya.
“Our block is currently unsafe and challenged by those after-hour bars,” wrote one resident on social media. “My neighbors were sad to learn that many other surrounding blocks were getting bad as well. Sad!”
Residents suggested creating a bar zone to cluster the nightclub activities away from residential neighborhoods.
The city is considering lowering the accepted noise level of 65 decibels, replied Carolina Cárdenas Sosa, director of economic development.
After opening in 2013, a sister to the cantina La Negrita on Calle 62, La Fundación Mezcalería quickly appeared as a hot spot in guide books, newspapers and magazines.
“A popular bicyclists’ hangout, especially on Wednesday, this retro-styled bar with nightly live music has an excellent selection of organic mezcals and an atmosphere conducive to knocking ’em back,” says Lonely Planet about La Fundación Mezcalería in its travel guide. “Careful though: this stuff packs a mean punch.”
But well before the club opened, architects had been renovating Colonial-style homes in the neighborhood, offering a relaxed atmosphere near — but not too near — places to have fun.