By Amber Jurgensen | firstname.lastname@example.org
One night last month, Tom Holland heard gunshots in his quiet neighborhood.
The retired policeman said he heard them twice. “It was definitely a semi-automatic and it was definitely coming from this parking lot over here,” Holland said.
The parking lot Holland is referring to is the one for Two Hundred Lounge, a popular nightclub at 200 Anastasia Boulevard, less than a block away from Holland’s home.
Robert Murphy, a neighbor, heard the gunshots, too, and that’s when he thought about calling the police. “The cops showed up, yeah, in full force,” Murphy said.
Since the club’s opening, the St Augustine Police Department has been getting calls from the neighboring community, including 145 calls in just the last four months. The amount of calls prompted the police to report on the club to the St. Augustine City Commission at its March 14 meeting.
Bryn Thomas, a college student who comes to Two Hundred Lounge once a week, says the club can get a little wild. “[The cops] are here a lot,” Thomas says.
Thomas lives on Arricola Avenue, on the opposite side of Anastasia Boulevard from Two Hundred Lounge. He says he can still hear the noise of the club from his home. “It gets pretty loud,” Thomas said.
Barbara Stevens, spokesperson for the St Augustine Police Department, says that besides the gunshots, residents have called to complain about “noise, drug activity, fighting and drunk people” who are leaving the club.
“The lounge is not a source of complaints every night, just certain nights that certain themes are held,” Stevens said.
Two Hundred Lounge has theme nights including the most recent “Pimp and Hoe Ball” held on March 12. They also have “Sink or Swim” on Wednesday nights with free drinks from 10 p.m. to 2 a.m.
“Wednesday nights are usually the best nights to go,” Thomas said.
“There are not frequent arrests because of the problem nights, the police are way out numbered, even bringing in county units, St Augustine Beach Police, and the Florida Highway Patrol, that the main goal is to keep the peace and clear the area,” Stevens said.
The biggest complaints Holland has are the noise and littering. “The kids coming by with the loud car stereos which kind of boom, and this is happening at 2 o’clock in the morning when my granddaughter and my wife and I who work still, you know, are trying to get some rest. And you wake up in the morning and find bottles and cups and armbands in your front yard and you got to clean it up,” Holland said.
Murphy finds the noise and littering problems too. “The biggest complaint is people going up and down the street talking really loud. You can hear them right through the window. And the pollution, a lot of bottles, cups, the little wrist bracelets that they use, they throw them [in the yard],” Murphy said.
Parking has not been an issue with either Murphy or Holland.
“They’ve been very good about parking here. If they do, they ask. But it’s pretty clearly marked,” Murphy said.
“They haven’t blocked my driveway yet. But they do park out there where they’re not supposed to park in contrary to the yellow markings. They’re all over,” Holland said.
Police and the owners of Two Hundred Lounge, Bryan Greiner and Nick Cirelli, are meeting “to see how to help the problem in the best manner,” Stevens said.