There are certain luxuries students enjoy when they live in apartments above Court Street: the closeness to the many bars, the view of the bricks and the location just a few steps away from a basket of Lucky’s Sports Tavern’s fried pickles.
Something less extravagant for Brett Mowery, who lives directly above The CI, is feeling the vibration of his bed as he tries to get some decent sleep.
Many students like Mowery, a senior studying media arts and studies, choose to live in apartments directly above bars on Court Street even though they are aware of the ruckus their downstairs neighbors might cause.
“It’s pretty bad honestly. My room is right on the street, so I hear everybody shouting and stuff. And then it’s funny because my bed is right above a speaker, so (the speaker) just vibrates my whole bed,” Mowery said.
Roommates Sarah Filippi and Maggie Stotts expected some sleepless nights with bass pulsing through the walls of their junior year apartment above Courtside Pizza. What they did not anticipate, however, was football Sunday, football Monday and a DJ every Tuesday night keeping them awake well past their ideal bed times.
“I knew it would be that bad like Wednesday through Saturday, but we had no idea that it was going to be this bad like Sundays through Tuesdays,” Stotts, a junior studying fashion merchandising, said.
Just when the roommates thought the party was over and they could finally get some decent rest, Courtside cleaning crews arrive bright and early.
“They go in and clean the bar the next morning, and they’ll start playing music with bass at 5 a.m. … So we (often) only get three hours of sleep,” Filippi, a junior studying criminal justice, said.
J Bar bartender, Dan Rhinehart, a junior studying marketing and business, said residents living above bars have to know what they are getting into when they choose to live above a late-night hot spot.
“The people that live above here or Courtside, Pawpurrs — all these bars — like, before they sign the lease, they literally have to know, like, at least two to three nights of the five days of the week, it’s gonna be loud,” Rhinehart said.
A reason Rhinehart thinks many students are initially okay with the notion of living above a noisy bar is because they believe they are getting a good deal by paying a little less rent.
“They think it’s like, ‘Oh, I’m getting a deal because it’s cheap.’ But it’s like, yeah, but you’re going to be listening to rap shit going on at 1:30 in the morning when you’re trying to go to bed,” Rhinehart said.
The Athens Police Department rarely has to mediate between residents and bars because of the expectancy of loud music, Rhinehart said. However, when an issue does arise, things usually run smoothly.
“I can’t honestly recall the last time we received a noise complaint on one of the bars, if that tells you how frequently we receive those complaints,” Tom Pyle, Athens’ police chief, said in an email.
On occasion, more than just unwanted sound reaches some apartments above the bars. Sometimes, it’s the confused and intoxicated bar-goers just looking for a place to rest their eyes — or in some cases, relieve their bladder.
Kevin McKay, a former OU student who lives right above Lucky’s, had such an encounter when the school year had just begun.
“I just kind of overheard (people) through the door. They were like, ‘Agh, let’s like just go up here. I think we can go pee in this hallway,’ ” McKay said.
McKay stood there for a moment before he opened the door and told the couple to “get the hell out,” or else he would call the cops.
Apartment doors left unlocked can lead to further issues with confused intruders. Earlier this summer, Filippi and Stotts dealt with a very sleepy, but nevertheless unwelcomed, guest.
After a night out with another roommate, Stotts awoke to an open front door and a strange man asleep in their apartment.
“Our door was completely open, and it’s like pitch black in (the apartment),” Stotts said. “I was scared.”
Unsure whether the man was a friend of her roommate who had not come home yet, Stotts left for work. After receiving confirmation by text that the man was definitely a stranger, one of Stotts' other roommates came home and demanded the sleeping guest leave.
Although Stotts' roommate was adamant the stranger left immediately, Stotts said the man proceeded to ask, “Can I sleep for 10 more minutes?"
Noise and unexpected guests are downfalls that come with living above bars on Court Street. Residents like Mowery, however, still say the positives outweigh the negatives.
“I’m two feet away from work, all the bars and all the fun and stuff. It’s a really nice apartment," Mowery said. "I’m at the center of the city, five minutes from everywhere.”
If someone is considering living above one of the bars on Court Street, Mowery has some advice.
“Get an apartment toward the back, not the front.”
Correction: A previous version of this article misspelled Maggie Stotts last name. This article has been updated to show the most accurate information.