An after-hours dance party in a Mission District hacker house that has kept neighbors up all night may be on its way out — not because neighbors have complained for months, but because the rent is too high.
The party pops up on Saturday nights inside a space above a grocery at 19th and Mission streets, according to a neighbor. An entity called “The X Institute” occupies the space. It’s described on its website as a “bootstrap space for entrepreneurs.”
The X Institute has been posting Facebook events for the parties, including one for this upcoming Saturday, December 3. But one person who runs it said the parties are likely to end because tenants are planning to move out anyway, partly because their rent is too high.
Troy Do, who is one of the tenants at the hacker house, said the X Institute is just a moniker for a group of engineers who live there, not an actual business. He said he will move out of state within a few weeks and the parties, he said, will stop.
Still, at least one neighbor is frustrated.
“I’m at the end of my rope. It’s been seven months and every week I can’t sleep all night,” said Joseph Dean, a neighbor who has been particularly active in trying to get the party to quiet down.
A nearby restaurant worker also noted the loud parties and lines out the door late at night. A neighbor across the street said he has to make use of his meditation skills to find sleep on party nights.
Dean said the music hits an intolerable volume around 2 a.m., which has prompted him to reach out to the tenants of the apartment and try to negotiate a peace.
Do said the parties are about local DJs showcasing their music and more a gathering of friends than a nightclub.
“All the DJs are local people,” he said. “It’s about the music, it’s about the culture.”
The first time Dean called the police on the rowdy party, he said police arrived and were able to shut it down. Do said the police have never shut down the club, only come to talk to partiers, at which point Do said he and others clarify the situation. Other than Dean, Do claims no neighbors have an issue.
“There’s only one dude who has complained, no one else cares,” he said.
Indeed, two nearby neighbors who were asked about the club said it didn’t trouble them — one said “we don’t complain” and “let the people be happy.”
But neighbor Michael Garcia said the parties can be frustratingly loud — louder than music from Beauty Bar across the street, for example.
“It’s a party for sure,” he said. “I can sleep, I’m good at concentrating on my breathing, but it does bother.”
Dean said on one visit the location, he saw $20 cover charges being collected for a party of around 200 people. Do said he collects donations, not a cover charge – he said the parties are sometimes fundraisers, including one recent event that was raising money for activists fighting the Dakota Access Pipeline at the Standing Rock Sioux reservation. Sometimes, he said, the donations help him and his colleagues afford the rent in the space.
Inside, Dean said, beers are sold for $10 apiece without any indication of a liquor license. Do denied any sale of alcoholic beverages.
Fed up, Dean said he began taking photos of the line to get in and the bouncers checking IDs at the door. He said a bouncer chased him down the street, manhandled him, and robbed him of his phone.
Do said the incident was just an altercation between Dean and a party goer who became angry at Dean for taking photos and had nothing to do with a bouncer.
Like neighbors of an illegal gambling den on Mission Street near 25th Street, Dean found his calls to the police went largely unanswered because he usually did not have life safety complaints, but rather a noise complaint.
“I’m at the bottom of the queue,” he said.
At a community meeting at the the Mission District police station Tuesday night, Captain Daniel Perea said he was aware of the situation and someone within the department has been working on the case.
Dean said he has lodged a complaint with the Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control. A call to the local office to confirm the complaint was not returned by press time.
If there is a violation, enforcement can be tricky — Dean said officers sometimes do respond while the club is active, but when they ring on the door and nobody answers, they cannot force their way inside to witness potential illegal activity. Perea commented that if officers are allowed inside, the tenants could simply claim they are not charging covers or for the drinks.
Last Wednesday, however, Dean said an officer was able to respond, and the party was shut down. Since then, the event has not operated. Do said they are no longer hosting parties.