Court deals a blow to noisy cafes

The capital’s boisterous cafe society was dealt a severe blow last week by a court decision allowing the eviction of noisy street-level coffee shops, bars and like establishments from apartment blocks even if the residents above cannot hear the din. A Supreme Court ruling made public on Saturday rejected an appeal by the owner of a cafe under a Pangrati block of flats against an eviction order that had followed litigation by some of the building’s other residents, who objected to the noise from the ground floor. The court found that even if the racket not reached all the flats above, and although the cafe had a valid permit from municipal authorities, the fact that the building’s regulations did not provide for use of the ground-floor as a coffee shop was enough to justify the establishment’s closure. Two years ago, the Supreme Court ordered the owner of a cafe that played loud music to pay substantial damages to the landlords of the flats above. Many Athens cafes, particularly in built-up areas such as Pangrati, are on the ground floors of apartment blocks.