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October 20, 2010

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Rowdy bar may be shut down

A BAR popular in the gay community has been warned it will be shut down if its customers continue to disturb residents.

Shanghai Studio, which is in an air-raid shelter on Huaihai Road M., will be closed by its landlord, the Changning District Air Defense Bureau, if complaints persist, the bureau's director said.

Residents living near the bar told Shanghai Daily that it is often extremely noisy late at night.

A security guard in the area even said a surveillance camera captured two men having sex outdoors.

Some residents blamed the bureau for renting out the basement shelter to the bar without their permission three years ago.

"I don't care whether those men are gay or not," said an 83-year-old resident, surnamed Chen.

"The basement is supposed to be an air raid shelter for nearby residents, but how can it be used in an emergency if it's being used as a bar?"

The air defense bureau's director, surnamed Zhao, said Shanghai Studio was yesterday offered one final chance to improve management and stop disturbing residents, otherwise its contract would be terminated and the bar would be forced to close.

Zhao said they rented out the shelter three years ago as an art gallery and didn't realize it had become a popular bar famous as a "gathering place for gays."

He said regulations on the management of underground spaces didn't ban them from renting out the shelter as a bar during peacetime.

Zhao added that the rent money was used to maintain other shelters in Changning.

"The bar has a business license issued by the city's industry department," Zhao said.

"We have also conducted surprise spot checks several times, but we didn't find any evidence of illegal business."

Shanghai Studio's manager, surnamed Cao, said they run a clean business and that gay sex is banned at the bar.

"We will send out more security guards to patrol outside the bar at night so our customers don't make a lot of noise when they leave," the manager said.

A security guard at a nearby residential building said a surveillance camera once caught two men having sex in a dark corner around the building.

"It's disgusting," said the security guard, who refused to be named. "They thought they were safe in that little corner, but we have an advanced infrared surveillance system that provides clear pictures."

Others expressed concern about Halloween as the bar is usually very noisy that night.

"Last Halloween many customers smashed glass bottles after they got drunk and some even vomited on the ground," said a worker of a nearby company surnamed Chen.


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