Like Megan McArdle, I live in the middle of a big city, surrounded by a mix of commercial and residential properties. I live close to several bars and have observed my neighborhood go from slightly seedy to slightly gentrified. The yuppies (as they were called then) happily bought up the relatively inexpensive houses but immediately began bitching about the noise and traffic. So when I read this:
A nearly perfect house became available. The house we're buying is on a street that I fell in love with the first time I saw it. It's located close to Big Bear Cafe, the neighborhood's single biggest draw. Many of our friends live nearby. The engineer said he loved the house. We can live in it immediately and renovate as we have the cash. And the price is in a range that we can afford.
I knew one day I'd be reading this:
But it is true that London also has more quiet pubs New York--and New York, in turn, has more of them (outside of the East Village) than DC does. And this does make bars and cafes noticeably more unpleasant for the neighbors, as well as the customers. Which in turn causes residents to fight like hell to keep out any business that might attract a late-night crowd.
One possible solution is upzoning--neighborhood bars aren't so obnoxious when you're ten floors above them. But of course, the local residents tend to fight that as well.
Libertarianism in theory always sounds great, but in practice it is meaningless. People don't want loud bars in their neighborhood. Bars want to open in places without bars. Both can't get their way. There is no libertarian solution because we are not rugged individualists who just want to live our lives without anyone forcing us to do anything. If the laws don't allow, you can't put bars wherever you want. If you want to let bars in your neighborhood there is no way to ensure they will be tasteful and quiet. The only thing to do is hope that people won't be selfish and obnoxious, which is something that libertarians usually endorse. Just think--if there weren't so many libertarian-types in the world, libertarians could get what they wanted.
Well, whaddaya know. Sometimes life actually is fair.