Business

Miami Beach restaurant saxophonist who sparked free-speech lawsuit can keep playing — for now

Bakehouse Brasserie in South Beach is suing the city of Miami Beach after city inspectors ruled that its live saxophone music played from 11 a.m. through 2 p.m. violates city code.
Bakehouse Brasserie in South Beach is suing the city of Miami Beach after city inspectors ruled that its live saxophone music played from 11 a.m. through 2 p.m. violates city code. cmguerrero@elnuevoherald.com

The city of Miami Beach and trendy restaurant Bakehouse Brasserie seemed to have struck a temporary truce over brunch-time saxophone music that sparked a free-speech lawsuit.

Emphasis on seemed.

Bakehouse would temporarily be allowed to have “a single unamplified saxophone performer play at a level that does not interferer with normal conversation” during the Sunday brunch hours of 11 a.m. and 2 p.m., according to a memo that City Attorney Raul Aguila sent to Mayor Philip Levine and city commission members Friday.

In return, the restaurant agreed to waive all damages and litigation costs, including attorney’s fees, that may result from a free-speech lawsuit Bakehouse filed against the city earlier this month.

Bakehouse attorney Ron Lowy confirmed the agreement.

The dispute concerns a city zoning restriction banning entertainment in South Beach’s fashionable but noise-conscious South of Fifth district. The lawsuit claims that the First Amendment protects the right of the restaurant to play live music at a reasonable volume. (One exception to the ban: “Piano and strings” music is allowed, but in a different part of the neighborhood.)

Now it seems the restaurant may not have gotten the message.

An ad on Bakehouse’s website still advertises a jazz brunch between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. on both Saturday and Sunday.

And spokeswoman Jami Baker confirmed the restaurant planned to host a saxophonist on both days. (Anthony Corrado will perform Saturday and Alex Dean on Sunday, Baker said.)

The cease-fire only applies until a judge resolves the lawsuit, which was filed in state court but is now being heard in federal court at the city’s request.

“To be clear, we believe the City’s ordinance to be constitutional and defensible, and we will defend the ordinance’s prohibition of entertainment establishments in the City’s South of Fifth District,” the memo stated.

This story has been updated to include comments from Jami Baker.

Miami Herald staff writer Joey Flechas contributed to this report.

Nicholas Nehamas: 305-376-3745, @NickNehamas

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