From Cody Telep. Follow him on Twitter @codywt, email him at cody[AT]borderstan.com.
The Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) Board voted unanimously at a hearing Tuesday to end the suspension of Tabaq Bistro’s liquor license, effective at 6 pm today, March 7. The restoration of the license is contingent on the approval of Tabaq’s new camera system by an inspector from the Alcoholic Beverage Regulation Administration (ABRA).
That inspection and approval was expected to be completed by 6 pm today. Tabaq Bistro, located at 1336 U Street NW, has been closed since a stabbing of a female patron occurred inside the establishment on February 25 (Stabbing at Tabaq Bistro Early Saturday Leads to Temporary Closure).
The ABC Board vote approved the offer in compromise (OIC) negotiated between the D.C. Office of the Attorney General and Tabaq. The OIC requires certain stipulations from the establishment in exchange for the reinstatement of the liquor license. These include installing additional security cameras on the premises.
Tabaq owner Omer Buyukbayrak noted that additional cameras have already been installed on several floors, including two new cameras in the room where the stabbing took place. The new camera system will also allow for storage of videos for 30 days and will make it possible to make copies of footage as needed.
Tabaq is also required to use additional security personnel during events on Fridays and Saturdays and to provide additional training for security employees within 30 days. Buyukbayrak told the ABC Board that Hospitality Operations Security Techniques (HOST) Staff Trainings will take place on April 2 and 3. A revised written security plan must also be submitted to the ABC Board within 21 days.
Tabaq is no longer permitted to have any events sponsored by promoters and cannot charge a cover for entry. The terms and conditions for outside event contracts have been revised to require Tabaq’s approval for any advertising of events online or on posters. A promoted event, “Love vs. Lust, Roses & Rozay,” was going on the night the stabbing occurred. A March 10 event with a cover charge promoted by Basement Knok’ers Entertainment was originally scheduled for Tabaq Bistro, but has now been relocated to Alero Mexican Restaurant’s location in Columbia Heights.
Fernando Rivero of the Office of Attorney General argued that if Tabaq Bistro met these conditions, then the establishment would not pose an imminent danger and could safely reopen. He also noted that Tabaq did not have a history of problems and this was the first reported serious incident there.
The ABC Board voted unanimously to refer the specific stabbing incident inside Tabaq to the Office of the Attorney General for show cause. While the members of the ABC Board believed Tabaq was no longer an imminent danger to the public, they still believed the incident on February 25 was serious enough to warrant further investigation.
Tabaq Bistro is the third Borderstan establishment in recent months to have their liquor license temporarily suspended due to a violent incident. Mood Lounge and Heritage India also both had their licenses reinstated after an ABC Board hearing.