Later Liquor Sales or “Pay $10,000 in Taxes”? (Not Really, Of Course)

by Borderstan.com April 20, 2012 at 12:00 pm 1,290 5 Comments

By Michelle Lancaster. Follow her and let her know your news on Twitter @MichLancaster. Email her at michellel[AT]borderstan.com.

The most recent town hall event in Foggy Bottom yielded some interesting feedback from the crowd, who seemed decidedly opposed to Mayor Vincent Gray’s proposal to extend liquor sales hours. The move is intended to make up a budget shortfall, but some residents and Council members fear the short-term budget solution would cost residents peace, quiet and safety.

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Would longer hours for liquor sales and bars keep taxes down? (Luis Gomez Photos)

If approved, the change would allow bars and restaurants to continue slinging libations until as late as 4 am beginning October 1. The proposed change would also allow retail liquor sales to begin at 7 am, two hours earlier than what currently stands, Monday through Saturday (same for beer and wine sales at grocery stores). Sunday sales at liquor stores would still be prohibited.

The GW Hatchet covered the event and provided a choice quote. We’ve discussed the resident suing Mood Lounge in the past, and he showed up to voice his displeasure at the idea of having to hear more Beyonce at 3 am (we sympathize).

But the group opposing the liquor extension had best be careful about who they enlist to their cause, because a certain Mr. Smith’s comment may inflame some folks. During his remarks, he said, “”I’d rather have every citizen of DC pay an extra $10,000 a year in taxes to fill the budget hole than have this plan.”

Of course, I am sure the amount would not hit anything close to $10k per year per citizen in extra income tax — but you get the idea.

As noted in an earlier post from Alden Leonard, some local neighborhood listervs have been abuzz over the proposed changes (particularly the U Street one), in areas with a high concentration of bars and clubs. There are concerns about trash and litter, in addition to people being out and about drinking even later.

As a lady that likes her cocktails and just paid DC a good bit of money in taxes, I have to admit this gave me some pause. Clearly, it is not an either booze-all-hours or take a giant-tax-hike-choice. But put in terms like that…”All the Single Ladies” sounds a little less terrible to this writer.

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  • M

    oh great. Even drunker drunk drivers and extremely loud, profane drunks screaming the disgusting details of their sex lives outside my window at 4 AM instead of 3 AM. And who needs to buy liquor at 7 AM? Maybe some of the folks from The Mission? But heaven forbid permitting Sunday liquor sales! Off to VA or MD on Sunday with your boozehound tax dollars! The stupidity of the city government clearly knows no bounds.

  • tj

    People get drunker by the hour. Presently, the 3am screams, noise, public nuisances, public urination, etc will be compounded at 4 am. – not to mention more vandalism, litter, drunk drivers, etc. There are costs for keeping bars open longer. It is not just about the extra money gained. Before any Council votes yes, they should have to spend a nite at my place and try to sleep through the noise from a recently opened outdoor patio bar that never gives me any relief. It is loud every night. I wait for 2AM/3AM for some relief. I don’t need to wait until 3AM/4AM. I am sure the Council members and Mayor have not invested hundreds of thousands of dollars in homes that have been encroached by loud bars. Don’t they all live in the quiet areas of the City? Walk in my shoes before you vote.

    • M

      tj – look into their voluntary agreement. You may have some recourse, depending on what is in the agreement. What you describe is EXACTLY what these agreements are supposed to prevent. Chances are they are WAY in violation. While these agreements don’t cover what the patrons do once they leave the establishment, usually noise levels and hours of operation of outdoor areas are included in these agreements. Also, be sure to document the violations well and be prepared to provide documentation of both the violations AND communications with the management of the establishment (emails, certified letters, etc.). Often when liquor license renewal time comes around, these establishments will pretend that they had no idea that these violations were happening so be prepared to show otherwise. Also, you should contact your ANC board member to see if anything can be done in the meantime.

  • Rob

    Or, rather than ruining life for all of us who love urban living, why don’t you find a place in Burke, or Germantown? There, you will find that they roll up the sidewalks at 10 p.m. which sounds like it would suit you quite nicely, even without a voluntary agreement with which to harass local businesses

    • M

      Rob- so what bar do you work at? Well, maybe when you get a grown up job you’ll realize that the rest of us need to get to sleep before 3AM. Yes, even in the city people need to sleep and making loud noise at 3AM on a residental street is not legal.


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