by Tim Regan December 2, 2016 at 12:00 pm 0

PolicyYou can dance if you want to at Policy on 14th Street. Just as long as it’s not on a dance floor.

That’s what D.C.’s alcohol board found after investigating whether the bar “created a facility for dancing without Board approval” last December. The Alcoholic Beverage Regulation Administration (ABRA) released its findings in an order this week.

The problem first arose last year, when someone emailed regulators claiming that Policy (1904 14th St. NW) “was permitting dancing” and “did not have a dancing endorsement.”

In the District, bars or restaurants that want to have a dance floor or host dance-related events must obtain what’s called an “entertainment endorsement” to do so. There are multiple kinds of entertainment endorsements, and although Policy does have an entertainment endorsement that allows it to have a DJ, it does not have one related to dancing.


by Tim Regan November 21, 2016 at 2:00 pm 5 Comments

Brass Monkey/Spaghetti Garden/Peyote Cafe/Roxanne

(Updated at 2:17 p.m.) A business in Adams Morgan must pay thousands of dollars in fines and surrender its alcohol license for 30 days on charges it failed to maintain some of the records required under its alcohol license, according to D.C.’s Alcoholic Beverage Control Board.

Brass Monkey/Spaghetti Garden/Peyote Cafe/Roxanne, a group of joint businesses at 2317-2319 18th St. NW, must pay $30,000 within 90 days and serve a 30-day suspension of its license starting this Sunday, Nov. 27, according to a D.C. Alcoholic Beverage Control Board disposition published last week.

According to an ABRA case report, investigators found the bar failed to keep the records needed to prove it met its annual food sales requirement under its “class CR,” or restaurant, alcohol license. Under D.C. code, food sales must account for either $2,000 per seat or at least 45 percent of all sales during a gross annual or quarterly period. (more…)

by Tim Regan October 25, 2016 at 3:45 pm 0


A club in the Foggy Bottom area was ordered to pay thousands of dollars in fines and temporarily suspend its liquor sales after serving alcohol to teenagers last year, according to a D.C. Alcoholic Beverage Control Board notice posted last week.

Acott Ventures LLC, the company that owns Shadow Room at 2131 K St. NW, must pay a $5,000 penalty by Dec. 19 to keep its license to serve booze, the panel ruled.

The business also will have its alcohol license suspended from Dec. 21-24, regulators ordered. But it may have to refrain from serving booze six more days if it doesn’t pay its fine on time.

Investigators received a tip from D.C. Police that Shadow Room was selling alcohol to minors, according to an ABRA case report Borderstan obtained. A club bartender sold cranberry vodkas, gin and tonics, and tequila to at least six underage patrons — some of them teens — during a special event on Sept. 13, 2015, a police report says.

The patrons told police the bar’s employees didn’t check their IDs at the door or when buying alcohol.

“MPD detectives observed six minors drinking alcoholic beverages inside the establishment,” an investigator wrote in the report. “The establishment failed to take reasonable steps to ascertain the ages of the individuals.”

A Shadow Room representative did not respond to requests for comment. We’ll update this story if we hear from them.

by Andrew Ramonas September 15, 2016 at 3:45 pm 0

Karma Lounge and Bar at 1936 9th St. NWA Shaw bar that had its liquor license suspended over an assault earlier this year can start serving booze again, the District’s alcohol board ruled yesterday.

Salina Restaurant at 1936 9th St. NW received the D.C. Alcoholic Beverage Control Board’s approval to reopen after agreeing to pay a $12,000 fine and meet other requirements imposed by the panel. The board took away Salina’s liquor license in the days following a May attack that sent a customer to a hospital.

The bar might not resume operations as Salina, however.


by Tim Regan July 29, 2016 at 11:45 am 2 Comments

The Speak bar

(Updated at 3:35 p.m.) Apparent “clerical errors” have caused speakeasy-style bar The Speak to shut its doors, at least for now.

The bar, which reopened at 1413 K St. NW last Tuesday, shared the news with its patrons last night:

“We are working diligently to clear up a simple clerical error and, as a result, have closed in accordance with D.C. regulations,” said brand consultant Seth McClelland in a statement to Borderstan. “In the meantime, we are excited about the opening of Vieux Carre upstairs at the same location to bring delicious New Orleans cocktails to D.C.”

Though the McClelland didn’t specify what the “clerical error” might be, it could have something to do with the speakeasy’s name, according to Washingtonian:

It turns out, however, The Speak may still be a real speakeasy. According to Alcoholic Beverage Regulation Administration spokesperson Jessie Cornelius, it’s a violation for an establishment to operate under any trade name that has not been approved by the liquor board. The Speak is not an approved trade name — only Vieux Carre is listed on the liquor license. Cornelius says ABRA is investigating the matter.

Cornelius confirmed with us this morning that ABRA regulators are still currently looking into the potential trade name conflict.

This isn’t the first time the bar has shut down after conflicts over its licensing. The Speak was shuttered last November after allegedly operating without a valid liquor license.

by Tim Regan July 12, 2016 at 1:30 pm 0

Locals interested in how District alcohol regulations work will have the chance to satisfy their curiosity later this month.

D.C.’s Alcoholic Beverage Regulation Administration (ABRA) will launch a new community training program at the Reeves Center (2000 14th St. NW) on Thursday, July 28 at 6 p.m.

The purpose of the program is to give people an overview of the alcohol regulation process in D.C., according to ABRA public information officer Jessie Cornelius.

“The community plays a key role in alcohol licensing processes in the District,” Cornelius told Borderstan in an email.”This training is intended to proactively provide residents and community groups with information about [ABRA’s] role, a general overview of alcohol licensing in the District, as well as information on settlement agreement, protest and hearing processes.”

The training will be similar to ABRA’s orientation training sessions for businesses and license holders, Cornelius said, but won’t be exactly the same.

“While members of the community have been able to attend that training, the agency thought they would be better served with a training geared towards their questions and concerns,” Cornelius added.

Those interested in attending the meeting should contact ABRA Community Resource Officer Sarah Fashbaugh via email.

by Alyse Mier July 6, 2016 at 4:35 pm 0

Heller's Bakery

A bakery adjoined to a Columbia Heights restaurant is one step closer toward coming to Mount Pleasant.

Paisley Fig, which shares space with Room 11 at 3234 11th St. NW, has applied for a liquor license for a stand-alone location, according to a notice the D.C. Alcoholic Beverage Regulation Administration published this week.

Nick Pimentel, who owns Room 11 and Paisley Fig, announced last July he is planning to open the bakery in the former Heller’s Bakery space. Heller’s closed in December 2014 after more than 80 years in business.

Pimentel wasn’t immediately available to comment.

Paisley Fig is set to sport a “full service restaurant and bakery” in Mount Pleasant, according to the ABRA paperwork.

It wasn’t immediately clear when the new restaurant will open.

by Tim Regan June 15, 2016 at 1:45 pm 0

Pansaari 17th St NW

A Dupont restaurant and event space centered around wholesome Indian food might add alcohol to the menu.

Pansaari (1603 17th St. NW) has applied to serve alcohol, according to a filing with D.C.’s Alcoholic Beverage Regulation Administration (ABRA).

The business routinely serves chai and brunch fare and also hosts community gatherings such as movie nights, cooking classes and other instructional events.

A Pansaari representative wasn’t immediately available to comment.

Another 17th Street restaurant, Dupont Italian Kitchen (1637 17th St. NW), has applied to create an outdoor seating area with room for 15 patrons, according to the ABRA filing.

The D.C. Alcoholic Beverage Control Board is expected to rule on both eateries’ applications in the coming months.

by Andrew Ramonas May 24, 2016 at 3:30 pm 0

A Shaw bar that had an assault last week can’t serve booze for now after D.C. regulators suspended its liquor license yesterday, according to District officials.

Karma Lounge and Bar at 1936 9th St. NW is barred from selling alcohol indefinitely, according to D.C. Alcoholic Beverage Control Board notices posted on its windows. But the panel is scheduled to hold a hearing to review its decision Thursday.

The suspension came after D.C. Police Chief Cathy Lanier last Thursday ordered Karma closed until the board could make a determination on whether to suspend the bar’s alcohol license, held by a man named Terfneh Kahsay, according to ABRA documents.

Kahsay owned the bar’s previous occupant, Salina Restaurant, which was the scene of a homicide in 2010. But he never transferred the liquor license to Efrem Alazar, who bought the business in November and started calling it Karma.

Borderstan’s efforts to reach a Karma representative for comment weren’t immediately successful.


by Andrew Ramonas May 20, 2016 at 12:35 pm 0

(Updated 11 a.m. Monday) Police shut down a bar in Shaw after someone there threw a bottle at a man’s head in an attack that sent him to the hospital early yesterday morning, according to authorities.

The assault happened in Karma Lounge and Bar at 1936 9th St. NW about 12:30 a.m. Thursday.

The victim was eating and drinking with his cousin at a table in Karma when somebody hurled a bottle at his head and then ran from the bar, police said.

The man was brought to a local hospital for treatment.

Authorities haven’t released a description of the suspect.


by Andrew Ramonas April 26, 2016 at 12:00 pm 1 Comment

Piassa EthioCuisine & CafeAn Ethiopian restaurant that opened in Shaw last summer is trying to put beer, wine and hard liquor on its menu.

Piassa EthioCuisine & Cafe at 1336 9th St. NW now has a liquor license application on file with the D.C. Alcoholic Beverage Regulation Administration, according to a notice the agency published yesterday.

Joseph Teshome, a co-owner of Piassa, told Borderstan today he is hoping to have Ethiopian beer and wine and other alcoholic beverages to complement his Ethiopian and American dishes. Operating an eatery that serves food, but not alcohol, is “not really profitable” in Shaw, he said.


by Andrew Ramonas April 25, 2016 at 3:05 pm 0

1920dc in 2013

A defunct restaurant can return to Shaw and serve alcohol, after its owner pays tens of thousands of dollars in fines that she racked up from running afoul with D.C. regulators, the District’s liquor board ruled last week.

Asefu Alemayehu can get back her liquor license for Yegna at 1920 9th St. NW, if she hands over $30,000 to the D.C. government to settle a case stemming from after-hours booze sales, according to an Alcoholic Beverage Control Board order.

Yegna closed in 2013 after it lost the liquor license it shared with 1920dc, a nightclub that was in the same building as Alemayehu’s restaurant. The club, which isn’t owned by Alemayehu, also shut down that year, but has continued to hold pop-up events at bars around the District.


by Tim Regan April 5, 2016 at 3:35 pm 0

Cupid Bar Crawl, photo via Project D.C.The promoters behind a once-imperiled Valentine’s Day bar crawl have won approval from D.C. alcohol regulators to move ahead with the event two months later than originally planned.

Cupid’s Bar Crawl, which was put on hold after hitting opposition from D.C.’s Alcoholic Beverage Control Board in February, will now take place on April 23, said Michael Bramson, a managing member at event company Project D.C.


by Tim Regan March 17, 2016 at 12:30 pm 0

Madam's Organ, photo via flickr/Adam Fagen(Updated at 1:12 p.m.) An Adams Morgan bar is suing D.C.’s Alcoholic Beverage Regulation Administration over what it calls “false” reports by agency investigators, it announced today.

Madam’s Organ at 2461 18th St. NW claims the ABRA officials made the inaccurate reports during an investigation last September. The bar “seeks to recover damages for defamatory statements” made by those investigators, according to a complaint filed in D.C. Superior Court earlier this month.


by Tim Regan March 10, 2016 at 3:50 pm 0

Dupont nightclub The Huxley was ordered to pay a $5,000 fine and serve a suspension of its alcohol license for serving bottles of vodka and prosecco on ice to teenagers last Halloween, according to a D.C. Alcoholic Beverage Control Board notice posted last week.

Triangle Group LLC, which owns the nightclub and bar at 1730 M St. NW, must pay a $5,000 fine by March 11, the panel ruled Wednesday. The business will also have its alcohol license suspended for ten days, six of which will be “stayed for a period of one year provided that [The Huxley] incurs no further violations.”



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