43°Partly Cloudy

by Borderstan.com — April 15, 2013 at 4:00 pm 0

"Bin"

BIN 1301 is looking for community support. (Luis Gomez Photos)

BIN 1301 Wine Bar will be a new restaurant serving Mexican food at 1301 U Street NW. The owners have created an online petition looking for community support for obtaining a liquor license.

The new restaurant will occupy the location of U-Scream Ice Cream & Treatery. The new restaurant will have a seating capacity of 36 inside and 35 for the sidewalk patio.

If you would like to support Bin 1301 just head to the online petition. The petition invites you to sign if you think a place like this will enhance the neighborhood by providing a unique place to enjoy a glass of wine, learn more about various wines, and relax with friends.

Get an RSS Feed for all Borderstan stories or subscribe to Borderstan’s daily email newsletter.

by Borderstan.com — March 28, 2013 at 8:00 am 1 Comment

From David McAuley. Email him at david[AT]borderstan.com.

"Fainting Goat"

Future site of the Fainting Goat at 1330 U Street NW. (Luis Gomez Photos)

The protest by Advisory Neighborhood Commission (ANC) 1B against the liquor license application of the aspiring proprietors of the Fainting Goat Tavern was rejected on March 21, according to public documents.

In a letter to ANC1B Commissioner Marc Morgan (ANC Secretary and commissioner for district 01), DC’s Alcoholic Beverage Regulation Administration (ABRA) said that the protest letter had been denied “because of failure to file a timely protest.”

No one from ANC1B appeared at the ABRA Roll Call hearing on March 25 to contest the denial. The purpose of Roll Call hearings is only to identify the parties that have standing as protestants. A separate hearing is scheduled for May 15 to discuss the substance of the protests.

ANC 1B Serves U Street Area

The Fainting Goat’s proposed location is 1330 U Street NW, the former location of Urban Essentials. A petition in support of the Fainting Goat’s liquor license application appeared on the web site Change.org on March 14. ANC1B voted to protest the application at a contentious March 7 meeting. Borderstan reported on March 18 that the ANC’s protest documents had apparently vanished on their way to ABRA.

1B-12 Commissioner Zahra Jilani in a March 22 email explained the circumstances which led to the impression that the documents had disappeared. She said, “I was told to send the letter on behalf of the commission, but that a text email was fine. I believe this was due to a miscommunication between our ANC and ABRA. I sent the letter the night before the deadline, but I was told the next day by ABRA that it was in the wrong format, which is why they told you they hadn’t received it. Once aware of this, I let the commission know and we sent it in the correct format to ABRA.”

Information on the ABRA website says that protests against liquor licenses can be faxed or emailed. All email protests must be sent as a PDF document and signed. These two methods are the only ways to officially file a protest with ABRA.

ANC1B may still appeal ABRA’s decision at the May 15 hearing. If they do, they must show “good cause” for missing the deadline to the ABC Board, according to ABRA records supervisor William Hager. He also said that, in the past, tardy petitioners had shown “good cause” in cases where inclement weather or government shutdown had occurred at petition deadlines. Hager would not speculate on whether ANC1B’s current circumstances might be considered “good cause”.

“Requests of this nature are entirely left to the discretion of the ABC Board,” Hager said in an email.

The Fainting Goat still must face two protesting groups at its May 15 hearing: the Shaw Dupont Citizens Alliance and a group of 14 residents, most of whom live on Wallach Place NW. However, if ANC 1B does not successfully appeal the rejection, the Fainting Goat may have a better chance at finally obtaining the liquor license. The law stipulates that ABRA must give “great weight” to an ANC opinion. Citizen group petitioners do not enjoy this level of influence.

Get an RSS Feed for all Borderstan stories or subscribe to Borderstan’s daily email newsletter.

by Borderstan.com — March 21, 2013 at 6:39 am 12 Comments

From David McAuley. Email him at david[AT]borderstan.com.

Lining up to testify at listening session. (David McAuley)

Neighbors line up to testify at Wednesday night’s town hall meeting on the proposed liquor license moratorium for the 14th and U corridor. (David McAuley)

Sentiment ran almost 6 to 1 against the proposed 14th and U Streets liquor license moratorium at last night’s town hall style listening session.  Advisory Neighborhood Commissions (ANCs) 1B (U Street),  2B/Dupont and 2F/Logan all sent members to attend the meeting at the basketball court of the Thurgood Marshall Center on 12th Street NW to hear what the public had to say.

About 160 people attended the event, filling every chair, then sitting and standing against the walls. My final count was 47 people testifying against, 8 for and 3 neutral. Of the 47 people testifying against, only two identified themselves as not living in or near the moratorium district. On Twitter, other witnesses put the count at 48 against, 8 for; 46 against, 9 for; and 41 against, 7 for.

ANC chairs in attendance were Tony Norman (1B-10) and Matt Raymond (2F-07). All three commissions sent the chairs of their respective alcohol licensing affairs committees: John Fanning (2F-04), Jeremy Leffler (1B-02) and Kevin O’Connor (2B-02). At least 10 other commissioners from across the three ANCs attended as well.

There are currently five liquor license moratorium zones in DC: Georgetown, Glover Park, Adams Morgan, Dupont West (21st and P NW) and Dupont East (17th Street NW). The 17th Street liquor license moratorium is due to expire in September 2013.

Opening Statements

Leffler called the meeting to order at 7 pm and Commissioner Noah Smith (2B-09) explained the meeting guidelines. The original plan was for each speaker to have two minutes to address the listening commissioners, but due to the overwhelming response, the time was cut back to 90 seconds. As a result, the meeting finished at planned 9 pm time.

Before citizen testimony period, the attendees heard remarks by Assistant Attorney General Jonathan Berman of the Alcoholic Beverage Regulation Administration (ABRA), Sgt. Iris Beistline of the Metropolitan Police Department (MPD), and Joan Sterling, president of the Shaw Dupont Citizens Alliance (SDCA), the group petitioning for the liquor license moratorium. SDCA membership is limited to residents living between 12th and 15th Streets and S and U Streets NW.

  • ABRA had found that SDCA satisfied the minimum requirement for filing the moratorium petition, Berman said. He also said that the other group who signed the petition, the Residential Action Coalition, had not qualified for standing before ABRA, and would no longer be considered a petitioner. However, the SDCA may continue the petitioning process before the ABC Board, which will next consider the matter on May 22.
  • In answer to audience questions, Berman said that the normal term for moratoriums was five years, but could be renewed. He then said that, once enacted, no liquor license moratorium had ever been dissolved.
  • Beistline said the MPD could not supply relevant crime statistics because there were none available. A new computer system was being put in place, she explained, and some statistics were still inaccurate.
  • Sterling then pleaded the SDCA’s case for the moratorium. She noted the difficulty in getting the DC government to enforce the law concerning the percentage of street frontage that can be given to liquor licensees on any block. (The Uptown Arts District Overlay limits the square footage of ground-floor storefronts serving food/drink on each block to 50% of all square footage facing the street on that block. The percentage was increased to 50% from 25% in 2010.)
  • Sterling also noted that there are now 16,000 combined seats in the establishments of the liquor licensees in the zone. She said that, since the zone had well over 18 liquor licensees, it met ABRA’s definition of an “overconcentration” of licensees. “Moratoriums are temporary,” Sterling added.

Testimony from Attendees

After Sterling’s statement, the floor was turned over to the public. “Let’s keep this civil,” Leffler reminded. People lined up in an orderly manner to speak. Nearly every person stated his or her name and address or ANC district. Here is a selection of comments:

  • “I oppose the moratorium. I vote and I’ll remember.”
  • “This process draws in thousands and thousands of man-hours. It’s a complete waste of resources. Six people made us come here. It’s time to reform the system.”
  •  “I have been awakened at all hours of the night by music I can literally sing along to.”
  • “I’m strongly opposed. I love the vibrancy. It’s just awesome.”
  • “The moratorium is too blunt an instrument.”
  • “There’s no actual evidence that the moratorium will lead to prosperity.”
  • “A lot of people are saying that there are other solutions. What? Will someone pick up my trash?”
  • “Why stall development in the neighborhood?”
  • “Remember the Georgetown moratorium. It didn’t fix the noise, the parking, the litter.”
  • “A moratorium is not right. Hold each bar and restaurant responsible.”
  • “It’s anti-small business, anti-competition. I’m inalterably opposed.”
  • “It’s good to see people getting involved.”
  • “It’s kind of a joke that we’re here tonight.”
  • “I like vibrancy.”
  • “My fear is stagnation in the community,” said a man identified on Twitter as the owner of DC9 nightclub. He went on to say that retail space should be encouraged, ways should be found for rents to be lower, there should be tax relief, and ABRA should be convinced to work on “bad apple” liquor licensees.
  • The only sign of incivility occurred toward the end when one man, a moratorium supporter, decided to take aim at the newly opened Matchox restaurant at 14th and T NW. He disparaged the restaurant and its food, much to the surprise of other attendees.

Next Steps

“That was fantastic,” Jeremy Leffler said after the final testimony. “I’m impressed by the turnout, passion and research.” To conclude the meeting, each ANC briefly outlined their next steps.

  • Leffler said that ANC1B’s liquor license affairs committee would meet tonight, March 21, at the Thurgood Marshall Center. A vote on the proposed moratorium is on the agenda. The committee’s recommendation would then be considered when ANC1B has its regular monthly meeting on April 4 at the Reeves Center.
  • Raymond said that ANC2F would have its regular monthly meeting on April 3 and a vote on the moratorium would be on the agenda.
  • O’Connor said that ANC2B would consider the issue on its May 8 meeting, before which he hoped to have one or two more listening sessions.
One after the other neighbors lined up. (David McAuley)

Attendees lined up to speak at Wednesday night’s town hall. (David McAuley)

Get an RSS Feed for all Borderstan stories or subscribe to Borderstan’s daily email newsletter.

by Borderstan.com — February 4, 2013 at 2:00 pm 0

From Rachel Nania. Check out her blog, Sear, Simmer & Stir. Follow Nania on Twitter @rnania, email her at rachel[AT]borderstan.com.

"ANC"

ANC 2F covers the Logan Circle area. (DC Board of Elections)

On Wednesday, February 6, Advisory Neighborhood Commission (ANC) 2F will hold its regular monthly meeting. Only this meeting will include a topic that has received a lot of local attention: liquor license moratoriums.

Commissioner John Fanning, chair of ANC 2F’s ABRA Committee, will lead a discussion regarding the proposed liquor license moratorium for 14th and U streets NW. ANC 2F covers the Logan Circle area.

Additionally, the meeting will address the Sunday parking ban in some parts of ANC 2F. A representative from DDOT will be on hand to explain the proposal to consider Sunday parking restrictions and to take questions from the commission and the community.

The ANC meeting is open to the public and will take place Wednesday, February 6, at 7 pm at the Washington Plaza Hotel in Thomas Circle.

Get an RSS Feed for all Borderstan stories or subscribe to Borderstan’s daily email newsletter.

by Borderstan.com — December 6, 2012 at 10:00 am 0

From Rachel Nania. Check out her blog, Sear, Simmer & Stir. Follow Nania on Twitter @rnania, email her at rachel[AT]borderstan.com. 

"liquor license"

On December 4, the DC Council took its first vote on overhauling the city’s liquor licensing laws. (Luis Gomez Photos)

On Tuesday the DC Council met to to take the first vote on a controversial bill addressing liquor licensing for local businesses, and residents’ roles in the process. Many issues were on the table regarding liquor licensing, including how long it takes to obtain a license and who can squash it.

The legislation came before the Council following work done by a large task force headed by Councilmember Jim Graham (D-Ward 1). What did happen on Tuesday?

  • The Council passed a provision to get rid of any “Gang of 5” license protest if a venue applying for a license reaches agreement with Advisory Neighborhood Commission (ANC) — essentially giving an ANC first standing in liquor license protests.
  • According to Tim Craig, reporter for The Washington Post, the council defeated Councilmember Cheh’s amendment,which strengthened the ability of five or more residents to protest a neighborhood liquor license. Graham, Orange, Barry, Graham Brown, Evans and Wells voted against the amendment. Alexander, Bowser, Cheh, McDuffie and Mendelson voted for it.
  • The requirement that “Gang of 5” members protesting a liquor license application or renewal live within a 400-foot radius around an establishment was taken out of the bill. (See DC Liquor Board Reaffirms Hank’s Oyster Bar Decision and Poll: Most Readers Say 5 People Not Enough to Protest Liquor Licenses).
  • D.C. Hospitality reports that the Council also approved a measure that requires the city’s Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) Board to act on licensing applications in a quicker time frame — of great importance to businesses that are essentially waiting to open pending approval of a liquor license.
  • And as Dcist reports, sometime next year, liquor stores will be able to open for business on Sundays.

The final vote on the bill is scheduled for Tuesday, December 18.

Large Number of Licenses in Area

There are 1,586 liquor licenses of all types in DC, according to the DC Alcoholic Beverage Regulation Administration (ABRA). The battles over liquor licenses in the Dupont, Logan and U Street neighborhoods are more easily put into perspective when you look at the numbers — what wards, ANCs and areas have the most liquor licenses. Statistics from ABRA show how dominant our locales are in the ranks of DC’s watering holes: Ward 2 (Dupont-Logan) is home to 40% of all the city’s liquor licenses, followed by Ward 1 (which includes most of the U Street corridor) with 16%. In third place is Ward 6 (Capitol Hill) with 15%. It’s important to point out that Ward 2 includes Georgetown, in addition to Dupont-Logan and areas south of Dupont Circle. Ward 1 also includes Adams Morgan and Columbia Heights. Other DC Wards: Ward 3 has about 11% of all licenses; Ward 5 has 7%; Ward 4 has 6%; Ward 7 about 3%; and Ward 8 about 2.5% of all the city’s liquor licenses.

Licenses in Local ANCs

A look at number of licenses by Advisory Neighborhood Commission level is more revealing. ANC 2B/Dupontis home to 14.44% of all liquor licenses in the city (229) — keep in mind that the boundaries of ANC 2B extend well south of Dupont Circle and reach Pennsylvania Avenue at some points. (See DC Liquor Licenses by the Numbers: Ward 2, 40% and Ward 1, 16%.)

ANC 2F (Logan Circle and a big chunk of 14th Street NW) has 111 liquor licenses, about 7% of the city’s total. ANC 1B has 91 licenses, about 6% of all licenses in DC — 1B includes the U Street corridor and large swath of territory to the north plus Howard University. Together, these three ANCs are home to 431 of 1,586 licenses, about 27% of the city’s total. Throw in ANC 2C/Shaw and you have another 7% of all liquor licenses in DC. How many are in ANC 1C, home to Adams Morgan? That ANC has 84 licenses, about 5% of all the DC liquor licenses.

The exact numbers are as follows:

ANC # ABC Licenses % of All DC Licenses
ANC 1B (U Street corridor and Columbia Heights) 91 5.74%
ANC 2B (Dupont Circle) 229 14.44%
ANC 2F (Logan Circle) 113 7.12%
ANC 2C (Shaw) 111 7.00%

Get an RSS Feed for all Borderstan stories or subscribe to Borderstan’s daily email newsletter.

by Borderstan.com — September 13, 2012 at 1:52 pm 1 Comment

Hank’s Oyster Bar was forced to close half of its patio seating, but with the ABC Board’d decision that will change tonight. (Luis Gomez Photos)

From Tom Hay. Questions for Tom? Send him an email at Tom[AT]borderstan.com. You can follow him on Twitter
@Tomonswann.

The Washington City Paper reported today that the District of Columbia Alcoholic Beverage Control Board (ABC) has ruled that Hank’s Oyster Bar did meet all three criteria for termination of the Voluntary Agreement (VA), which the Dupont Circle restaurant had been operating under since opening in 2005.

The ABC Board had first issued an order in 2010 allowing termination of the VA. That decision was appealed to the DC Court of Appeals by several of the original signatories who protested Hank’s alcohol license. The appellate court ruled in May 2012 that the ABC Board erred in their decision which prompted the Alcoholic Beverage Regulation Administration to shut down half of Hank’s outdoor patio, just as the busy outdoor dining season was getting underway.Hank’s has posted on their Facebook page that full patio seating will be available tonight at 1624 Q Street NW.

The most recent order by the ABC Board allows Jamie Leeds, Hank’s chef and owner, to seat the patio dining area to full capacity. The partial closure of the patio prompted an online petition in support of Leeds and came just weeks before hearings on revisions to the District’s alcohol laws. The proposed legislation limits what may be included in a VA and also further defines who has standing to protest a liquor license.

See the related posts below for more information on the Hank’s saga.

by Borderstan.com — July 9, 2012 at 4:00 pm 0

Map of neighborhood

ANC 2B represents the Dupont Circle neighborhood. Both ANC 2B and ANC 2F (Logan and Thomas Circles) will host monthly meetings on Wednesday, July 11. (Borderstan)

From Rachel Nania. Check out her blog, Sear, Simmer & Stir. Follow Nania on Twitter @rnania, email her at rachel[AT]borderstan.com

Two local Advisory Neighborhood Commissions, ANC 2B (covering Dupont Circle) and ANC 2F (representing Logan and Thomas Circles), will hold monthly meetings this Wednesday, July 11. The ANC 2B meeting will take place from 7 to 9:50 pm in the Somers Room at the Brookings Institution, 1775 Massachusetts Avenue NW. TJihe ANC 2F meeting will  be from 7 until 9 pm at the Washington Plaza Hotel, 10 Thomas Circle NW.

On the 2B Agenda are topics such as progress on the Dupont South Metro entrance, public space applications (including a sidewalk café for G Street Food and a sidewalk café for the Bier Baron), historic preservation and zoning applications for Sylvia Kotz Realty Revocable Trust and Epiphania, LLC; and alcohol applications (including a license for Sala Thai, a sidewalk café endorsement for Fuel Pizza, a multi-purpose license for Merlots Art, LLC and a CR license for Ted’s Bulletin.

The ANC 2F agenda includes commissioner and community reports, the community development report and the treasurer’s report. Other items to be discussed are ABRA applications for El Sauce Restaurant, Ted’s Bulletin and Belga Café. Additionally, committee members will discuss the Omnibus Alcoholic Beverage Regulation Amendment Act of 2012 introduced by Councilmember Jim Graham (D-Ward 1).

Get an RSS Feed for all Borderstan stories.

by Borderstan.com — June 22, 2012 at 2:00 pm 1 Comment

All Souls entered into a Voluntary Agreement with neighbors for its 725 T Street NW location. (Tom Hay).

From Rachel Nania. Check out her blog, Sear, Simmer & Stir. Follow Nania on Twitter @rnania, email her at rachel[AT]borderstan.com

As the story goes in DC, obtaining the necessary licenses to open a restaurant business can be a long process.  — especially when dealing with a liquor license from DC’s Alcoholic Beverage Regulation Administration (ABRA). And for local restaurant entrepreneur, David Batista, this battle seemed like an impossible win. (Also, check out Schools and taverns can coexist at Greater Greater Washington.)

This past spring, Batista made the evening news with his efforts to open a neighborhood bar near 8th and T Streets NW. However, these efforts were quickly halted when neighbors of the (currently abandoned) 725 T Street storefront opposed Batista’s business venture.

According to the ABC Board’s “Findings of Fact, Conclusions of Law and Order,” some of the opposing neighbors are worried about noise, increased drug activity and public drinking, while others are worried about decreased property values, parking and the proximity of the bar to Cleveland Elementary School.

Despite these grievances, the Board sided with Batista on June 20 and granted him a Retailer’s Class CT License for his bar, All Souls, as well as a Voluntary Agreement (VA) with area neighbors. Not green to the DC restaurant scene, Batista’s previous restaurant experience includes managing Jose Andres’ Jaleo and Zaytinya. All Souls is expected to open in the fall of 2012.

Get an RSS Feed for the P&G Section, or an RSS Feed for all Borderstan stories.

 

by Borderstan.com — June 18, 2012 at 2:59 pm 0

"Hank's Oyster Bar Patio"

Until the ABC Board rules, Hank’s Oyster Bar at 1624 Q Street NW is only allowed to use half of its patio space to serve diners. (Luis Gomez Photos)

There is now an online petition supporting Hank’s Oyster Bar, and owner-chef Jamie Leeds, in its dispute with a hand full of protestants over its outdoor patio space and Voluntary Agreement (V.A.). The name of the petition is “Alcoholic Beverage Regulation Administration: Rule in Favor of Hank’s Oyster Bar Dupont Circle.” The peititon is to Alcoholic Beverage Regulation Administration Director Fred Moosally; Ward 2 Council Member Jack Evans (D-Ward 2); Councilmember Jim Graham (D-Ward 1) and ABC Committee Chair; and DC Mayor Vincent Gray.

Hank’s V.A. was with six protesters who live in the general vicinity of the restaurant on Q Street just off 17th Street NW. Hank’s was allowed to terminate its V.A. in November 2010, but in May the District of Columbia Appeals Court remanded the ruling back to the Alcohol Beverage Control (ABC) Board. The hearing on the case was June 13; the ABC Board has up to 90 days to rule. The Alcoholic Beverage Regulation Administration (ABRA) is the agency that oversees DC liquor laws. The ABC Board, composed of mayoral appointees, makes decisions on cases. Only two of the original six protesters were party to the appeal to the court.

The petition was created at change.org and organizers are aiming for 5,000 signatures. Late last week the Restaurant Association Metropolitan Washington (RAMW) called on supporters to back Hank’s. Last week, Leeds posted a letter on her restaurant door, website and Facebook page asking for community support.

Get an RSS Feed for the Business Section, or an RSS Feed for all Borderstan stories.

 

by Borderstan.com — May 2, 2012 at 12:00 pm 1 Comment

"Borderstan"

Ward 2 is home to 40% of all DC liquor licenses. One-third of all licenses are in four local Advisory Neighborhood Commissions. (Luis Gomez Photos)

From Alden Leonard. Contact him at alden[AT]borderstan.com and follow him @aldenleonard on Twitter.

The onerous process of obtaining a DC liquor license is a common complaint among business owners — although you might find more varied opinions among some residents. The process often involves reaching a formal Voluntary Agreement (VA) between a business, groups of residents, Advisory Neighborhood Commissions (ANCs) and community organizations — which often set limitations on hours of operation, serving of alcohol on outdoor patio areas and more.

There are 1,586 liquor licenses of all types in DC, according to the DC Alcoholic Beverage Regulation Administration (ABRA). The battles over liquor licenses in the Dupont, Logan and U Street neighborhoods are more easily put into perspective when you look at the numbers — what wards, ANCs and areas have the most liquor licenses.

Most of the Borderstan area is in Ward 2 (Dupont-Logan) while the remainder is around the U Street corridor in Ward 1. This explains why the agendas of ANCs 2B, 2F and 1B often include long lists of items related to liquor licenses.

Given the proximity of our neighborhoods to downtown DC, and the booming residential-commercial market in the area, the numbers really shouldn’t be surprising. The area has some of the city’s most vibrant commercial districts — Connecticut Avenue, 18th Street, 17th Street, 14th Street, U Street and 9th Street NW.

Licenses by Ward

Statistics from ABRA show how dominant our locales are in the ranks of DC’s watering holes: Ward 2 is home to 40% of all the city’s liquor licenses, followed by Ward 1 with 16%. In third place is Ward 6 (Capitol Hill) with 15%. It’s important to point out that Ward 2 includes Georgetown, in addition to Dupont-Logan and areas south of Dupont Circle. Ward 1 also includes Adams Morgan and Columbia Heights. Other DC Wards: Ward 3 has about 11% of all licenses; Ward 5 has 7%; Ward 4 has 6%; Ward 7 about 3%; and Ward 8 about 2.5% of all the city’s liquor licenses.

Licenses in Local ANCs

A look at number of licenses by Advisory Neighborhood Commission level is more revealing. ANC 2B/Dupont is home to 14.44% of all liquor licenses in the city (229) — keep in mind that the boundaries of ANC 2B extend well south of Dupont Circle and reach Pennsylvania Avenue at some points.

ANC 2F (Logan Circle and a big chunk of 14th Street NW) has 111 liquor licenses, about 7% of the city’s total. ANC 1B has 91 licenses, about 6% of all licenses in DC — 1B includes the U Street corridor and large swath of territory to the north plus Howard University. Together, these three ANCs are home to 431 of 1,586 licenses, about 27% of the city’s total. Throw in ANC 2C/Shaw and you have another 7% of all liquor licenses in DC.

How many are in ANC 1C, home to Adams Morgan? That ANC has 84 licenses, about 5% of all the DC liquor licenses.

The exact numbers are as follows:

ANC # ABC Licenses % of All DC Licenses
ANC 1B (U Street corridor and Columbia Heights) 91 5.74%
ANC 2B (Dupont Circle) 229 14.44%
ANC 2F (Logan Circle) 113 7.12%
ANC 2C (Shaw) 111 7.00%

 

That means more than one-third of all DC ABC licenses are held by businesses in Borderstan. So why do I end up at the same two bars every weekend?

Related Posts

Like reading Borderstan’s Politics & Government stories? Get an RSS Feed for the P&G Section, or an RSS Feed for all Borderstan stories.

by Borderstan.com — April 30, 2012 at 12:00 pm 1 Comment

"Borderstan" "U and 14th Street NW", Luis, Gomez, Photos, liquor, licenses, DC, nightlife

The 14th and U corridor has become of DC’s most popular destinations for restaurants, music and clubs. (Luis Gomez Photos)

From Tom Hay. Questions for Tom? Send him an email at Tom[AT]borderstan.com and follow him on Twitter @Tomonswann.

Late last week, on April 25 news of an online petition opposing the possibility of an Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) license moratorium in the 14th and U Street / MidCity neighborhoods landed in Borderstan’s email box. Bryan Martin Firvida created the petition on the site Change.org petition on Wednesday and it is already has almost 400 signatures as of Monday morning.

Martin Firvida is a past president of the U Street Neighborhood Association (USNA), elected president four times, 2002 to 2004 and again in 2010. He also served as chair of USNA’s Business Development and ABC Committee and served on the USNA Board of Directors. Martin Firvida also spent four years as a Special Assistant in the Executive Office of the Mayor and the Office of the City Administrator working on neighborhood issues.

In their comments, the petition’s signers overwhelmingly expressed their support for the growth, diversity and development of the U street area. Former president of the U Street Neighborhood Association, Martin Firvida, a resident of the U street area,  appears to have created the petition as a preemptive measure to the possibility of a moratorium.

Martin Firvida told Borderstan, “I set up the petition as a way for my neighbors to both proactively express their support for our neighborhood, and for addressing the issues we face in a smart and comprehensive way, while also registering their opposition to an ABC license moratorium. Just like any of the vibrant neighborhoods here in the District, we have a complex mix of quality of life issues that can really only be effectively managed through ongoing collaboration — which is accomplished by bringing residents, businesses and government to the table to work together. A moratorium does none of that.”

Another factor at play in the area is a current zoning restriction, which limits the total square footage of restaurant, club and lounge storefronts to 50%. This restriction was raised from 25% in 2010, and is part of an arts overlay district that was put into place a number of years ago.

The 14th and U/MidCity neighborhoods could prove to be a tricky area to navigate for any community group hoping to build support for a moratorium. The area includes blocks in Wards 1 and 2, at least three different ANCs (1B, 2B and 2F) and just as many neighborhood associations.

Five Moratoriums in Effect

The Alcoholic Beverage Regulation Administration (ABRA) lists five moratorium actions in DC. The neighborhoods with liquor license moratoriums are Georgetown, Adams Morgan, Glover Park, Dupont West and Dupont East (17th Street NW).

The moratorium discussion and process begins at the level of the Advisory Neighborhood Commission (ANC) or neighborhood association. Martin Firvida’s petition states, “Once again, we’re hearing the idea of a Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) License (a/k/a “a liquor license”) Moratorium being discussed for the Greater 14th and U Street Neighborhoods.”

The commercial corridors of 14th and U Streets have seen rapid residential development in the past few years and have, as a result, drawn many new restaurants and bars. New businesses that desire an ABC license must navigate their way through the choppy waters of the public protest process. In most cases, businesses end up signing the now ubiquitous “voluntary agreement” or VA and agree to limited hours in serving alcohol in order to expedite the process.

Related Posts

Like Borderstan’s Business stories? Get an RSS Feed for the Business Section, or an RSS Feed for all Borderstan stories.

by Borderstan.com — March 20, 2012 at 10:00 am 3 Comments

"Borderstan" "all Soul"

7th and T Streets NW, future home of All Souls. (Tom Hay)

From Tom Hay. Questions for Tom? Send him an email at Tom[AT]borderstan.com. You can follow him on Twitter @Tomonswann..

Following on the heels of recent press releases of new restaurants and bars in the neighborhood comes the inevitable protest hearings on the granting of a liquor license by DC’s Alcoholic Beverage Regulation Administration (ABRA).

One battle, over a planned bar near 8th and T streets NW, has made it to the evening news. WJLA reported on neighborhood opposition to entrepreneur David Batista’s effort to open All Souls in a now abandoned storefront at 725 T Street NW.

Neighbors interviewed in the report cited the proposed tavern’s proximity to Cleveland Elementary School across the street as the cause for concern. The report indicates that Batista has agreed not to serve alcohol during school hours, but the protesters are not satisfied.

Batista is represented by Andrew Kline who guided Jamie Leeds through the effort to expand Hank’s Oyster Bar in 2010. The ABRA hearing before the Alcoholic Beverage Control Board for All Souls is scheduled for Wednesday, March 21 at 4 pm. ABRA offices are located in the Reeves Center at 14th and U Streets NW.

Protest Over Kuller’s New Asian Themed Place at The District

Speaking of 14th Street… the liquor license application for Mark Kuller’s Southeast Asian themed restaurant at 14th and S Streets is being challenged by Advisory Neighborhood Commission 2B, subject to a voluntary agreement (VA) to address parking and hours of alcohol service on their outdoor patio. The vote to protest the application occurred at the ANC2B March meeting. Kuller’s latest venture is a few blocks north of his popular Estadio restaurant, and will be part of the large JBG apartment building currently under construction. The restaurant will be located in the portion of the project that includes the preserved facade of the former Whitman Walker Clinic building. The setback along the S Street facade will allow for outdoor cafe seating for 40 people.

It will be interesting to see if the restaurant’s location causes any reaction among S Street residents regarding hours — the 1400 block is entirely residential with row houses. There was pushback last year when a restaurant wanted to open on the 1400 block of T Street in the old Post Office Building.

Residents and community associations frequently protest license applications in the hopes of securing VAs with operators. The VA typically addresses concerns over hours of operation, trash and noise.

Like Borderstan’s Business stories? Get an RSS Feed for the Business Section, or an RSS Feed for all Borderstan stories.

Related Posts

by Borderstan.com — March 7, 2012 at 8:00 am 0

From Cody Telep. Follow him on Twitter @codywt, email him at cody[AT]borderstan.com.

Tabaq, Bistro, U, Street, stabbing, liquor, license, ABRA

The temporary closure of Tabaq Bistro has been lifted and its liquor license is expected to be restored today. (Cody Telep)

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.

Like reading Borderstan’s Crime stories? Get an RSS Feed for the Crime Section, or an RSS Feed for all Borderstan stories.

Related Posts

by Borderstan.com — March 5, 2012 at 8:00 am 0

From Cody Telep. Follow him on Twitter @codywt, email him at cody[AT]borderstan.com.

Tabaq, Bistro, U, Street, stabbing, liquor, license, ABRA

Tabaq Bistro on U Street has now been closed until a hearing before the city’s Alcoholic Beverage Control Board on Tuesday, March 6. (Cody Telep)

Tabaq Bistro’s alcoholic beverage license was suspended indefinitely on Wednesday (February 29) following a stabbing that occurred inside the establishment on February 25 (Stabbing at Tabaq Bistro Early Saturday Leads to Temporary Closure).

The suspension follows a 96-hour emergency closure of the U Street NW bar and restaurant that went into effect at 6 pm on February 25 by order of Metropolitan Police Chief Cathy Lanier.

The suspension notice is from the Alcoholic Beverage Control Board for a violation of Title 25 of the DC code and/or Title 23 of the DC municipal regulations. These titles both deal with alcohol law in the District.

Borderstan has asked the Alcoholic Beverage Regulation Administration (ABRA) for more specific information on the violations and the suspension and will update as soon as we hear back from them.

ABRA announced Friday that a hearing on the license suspension will be held this Tuesday, March 6 at 2:30 pm. We will have more on the status of Tabaq’s alcoholic beverage license after Tuesday’s hearing.

Like reading Borderstan’s Crime stories? Get an RSS Feed for the Crime Section, or an RSS Feed for all Borderstan stories.

Related Posts

 

by Borderstan.com — February 27, 2012 at 8:00 am 6 Comments

From Cody Telep. Follow him on Twitter @codywt, email him at cody[AT]borderstan.com.

A woman was stabbed several times in the leg while inside Tabaq Bistro at 1336 U Street NW early Saturday morning, according to reports from the Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) and the Alcoholic Beverage Regulation Administration (ABRA).

The victim was conscious and breathing according to a tweetfrom MPD and was taken to Washington Hospital Center. Her current condition is unknown. MPD has not announced any arrests in the case.

Tabaq, Bistro, U, Street, closure, notice, MPD

1336 U Street NW: MPD closed Tabaq Lounge temporarily on Saturday at 6 pm. (Cody Telep)

According to an ABRA investigative report provided by Councilmember Jim Graham (D-Ward 1) on the U Street listserv, the stabbing occurred during a large fight inside Tabaq Bistro. It is not clear if the fight occurred during the “Love vs. Lust, Roses & Rozay” event that took place Friday night. MPD reported the stabbing at about 3 am Saturday. The ABRA investigation determined that staff at Tabaq failed to notify ABRA or MPD about the incident.

As a result, MPD Chief Cathy Lanier closed the establishment at 6 pm on Saturday. Chief Lanier has the authority to temporarily close establishments serving alcohol for up to 96 hours under the Emergency Suspension of Liquor Licenses Act of 2005.

Such closures can occur when “The Chief of Police finds that continued operation of this establishment would present an imminent danger to the health, safety, and welfare of the public; that there is an additional imminent danger to the health and welfare of the public by not closing this establishment; and that there is no immediately available measure to ameliorate these findings.”

The ABRA investigation continues and the date of Tabaq Bistro’s hearing before the Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) Board has not been announced. The Board does have a regularly scheduled meeting set for Wednesday, February 29,  at 9:30 am. Tabaq Bistro previously faced a fact finding hearing before the Board on October 19, 2011, for an assault inside the establishment. The Board voted unanimously to take no further action after the hearing.

Lanier has previously used her authority under the Emergency Suspension of Liquor Licenses Act of 2005 to close Heritage India and Mood Lounge after violent incidents. Both establishments later reopened after hearings before the Alcoholic Beverage Control Board.

Like reading Borderstan’s Crime stories? Get an RSS Feed for the Crime Section, or an RSS Feed for all Borderstan stories.

Related Posts

×

Subscribe to our mailing list