by Borderstan.com May 22, 2013 at 8:00 am 1 Comment

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

"moratorium"

Dupont East Moratorium, which includes 17th Street,  went into effect in 1990.  (Luis Gomez Photos)

Advisory Neighborhood Commission (ANC) 2B/Dupont listened to the attendees divide evenly for and against extending the Dupont East liquor license moratorium.

More than 30 members of the public attended the listening session at the Chastleton Ballroom on 16th Street last night.

Of these, I counted 12 people speaking in favor of continuing the liquor license moratorium in some shape or form. Eleven people urged ANC 2B to allow the liquor license moratorium to lapse.

Length of Residency

Opinion about the moratorium generally seemed to correspond to length of residency in or near the moratorium zone. Several long-term residents spoke in favor of extending the moratorium. Newer arrivals more frequently urged ANC Commissioners to let the moratorium expire.

This moratorium is also known as the 17th Street moratorium, and includes most of 17th Street between P and S Streets NW. It is set to expire on September 23 and has been in effect for 23 years. The most recent renewal of the Dupont East moratorium occurred in 2010.

DC’s Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) Board will ultimately decide the fate of the moratorium. It may extend the moratorium, allow it to lapse, or modify it. Groups of individuals and civic groups, independently of the ANC, can petition the ABC Board to have it extended. However, the ABC Board is legally bound to give an ANC opinion “great weight.” ANC 2B seems to be aiming to have a resolution prepared for ABC Board consideration before the expiration of the current moratorium.

A Restaurant Compromise?

There was one compromise that seemed to have some traction at the meeting. This was to continue a moratorium on tavern liquor licenses, but to lift the moratorium on restaurant liquor licenses. Commissioner Kevin O’Connor, 2B-02, first brought this idea up. O’Connor is the chair of ANC 2B liquor licensing affairs committee.

He mentioned recent work by ANC 2B to modify the Dupont West (a.k.a. “P Street”) liquor license moratorium (document here) to allow unlimited liquor licenses for restaurants. Subsequently, some partisans in both the pro- and anti-moratorium camps mentioned this as a minimally-acceptable alternative to their favored point of view.

Both sides claimed large numbers of non-attending supporters. Those speaking against the moratorium cited a petition containing more than 400 signatures of local residents collected at the time of the 2009 renewal. Pro-moratorium advocates claimed they spoke for the “silent majority” of the neighborhood.

Second Listening Session June 24

Commissioners repeated their timetable for Dupont East liquor license moratorium work. It is unchanged. Local residents will have another chance to comment at a second listening session at the Chastleton Ballroom on Monday, June 24, at 7 pm. Representatives of the police and DC’s liquor licensing agency have been invited to give input at this meeting.

On Wednesday, August 7, ANC 2B’s liquor licensing affairs committee will publicly present its a draft proposal for the first time. The full ANC will consider the committee’s proposal at its monthly meeting on Wednesday, August 14.

In response to an attendee’s suggestion, ANC 2B has pledged to set up a dedicated email address for residents who wish to comment on the Dupont East moratorium but cannot make it to the listening sessions.

Other ANC 2B Commissioners in attendance were Stephanie Maltz, 2B-03, Kishan Putta, 2B-04, Abigail Nichols, 2B-05, Leo Dwyer, 2B-07, and Noah Smith, 2B-09.

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by Borderstan.com March 22, 2013 at 7:00 am 2 Comments

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

"Moratorium"

ANC 1B Alcoholic Beverage Committee met Thursday night at the Thurgood Mashall Center. (David McAuley)

Advisory Neighborhood Commission (ANC) 1B (U Street) took the next step in rejecting the proposed U Street liquor license moratorium last night, March 21. The ANC 1B’s Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) Committee voted 10 to 3 to reject the proposed moratorium during its regular monthly meeting. Three members of the committee were absent.

Among those voting against the moratorium were both members of the committee who are also current ANC 1B commissioners: Chair Jeremy Leffler (1B-02) and Zahra Jilani (1B-12). Among those voting for the moratorium was committee member Joan Sterling of the Shaw Dupont Citizens Alliance (SDCA), the group petitioning for the liquor license moratorium.

Some members who voted against the moratorium noted the influence of the overwhelming community response against the moratorium at the previous evening’s multi-ANC listening session, which was also held at the Thurgood Marshall Center.

“It served as a great tool for bringing the community together,” said Heather Ferris, an ABC Committee member. Ferris also said that she had expressed a neutral opinion at the microphone during the previous evening’s listening session, but she had decided to vote against the moratorium, even though she felt her vote was “not 100 percent”.

The outcome of the vote seemed in doubt up until the final show of hands, as a blog post made yesterday by ANC 1B ABC committee member Nick Baumann quoted Leffler as saying “there are even pro and anti voices on the [committee].”

Procedural Problems

The committee vote had some procedural problems. After the initial voice vote (and after a tweet had gone out announcing the vote results), ANC 1B Chair Tony Norman (1B-10), observing the event, noted that parliamentary procedure had not been followed during the vote, meaning, there had not been a motion, a second, and an opportunity to present amendments.

The committee had to return to the question and do the vote over. Before the second vote was taken, there was further debate and suggestions for amendments, including one saying that the committee rejected the moratorium “as written.” This amendment passed.

Aside from ANC Chair Norman, the following ANC 1B commissioners who are not officially part of the ABC Committee also observed the meeting: Marc Morgan (1B-01), Ricardo Reinoso (1B-05) and Emily Washington (1B-08).

The recommendation to reject the moratorium now goes to the full ANC for a vote. The vote is scheduled for its regular monthly meeting on April 4 at the Reeves Center.

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by Borderstan.com January 30, 2013 at 9:00 am 2 Comments

"moratorium"

The proposed liquor license moratorium for 14th and U Streets NW.

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

The heated debate over liquor licensing between some local residents and neighborhood businesses is nothing new to the Borderstan area. However, a recent push from two neighborhood groups to establish a liquor license moratorium zone for the 14th and U Street NW corridor added fuel to the already lit fire.

The proposed moratorium appears to be the reason behind a new anti-NIMBY website, In My Backyard. This site, whose owner is only given as “Michael,” is “a group designed to counter the small-but-powerful NIMBYs in your neighborhood,” according to a message on the landing page.

“What an amazingly stupid idea,” wrote one commentator, in reference to Borderstan’s piece about the proposed moratorium, posted January 22. “Let’s distort the market and discourage further development. If these people need something better to do with their free time, maybe they could do some volunteer work around the area. I’m sure there are some kids who could use tutors.”

Another commentator wrote, “Harming and estranging local small businesses takes away both their incentive and the financial wherewithal to meet the expense burden of sustaining a business-oriented entity such as a BID.”

One commentator posted a link to an opposing petition on the matter. So far there are 775 supporting signatures. (See New Citizens’ Organization Seeks Different Path for 14th Uand Online Petition Opposing Liquor License Moratorium Draws Support.)

Of the 22 commenters on Borderstan’s story,  none spoke in favor of the moratorium.

In My Backyard

In My Backyard says, “It has been too easy for small groups that do not represent most DC residents to derail any kind of new development in DC,” says the website’s homepage. “With just a few signatures and some complaining, these groups successfully stop businesses and homebuilders from serving the needs of DC residents. It’s my opinion that DC will be better off with more options for consumers, not fewer.”

According the website, its primary function is to submit petitions and comments to City Council, Advisory Neighborhood Commissions and the Alcohol Beverage Control Board in support of the new developments that “can provide homes and jobs for our growing community.”

So what say you, Borderstan? Are these comments and is this website representative of the majority of the neighborhood’s feelings? Or is the issue of liquor licensing a divided issue in the neighborhood?

And “Michael,” email me — we’d like to interview you.

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by Borderstan.com June 26, 2012 at 12:00 pm 1,743 9 Comments

How many people should be allowed to protest a liquor license and force a Voluntary Agreement? (Luis Gomez Photos).

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

Last week we asked readers to take a poll on the extent to which neighbors should be able to control the liquor licenses of local businesses. The results are in, and 80% of you said, “No, it should be more than five people,” while 9% of survey respondents said that “Yes” five neighbors is enough to warrant the protest of a liquor license before the ABC Board. The Other option (with comments) was selected by 10% of respondents, with details below.

After all, it’s already been a heated summer between local establishments and the city’s Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) Board. (Read our recent posts on All Souls and Hank’s Oyster Bar. You can also review the current DC laws and regulations for liquor licensing in the city.)

Currently, just five residents living up to 600 feet away from a restaurant or bar with a liquor license can bring a case to the city’s ABC Board, and ask to negotiate a Voluntary Agreement (V.A.). These are used to set certain limitations on the business, often to limit hours of operations as well as outdoor seating. (See page 180 of the DC code.)

This contentious law enables some neighbors to fight to maintain what they consider the a certain quality of life. At the same time, the process can also obstruct local businesses — even if the overwhelming majority of surrounding residents approve or simply don’t mind.

So we asked readers, should just five residents have this power to bring cases to the city’s ABC Board, or should that number be increased? Interestingly, about 10% of respondents selected “Other” response for their answers. Here is a summary of what these respondents said. Most thought protests and V.A.’s should only be between businesses and governmental bodies:

  • Only ANCs (Advisory Neighborhood Commissions) and/or local government organizations should be able to bring a case to the ABC Board.
  • Business owners should enter into Voluntary Agreements (VAs) with a public entity, not private complaints, such as ANCs or the Metropolitan Police Department.
  • The number of people filing a complaint should be dependent on the population density of the neighborhood. For example, if only five people live in the vicinity of the license applicant/holder, then a complaint is warranted — but if only five people out of hundreds or thousands living within 600 feet of the business, then they should not be allowed to protest the license.

This past week the troubles surrounding All Souls dwindled, while the drama overwhelming Hank’s Oyster Bar continued. An online petition in favor of Hank’s was posted on June 18 and has already received about almost 1,700 signatures.

The petition calls on the Alcoholic Beverage Regulation Administration Director Fred Moosally, Ward 2 Councilmember Jack Evans, Ward 1 Councilmember Jim Graham and and DC Mayor Vincent Gray to change the law and end the ability of a small number of residents to hold up liquor licensing.

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by Borderstan.com June 18, 2012 at 2:59 pm 1,520 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.

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by Borderstan.com June 14, 2012 at 3:00 pm 1,568 8 Comments

"Hank's Oyster Bar patio"

For now, Hank’s can only use half the patio seating area. (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 hearings on the widely reported Hank’s Oyster Bar saga got underway Wednesday afternoon and were still proceeding well into the evening as this story is written. The final outcome could be weeks away for Hank’s ever-patient chef and owner Jamie Leeds, who thought her troubles were behind her when she successfully expanded her popular Dupont Circle restaurant in 2011, despite a protest from a group of six neighborhood residents.

The November 2010 Alcoholic Beverage Control Board (ABC Board) decision allowing the termination of a neighborhood voluntary agreement (V.A.) and ultimate expansion of Leeds’ restaurant was appealed to the DC Court of Appeals by two of the six original protesters (David Malloff and Lex Rieffel). The Court ruled that the ABC Board erred in its order allowing termination, so the case was remanded the back to the Board. The Board now has 90 days to issue an order. The uniqueness of the  case and public outcry in support of Leeds’ situation raises hope for faster action from the ABC Board.

Things began to heat up this past weekend when the ABC Board ordered the restaurant to close half of the venue’s outdoor seating, reducing the outdoor dining space from 40 seats to 20. The Friday shutdown occurred without prior notification on a the review of an ABC Board decision approving termination of the Voluntary Agreement (V.A.) with six area residents. Two of the six residents, David Malloff and Lex Rieffel, appealed the V.A. termination and the District of Columbia Court of Appeals kicked the case back to the ABC Board.

At that point Leeds went public, asking the community for support by emailing and calling DC councilmemers, the mayor and the head of the city’s Alcoholic Beverage Regulation Administration. In response, several local organizations supported Leeds.

Criteria for Termination of the V.A.

At issue in the case are the criteria for termination of a V.A. The appellate court decision said the ABC Board must meet three statutory subparagraphs for termination of a V.A. The original ABC Board order only met criteria (C). The three criteria are:

(A) The applicant (Hank’s/Leeds) seeking the amendment has made a diligent effort to locate all other parties to the voluntary agreement; or (ii) If non-applicant parties are located, the applicant has made a good-faith attempt to negotiate a mutually acceptable amendment to the voluntary agreement;
(B) The need for an amendment is either caused by circumstances beyond the control of the applicant or is due to a change in the neighborhood where the applicant’s establishment is located; and
(C) The amendment or termination will not have an adverse impact on the neighborhood where the establishment is located as determined under § 25-313 or § 25-314, if applicable.

Early in the hearing ABC Board Chair Ruthanne Miller made it clear that on remand from the Court of Appeals the Board must make findings on paragraphs (A) and (B) and any effort to have the case dismissed would be inconsistent with the decision of the Court of Appeals. At the time of the 2010 order the ABC Board had been chaired by Charles Brodsky.

Dupont East Liquor License Moratorium

Leeds’ representative, Andrew Kline, first called Advisory Neighborhood Commissioner (ANC) Jack Jacobson (2B04) as a witness. Jacobson detailed the 2009 ANC review of the Dupont East liquor license moratorium and its recommendation to allow for two lateral expansions. Later Jamie Leeds was called as a witness and detailed the timeline of how she saw the opportunity to expand her operation. Kline argued that this easing of the moratorium, the rezoning of adjacent space next to Hank’s and the restaurant’s success met the conditions of subparagraph (B).

Testimony

For the criteria in subparagraph (A), Kline presented a letter and email correspondence from February 2010 to his last witness, David Mallof, one of the original signatories to the V.A. The correspondence stated that Leeds desired to expand her business and wanted to meet with the protesters.

Under questioning by Kline about efforts to reach out to the parties to the V.A., Mallof argued that the email chain had been “cherry-picked” and that he had several phone conversations with Kline about Hanks’s. Mallof also explained that he was somewhat confused about the expansion plans and thought perhaps Leeds wanted to expand into the Trio space at the corner of 17th and Q Streets NW. He further explained that he wanted  some sort of proposal or Powerpoint presentation with “meat on the bones” before coordinating a meeting — and had concerns with a suggested weekday meeting during business hours when residents might not be available. ABC Board members questioning of Mallof suggest they did not fully understand why a meeting did not occur despite overtures from Leeds.

Leeds has previously stated, and did so again yesterday, that she felt compelled to sign the V.A. in order to open her restaurant, noting that she would otherwise have had to wait approximately six months for a hearing to resolve the original demands by the protest group; the wait would have been extremely costly for Leeds. At the time she agreed to the terms of the V.A., the liquor license moratorium on 17th Street prevented Leeds from potentially expanding her business. However, when the Dupont East Liquor License Moratorium was later amended to allow for a limited number of “lateral expansions” for existing restaurants; Leeds said she then initiated a request to review the restrictions in the V.A. with the group of six protestants with whom she had signed the V.A.

(Note: I was unable to stay until the end of hearing, which began at 4 pm and did not conclude until 8:30 pm.) According to additional sources who stayed for the entire hearing, witnesses for the protestants who appealed the termination of the V.A. said that their reluctance to meet with Leeds was due to her failure to detail in advance of their agreeing to meet exactly what changes she hoped to make to the business, i.e., the expansion into the adjoining space to the east.

Mallof, plus one of the original protestants, conceded in their sworn testimony that they understood that Leeds hoped to expand to an adjoining space, as informed by correspondence at the time from Leeds’ attorney, but claimed to be confused as to whether this meant an expansion to the adjoining vacant space rezoned for commercial use or whether Leeds planned to take over the Trio restaurant building next door. They also acknowledged their understanding that the expansion would naturally require an increase in the capacity for the restaurant, necessitating a change to the seating limit specified in the V.A.

The big question now is when will the ABC Board reach a decision? Will Leeds and Hank’s Oyster Bar have to operate under the original V.A., or will the ABC Board be able to rule that its original decision to release Leeds from the V.A. was valid, based on the presentation of new evidence at the Wednesday hearing? The Board has up to 90 days to reach a decision.

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by Borderstan.com June 12, 2012 at 4:00 pm 0

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

Last week the Restaurant Association Metropolitan Washington (RAMW) released a statement commending the D.C. Council for its approval of a partial extension of alcohol service hours at D.C. restaurants, bars and hotels. The measure, which will allow later alcohol service on holiday weekends (and a few other instances), will take effect this fall.

"Borderstan"

(Luis Gomez Photos)

In the winding road that led to this compromise, the RAMW consistently lobbied for more liberal bar service hours, arguing that easing these restrictions would generate revenue for the city and raise its global profile. Amidst a near-collapse of the initiative last month, RAMW and other hospitality industry interests flexed their muscle to get the proposal on the books.

So when you wake up especially disoriented on some future Sunday morning, you’ll know who to thank.

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by Borderstan.com June 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

In a neighborhood that is home to many of the District’s top restaurants and bars, it is hard to ignore the politics surrounding the food and beverage industries. (See our recent post on the potential Alcoholic Beverage Control license moratorium in the 14th and U Street area.)

"Martini Glasses"

Later hours for DC bars on holidays. (Luis Gomez Photos)

For starters, it is hard to overlook that the local hospitality industry is a core economic engine for the city, contributing more than $2.5 billion to the DC economy. And in a time when it is difficult to find employment in neighborhoods beyond Borderstan, it is hard to ignore that the local service industry employs more than 48,000 people.

That is why, a June 5 vote from the DC Council left the Restaurant Association Metropolitan Washington (RAMW) and several local businesses cheering — the vote permits hospitality venues to partially extend licensed alcoholic beverage service hours.

Now, what, exactly, does that mean?

Well, my fellow Borderstan friends, that means, starting this fall, DC restaurants and bars will have extended licensed alcoholic beverage services by one hour on holiday-related dates. And luckily for you, in a government-important city, holidays occur more frequently than dragon blood references on “Game of Thrones.”

It is predicted that the supplemental money generated by the service extension will help the Council to eliminate a projected city budget deficit, without increasing local taxes or fees for both residents and businesses. DC Mayor Vincent Gray, who proposed the service extension option on a year-round basis in order to generate a minimum $3.21 million in additional sales tax revenues, previously announced his support for the Council compromise.

“Local residents appreciate how our city relies on a dynamic nighttime economy,” said RAMW president, Lynne Breaux. “They understand how this policy change allows us to better, and more fully accommodate, a growing population with diverse working and living schedules, and it’s why a service extension has been embraced without significant or broad-based opposition originating with residents.”

The legislation results in the District’s move towards joining eight states in allowing on-premise alcohol sales at restaurants, bars, nightclubs and hotels until 3 am on weeknights and six states permitting sales until 4 am on weekends.

And for those who fear the bump in nightlife hours will impact public safety, you will be happy to know that DC Metropolitan Police Chief, Cathy Lanier, expressed her full confidence that expanded service hours throughout the year would pose no additional burdens on law enforcement personnel or public safety.

Looking for even better news? The Council also voted for a separate provision, allowing for extended service hours during the five-day Presidential Inauguration period next January.

And if you were in town for the last Inauguration, you know what a big deal that is… so, in other words, come election time, meet me at the bar?

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by Borderstan.com May 29, 2012 at 8:00 am 0

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

Last week the DC Council passed Mayor Vincent Gray’s 2013 budget proposal with an unusual absence of tax increases. Final approval is scheduled for June 5.

DC bars will be able to serve alcohol one hour later on selected holidays. (One Photograph A Day)

The Council chose spending cuts rather than tax hikes to close its projected $172 million budget gap. Still, council members made sure to assemble a quarter-billion dollar “wish list” of additional spending should tax revenue exceed projections for the coming fiscal year.

As the Washington Blade‘s Mark Lee points out, in true DC tradition, it did not occur to councilmembers to plan to reduce business or personal income taxes in the District, where they are the second and fourth highest in the country, respectively.

Of note, the DC budget partially implements Mayor Gray’s now-famous proposal for a one-hour extension of alcohol service period at city restaurants, bars and hotels, as a way of generating tax revenue and balancing the District budget.

Although the Mayor’s original proposal failed to pass the Council, Chairman Brown’s compromise was approved — providing for later service hours on the night before all federal and DC holidays, Friday through Sunday preceding Memorial Day and Labor Day, and New Year’s Eve and July 4 when they fall on a Monday.

Amidst their relatively rare instance of tax moderation, DC officials relished the comparison between itself and neighboring Maryland, which this week approved a series of tax hikes. “Thank God Maryland keeps raising their taxes, one of these days they’re going to catch up to us,” Brown quipped.

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by Borderstan.com May 15, 2012 at 8:00 am 1,505 4 Comments

The city drinks a lot, with happy hours all days of the week and patios packing in patrons before the humidity settles over the District. So it’s not terribly surprising that, while the proposal to extend permitted alcohol sales by an hour failed, other measures are slated for debate.

Barrel House liquor store

The Barrel House liquor store at 14th and Rhode Island NW. (Luis Gomez Photos)

This week, a report commissioned by Jim Graham’s Committee on Human Services was released. The report, issued by the Alcohol Beverage Control Working Group, includes provisions to sell on Sundays, create permits for wine pubs to brew their own juice and brew pubs to fill growlers for patrons.

DCist has the full scoop on the recommendations. So far, we haven’t seen much of what occurred during the meeting but Graham’s blog indicates he will now work on draft legislation that incorporates the recommendations.

Any proposed changes to DC liquor laws are particularly noteworthy in the Borderstan area. Ward 2, which includes the Dupont-Logan area is home to 40% of the entire city’s liquor licenses. Ward 1 (which includes the bulk of the U Street corridor and Adams Morgan) is in second place with 16% of all DC licenses. (See DC Liquor Licenses by the Numbers: Ward 2, 40% and Ward 1, 16%.)

Stay posted (and stay thirsty)!

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by Borderstan.com April 23, 2012 at 2:00 pm 1,211 2 Comments

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

The owner of Black and Orange, a popular local burger place at 14th and U NW, has been through the wringer with DC licensing restrictions and bares all in his interview with the Washington Blade. (See Black and Orange Opens at 14th and U.)

"Borderstan""Black & Orange""Raymold Mendizabal"

Chef and owner Raynold Mendizabal at the opening of Black & Orange in January. (Luis Gomez Photos)

Raynold Mendizabal went through legal proceedings with Rogue States, the precursor to Black and Orange. Unfortunately, his opponents objecting to the burger smell were a well-known law firm. This time, Mendizabal has been working to obtain a liquor license and regulatory approval for a sidewalk patio area.

While you may argue with Mark Lee’s favoring of the business owner over concerns of local residents, it seems difficult to conclude that the existing license and regulation system is working. For example, the nearby McDonald’s is allowed to operate 24/7. No, they do not serve alcohol (although they may serve those who have consumed it and think a Big Mac is a great 3 am idea).

But clearly an extended hours Black and Orange would still be required to observe the liquor laws, and serve only food after the booze cut-off times. Whether the protesters were aware of this, don’t care and object to late-night places in general, or simply hate the idea of more liquor licenses on the street is unclear. We do hope they inform us soon.

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by Borderstan.com April 20, 2012 at 12:00 pm 1,464 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.

"Borderstan "42_Bus"

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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by Borderstan.com April 16, 2012 at 10:00 am 1,124 0

DC, liquor, laws, Cairo, Liquor, Store, Luis, Gomez, Photos

Photo of the Cairo Liquor Store at 17th and Church NW before its exterior makeover. (Luis Gomez Photos)

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

Earlier this month we reported that Mayor Vincent Gray had proposed extending alcohol service by one hour as part of his Fiscal Year 2013 budget. 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.

This week, the mayor’s proposal received an important endorsement from the Restaurant Association of Metropolitan Washington (RAMW). In testimony before the Council’s Committee on Human Services, RAMW President Lynne Breaux stated her “wholehearted” support of the initiative. Others in DC’s business community have expressed similar support.

It’s worth noting that 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.

Gray’s plan was inspired in large part by the extended bar service hours in January of 2009, in celebration of the Presidential Inauguration. For four days, bars and restaurants served booze into the wee hours, generating a surge of revenue for the city and, one assumes, a major hangover for the revelers.

Regardless of whether Gray’s proposal succeeds this time, he is also pursuing extended alcohol service for the 2013 and 2017 inaugurations.

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by Borderstan.com April 2, 2012 at 2:00 pm 1,643 1 Comment

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

Mayor Vincent Gray unveiled his proposed 2013 budget at a news conference on March 23, and one surprising provision was the extension of alcohol service by one hour. The Washington Blade‘s Mark Lee summarizesthe proposal nicely.

Luis, Gomez, Photos, Barrel, House, Liquor

In addition to extended bar hours, DC liquor stores would be allowed to open two hours earlier. (One Photograph A Day)

Gray’s proposal would permit District bars and restaurants to operate (and serve alcohol) until 3 am on weekdays and 4 am on weekends. It 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 liquor sales would still be prohibited, unfortch.

Increasing alcohol sales is a tried-and-true method of revenue generation for most cities, the District no exception. This proposal — if accepted — is estimated to bring in an additional $5.3 million in sales tax revenue. The alternative to initiatives like this, Lee reminds us, is higher taxes on what is already among the highest-taxed locales in the country.

Reaction to Gray’s proposal by the public and the City Council has been calm so far, but both bodies will weigh in on the measure before its potential adoption this summer.

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