The blogger at Shaw Deserves Better shares the news that Mood Lounge was found guilty of the first of five pending noise complaints — the same lounge that managed to keep its liquor license after a January stabbing of two people in front of the establishment. The noise levels were set in the Voluntary Agreement, and the first violation occurred a few short weeks after their grand opening, according to the DC Alcoholic Beverage Regulation Administration (ABRA).
If you are interested in the full set of proceedings laid out in the Findings of Fact conducted by ABRA, check it out here. For those of you not living in Shaw or tracking the issue, you can see the full scope and both sides of the argument on the Shaw Deserves Better blog, through a newspaper story and in the blog’s comments/response to the story.
You might also want to check out Matt Raymond’s take on the situation on the Advisory Neighborhood Commission (ANC) 2F website. Raymond represents ANC 2F-04. His latest post, The Exquisite Timing of Mood Lounge, reviews a story in The Ethiopian Times that alleges a racial angle around the Mood Lounge controversy.
Mood Lounge keeps its liquor license, reports the Shaw Deserves Better blog. They don’t mince words in their reporting of the issue, either. The “problematic” lounge kept its license after an exhaustive hearing before the Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) Board at ABRA last Friday night. The blog’s author plans on combing through the hearing statements to find inconsistencies and flaws, as well as deceptive language.
This now counts as two establishments in Borderstan keeping their licenses, with few penalties, after violent events outside or inside the premises (see: Heritage India).
No Resolution to Last Year’s Metro Deaths
Washington Examiner looks into the still mysterious death of Lou Stancari, found last year at the Farragut North metro station. After a dinner in his neighborhood of Capitol Hill, his fare card was swiped at Dupont Circle. Everything else is mystery, including what and/or who inflicted the blunt force trauma that was ruled the cause of death. Was it a drunken stumble, an assault, a suicide attempt or other foul play? His friends are confused and frustrated with the investigation.
It is a bizarre death that is made even odder by its similarity to the death of Benoy Chacko, who was ruled an accident. Investigators in that case think he decided to walk along the tracks and was clipped by a passing train. In a system that is attempting to better prevent and handle fatalities, these investigations do not bring much hope or optimism to 2012. Is anyone else surprised that there is not video evidence, or video surveillance at all, of either of these events?
New Street Signs to REPLACE EXISTING ONES
Mixed case design comes to street signs near you (or not). Mike DeBonis at the Post outlines the reason for the gradual roll-out of the mixed case (both upper and lower case, as opposed to the previous all caps design) signs — President Obama had to step in to prevent localities from rioting over the costs and tight deadline to switch out signs. DC can now replace the signs at their own pace, which DDOT indicates will be slow. They will replace the signs as needed, and the shelf life of a street sign is about 10 years.
Rush Limbaugh: “This Mary Cheh Babe” = Sexist Liar?
That’s the opinion of a few after reviewing Rush Limbaugh’s comment about Councilwoman Mary Cheh today. He referrred to her as ‘babe,’ which brought out Media Matters. They have previously been on his case for using the term to dismiss and diminish a number of powerful, intelligent women. The The Washington Post’s Mike DeBonis reports his tirade on the misrepresentation of a bill that would ‘relocate’ rat families found by exterminators to the state. He also incorrectly identifies Cheh as the “woman behind the DC plastic bag tax;” she was a supporter, but not the original author. Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli II was the interview guest, who is standing by his characterization of the bill after a response from Cheh (all in the article). So, Rush Limbaugh may or may not be a liar. But he doesn’t seem to think much of women.
ACLU Sues WMATA
You may recall the incident at the U Street metro station last year, where a man in a wheelchair was thrown to the ground by Metro Transit Police. The Transit Police said the man, Dwight Harris, was intoxicated and disruptive. What you may not know is that another man, Lawrence Miller, was arrested for inciting violence after asking the police what they were doing and soliciting aid for his friend. 9 News Now reports that those charges were dropped, but now Miller is suing, with ACLU assistance, for violating his First Amendment right to free speech and expression. WMATA doesn’t comment on these type of legal matters, so I guess we will wait to hear their defense in court or in settlement papers.
For the first time in well over a year Advisory Neighborhood Commission 2F (ANC) called their monthly meeting to order with a fully seated Commission. Matt Connolly will represent Single Member District 2F05 — the seat had been vacant since the previous commissioner did not seek re-election. Connolly filed a petition for the seat late last year and did not face any opposition.
The first order of business for 2012 was the election of new officers for the ANC. The venerable Charles Reed (SMD 2F01) announced that he could no longer assume the role of chair due to some health issues. Mike Benardo (2F06) is the new chair, Matt Raymond (2F04) was elected vice-chair, Sam Goekjian (2F03) will continue as treasurer and Nick Barron (2F02) will be Commission secretary.
Commission Asks for Permanent Closure of Mood Lounge
The Alcoholic Beverage Regulation Administration (ABRA) portion of the meeting took up the issue of the double stabbing outside Mood Lounge at 1318 9th Street, NW. Several commissioners and Kimbel recounted blatant and repeated voluntary agreement violations, and public safety concerns associated with the nightclub.
The ANC voted unanimously to ask the Alcoholic Beverage Control Board (ABC) for permanent closure of the establishment. The ABC Board hearing on Mood Lounge is today, Friday, January 13.
Building Security on 1400 Block R Street
During the community forum portion of the meeting, Sherri Kimbell, director of Constituent Services for Councilmember Jack Evans (D-Ward 2), announced that the Section 8 housing complexes on the south side of the 1400 block of R Street, NW now all have the same security company. It is hoped that this will improve communication and safety in the area. The block was the scene of a daytime shooting late last year.
New Restaurant in Well Built Space
Also on the agenda Wednesday evening was the ABRA application for an Italian restaurant to be located in the WellBuilt furniture space at 1541 14th Street NW. Tad Curtz, of Standard BBQ at 14th and S Streets, is behind the new venture. No representative of the planned restaurant was present at the meeting, and none of the commissioners had any additional knowledge of the project. The ANC then voted unanimously to protest the liquor license application. This was done subject to the negotiation of a voluntary agreement. ANCs routinely protest liquor license applications pending a Voluntary Agreement with the establishment, which may stipulate certain conditions for operating.
The January meeting of Advisory Neighborhood Commission (ANC) 2F is Wednesday, January 11, at 7 pm. Location is the Washington Plaza Hotel, 10 Thomas Circle NW. There are two items of note on the agenda, both related to liquor licenses:
- Well-Built Furniture, 1541 Q Street, NW (application)
- Mood Lounge, License Suspension
The agenda item for Well Built is actually the liquor license application for an Italian restaurant. Tad Curtz of Standard BBQ recently applied for the license for the space at the southeast corner of 14th and Q Streets NW. Well Built is closing its retail store at the end of January and focus on its commercial line of products.
According to two commissioners on ANC 2F, the commission will vote on a resolution calling for the permanent closure of Mood Lounge at 1318 9th Street NW. The lounge was the site of a stabbing the last week of December, and has been closed indefinitely.
On Friday, January 13, the owners of Mood Lounge will appear before the Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) Board at ABRA on U Street NW. The ABC Board will determine whether Mood Lounge will be able to reopen and under what conditions. The regulation regarding summary suspensions gives the ABC Board just 24 hours after the hearing to render a decision,
- Liquor License App for 1541 14th NW, Site of Well Built Furniture
- Mood Lounge Closed Indefinitely; Blood is “Cranberry Juice”
- Well Built Store Closing Jan. 31; Focus Will be on Commercial Line
It was reported late Tuesday night that Mood Lounge, at 1318 9th Street NW in Shaw, had its liquor license suspended indefinitely by the DC Alcoholic Beverage Regulation Administration (ABRA). The lounge had been placed under emergency closure by the DC Police for 96 hours after the stabbing of two people outside the club last week.
It was noted in the ABRA suspension notice that: when MPD arrived at the club (1) the owner denied knowledge of the stabbing and (2) the club’s security chief said the copious quantities of blood on the sidewalk was “cranberry juice.” The notice goes on to note the violations in the club’s own security plan and that one of the victims was under the age of 21.
Officers who arrived at the scene shortly after the incident reported a strong odor of marijuana, both in the lounge and on the persons interviewed. In the past year MPD logged 61 calls related to this establishment — about one-half were related to disorderly conduct.
Mood Lounge has 72 hours as of January 3 to request a hearing before the Alcoholic Beverage Control Board.
Matt Raymond is Advisory Neighborhood Commissioner for 2F-04 (Mood Lounge is in District 06, represented by Mike Benardo). Raymond has recounted some of the longstanding problems associated with the club since it opened.
“I’ve gotten so involved in this because I have happily watched an upward trajectory in the past decade in the general condition, amenities and nightlife in our community. Mood Lounge was beginning to look like the Wild West, a place where anything goes. If it can happen on 9th Street, there’s no reason to think it couldn’t spread elsewhere. Our liquor licensees in Logan Circle are largely scrupulous, but imagine the signal you send to bad actors when one of them is allowed to operate with impunity, said Raymond.
In addition, DC Councilmember Jack Evans (D-Ward 2) called for the permanent closure of the lounge in a news release.
Mood Lounge is the second Ward 2 establishment to face an emergency closure due to violence in the past two months. In late November Heritage India restaurant just south of Dupont Circle was closed for 96 hours after someone was shot during an altercation at a late night promoter event.