City Paper Widget

Monday, September 16, 2013

"Female-Friendly Steakhouse" Gets Liquor License Endorsement

Advisory Neighborhood Commission (ANC) 2B/Dupont put its approval on a request for a liquor license for STK restaurant at 1250 Connecticut Avenue. The vote occurred at ANC2B's regular monthly meeting on September 11.

The Connecticut Avenue location will be the DC outpost of a high-end chain of steakhouses with branches in Atlanta, Las Vegas, London, Los Angeles, Miami, and New York. STK steakhouses advertise themselves as "female-friendly". 

"Not your daddy's steakhouse," states a poster on the future site of the restaurant.

STK CEO testifies

Jonathan Segal (second from right) testifies
CEO Jonathan Segal of The ONE Group, operator of the STK chain as well as hotels and other restaurants, appeared before the ANC to ask for a restaurant-category liquor license with an entertainment endorsement. The restaurant will have a DJ to pay recorded background music (from the 70s and 80s, Segal said) while people dine. There will be no dancing and no cover. The full restaurant menu will be on offer until closing time, which will be 2am Sunday-Thursday, and 3am Friday-Saturday.

"We are a full-on restaurant," Segal said.

The capacity of the restaurant will be higher than that of the previous occupant due to the addition of four private dining rooms.

Much of the discussion at the meeting focused on noise from the restaurant. Segal said that there would be no speakers onto the planned sidewalk cafe, no windows opening onto the street, and a single revolving door. Under further questioning, Segal gave further details about the plans for controlling sound in the restaurant. He said the restaurant ensures that speakers are not near columns or on floors, and that they face away from windows.

Segal also said he was concerned about the effects of prolonged exposure to loud music on the hearing of his employees.

"We are focused on these types of issues," he said.

Reason to protest?

Commissioner Stephanie Maltz (district 03) pointed out that ANC2B's policy guidelines required that it protest any new request for a liquor license in this area (called "Club Central") on the grounds of neighborhood peace, order, and quiet. However, STK's application was not, technically, new, since there was a liquor license holder previously in operation on the same spot. Therefore, the ANC was not obligated to protest.

Detail from STK web site
Maltz then told Commissioner Kevin O'Connor (district 02) she perceived some reluctance on O'Connor's part about this application. After some coaxing, O'Connor said he found the concept of a "female-friendly" establishment sexist. It was explained that "female-friendly" referred to solely to certain accommodations the restaurant made to well-established preferences of female diners, especially toward that of smaller portion size.

Commissioner Leo Dwyer (district 07) said this was not relevant to STK's liquor license request.

The motion passed 7-0. One Commissioner was absent on a business trip, and another recused himself.

The liquor license application moves to DC's Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) Board. A hearing is scheduled for October 21. 


  1. Leo Dwyer is absolutely correct - the patron focus of STK restaurant is not relevant to the liquor license request. I am stunned that Kevin O'Connor who, sadly, has been given responsibility for ABC matters as the ANC ABRA committee chair, would allow his personal feelings about the entirely legal business model of the establishment to influence his opinion on the matter. He may think STK is "sexist" but I think he has demonstrated that he is an inappropriate person to be chairing the committee that reviews ABC licensing matters. Will someone please run against this guy in the next election?!

  2. Not that I should be responding to an anonymous internet comment, but there are a couple points missed in the article that I should clear up. While I did suggest the establishment and its marketing were sexist, and I stand by that, I also specifically stated that I would not stand in the way of the application based on its merits on ABRA grounds. In fact, I voted to support the application.

    -Kevin O'Connor
    Commissioner, ANC2B02