City Paper Widget

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Liquor License Endorsements, Protests from ANC2F

Advisory Neighborhood Commission (ANC) 2F/Logan Circle voted on a handful of liquor-license-related matters at its last regular monthly meeting on November 6. ANC2F voted to protest one liquor license application, and approve four others. It also voted to endorse a new settlement agreement with a "The American (soon to open in Blagden Alley), and against a request by The Park at 14th to terminate a settlement agreement.
A "settlement agreement" is often reached between an ANC and a liquor-serving establishment and codifies the establishment's operating hours and other details which effect the community.

The American
The roll-up garage door (right) was a bone of contention

ANC2F unanimously voted to support a settlement agreement negotiated between the ANC and Blagden Alley Entertainment, LLC., which will operate "The American" restaurant. The official address will be 1209 - 1213 10th Street NW, but the restaurant will actually be located in Blagden Alley, a historic district inside the block bordered by 9th, 10th, M, and N Streets. 

There was much community interest and some community opposition to the opening of The American. It was the subject of the September 24 SALM blog post.

Among the provisions of the settlement agreements are:
  • The restaurant will close at 1 a.m. Monday - Thursday and 2 a.m. on Friday and Saturday.
  • The outdoor consumption of food and drink will cease at 11 p.m. Sunday - Thursday and 1 a.m. Friday and Saturday.
  • Outside music will cease at 11 p.m. Sunday - Thursday and 1 a.m. Friday and Saturday.
  • Deliveries will be made by hand truck -- no trucks in Blagden Alley.
  • The American will discourage smoking outside the restaurant.
The text of the entire settlement agreement is available here.

There were still a few neighborhood voices protesting the restaurant up until the very last minute. One attendee accused The American of hiding a mandatory public notice on a roll-up door, so that it was not visible to the public most of the time. The notice contained information about The American's liquor license application, including times and places when members of the public could attend hearings on the matter.

I took the picture accompanying this article (above) in September. The notices can be seen on the metal garage door in the right of the picture.

Commissioner John Fanning (district 04) would look into the allegation, which would be a violation of liquor-license regulations if proved true. Fanning is chair of ANC2F's liquor-licensing affairs committee.

The Park at 14th

ANC2F voted 7 - 1 to oppose the termination of the settlement agreement between The Park at 14th nightclub (920 14th Street), an abutting neighbor, and the ANC. The lone vote against was by ANC2F Chair Matt Raymond (Commissioner for district 07).

The Park at 14th's operators appeared before the full ANC at its last meeting on October 2nd to say they wished to terminate the agreement, comparing the agreement to handcuffs. This was reported in the October 9 SALM blog post.

The Park at 14th's operators also said the agreement was unfair because many of their competitors were not compelled to have a settlement agreement. It has been informal ANC2F policy for many years not to require settlement agreements for establishments south of Massachusetts Avenue, because the area is largely non-residential. It is not clear why The Park at 14th (which is in this area) became an exception to this policy. However, this anomaly led to accusations of bias against The Park at 14th's operators at the October ANC2F meeting.

The commissioner voted to make formal policy stating that all new and existing liquor licensees, no matter where in ANC2F they were, should come before the ANC to acquire, renew, or change the conditions of their liquor license. The vote was 7 - 1, with Commissioner Raymond once again the sole "no" vote.

Vita Lounge

ANC2F voted to protest the liquor license renewal request for Vita Lounge (1318 9th Street). It was reported the establishment had 28 violations of liquor-licensing rules. The manager had been called by the ANC and told the ANC she would not come to the ANC meeting.

ANC2F's liquor-licensing affairs committee had unanimously recommended the full ANC protest Vita Lounge's application. 

Sherri Kimbel, Director of Constituent Services for D.C. Councilmember Jack Evans, suggested ANC vote to make two separate protests against the Vita Lounge. One protest would concern its liquor license, the other protest would concern its cover charge, dancing, and entertainment endorsement. ANC2F followed her advice and passed two separate protest motions. 

Commissioner Greg Melcher (district 06) promised to contact the operator of the Vita Lounge about the protest. The Vita Lounge is in Melcher's ANC district.

Records show Vita Lounge was fined $750 in April for a violation of its settlement agreement. Another document shows Vita Lounge failed to pay this $750 file within 30 days as ordered. The same document indicates Vita Lounge had a further outstanding fine from January.

Separate records show Vita Lounge has an appointment to appear before D.C.'s Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) Board on December 4 because it "failed to comply with the terms of its offer of compromise dated October 24, 2012".

Routine approvals

The full ANC followed the recommendation of its liquor-licensing affairs committee to approve liquor license renewals for the following establishment: Capitale (1301 K Street), Ghibellina (1610 14th Street), Number Nine (1435 P Street), and Vegas Lounge (1415 P Street). There was no debate or discussion about these applications.

ANC2F's summary of the entire meeting of November 6 is available here.

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