City Paper Widget

Thursday, March 27, 2014

UPDATED: District Flea Liquor License Green Light from ANC1B

UPDATED (April 3): Hospitality law and liquor-licensing attorney Brian Molloy (blogging at The DC Liquor Law Blog) emailed me to say that District Flea has been granted its stipulated license by DC authorities. It is unclear if the neighbors attempted to file a protest. Thanks Brian!

CORRECTED (March 27): Commenter (below) correctly points that District Flea, even though it now has a stipulated license, may not be able to serve alcohol if there is a protest against the license pending.

Thanks to the anonymous commenter for schooling me on this.

Advisory Neighborhood Commission (ANC) 1B/U Street cleared the way for District Flea to serve beer when it opens on April 5. It voted unanimously at its meeting of March 25 to both to support a stipulated license for District Flea and to endorse a request for a long-term DT (Tavern) category license for the flea market.

Granting a stipulated license is one of the few actions that an ANC can take that is more than advisory in nature. On the basis of ANC1B's action, District Flea will be able to legally serve alcohol until its long-term liquor-license application makes its way through the D.C. bureaucracy. 

District Flea is the local branch of New York's Brooklyn Flea. It started operation last September on a vacant lot at 945 Florida Avenue NW, and operated for 12 weeks.

"It went very well," District Flea Market Manager Hugh McIntosh told ANC1B.

Last year, McIntosh said, Churchkey restaurant (1337 14th Street) served beer on the premises of District Flea on the basis of a caterer's license. This year, District Flea will be administering the alcohol concession directly.

District Flea will be at the same location this year, open Saturdays from 10am-5pm. They will only serve alcohol until 5pm, McIntosh said. They will also use wristbands to identify people who are old enough to drink legally.

Some residents of the Floridian (929 Florida Ave), a nearby condominium, are protesting the liquor license. McIntosh told the ANC residents were concerned about double-parking in the area, as well as litter once the day's operation is over. McIntosh said District Flea would put out signs reminding visitors not to double park, and would have clean-up people pick up trash on Saturday evenings.

McIntosh also said District Flea was contemplating an outdoor movie night on the property this summer. However, it would not be able to serve alcohol until it made a "substantial change" to the license it is now seeking. Making a substantial change to an existing liquor license means a completely new trip through the liquor-licensing bureaucracy, which might give neighbors a new opportunity to protest.

The application for a liquor license has its next hearing at D.C's Alcoholic Beverage Regulation Administration (ABRA) on April 21.


  1. According to DCMR 23-200.1(c), District Flea actually cant take advantage of their stipulated license if the Floridian residents have filed a valid protest. Your point still stands that ANCs have considerable power with respect to stipulated licenses, however any valid protest whether it be from another community organization or a group of 5 or more residents can render the stipulated license useless until the protest is withdrawn or dismissed.

  2. Thanks for the info. I'm not sure if either District Flea or at least some of the Commissioners who voted for the license were aware of this.