Paul So, founder and director of the Hamiltonian Gallery (1353 U Street NW), received two visits in six weeks from inspectors of DC's Alcoholic Beverage Regulation Administration (ABRA). The inspectors told him he needed a license to serve complimentary glasses of wine and beer at his gallery. As a result, So was at a meeting of the liquor licensing affars committee of Advisory Neighborhood Commission (ANC) 1B/U Street July 16 to ask for endorsement on a liquor license request.
"I'll take you at your word that you won't do that," said committee chair Nick Baumann.
Baumann also said the facility would probably need a class D/X license, which "[p]ermits multipurpose facilities to sell and serve beer and wine," according to ABRA's web site. A D/X category license costs $650 and expires on March 31, 2016.
There was evidence of support from the community also, so the committee quickly voted unanimously to make a recommendation that the full ANC support the Hamiltonian's application.
So was present at the beginning of the committee meeting. Since he was not a familiar face, Baumann asked him why he had come. When the committee found out the reason, they moved his application to the top of the agenda. The debate and vote took less than 10 minutes, after which the committee wished So the best of luck, and he left.
The first ABRA hearing on the matter will be held on September 8.