City Paper Widget

Monday, August 18, 2014

Jack Evans Weighs in Against "Swann Dive" Tavern

CORRECTION/CLARIFICATION: As the commenter noted below, the August 6 Protest Hearing was open to the public. At the August 6 hearing (if I understand correctly), the Board decided to hold a further, closed meeting to deliberate before issuing a decision within 60 days. Apologies.

DC City Councilmember Jack Evans (D-Ward Two) has written a letter to DC's Alcoholic Beverage Regulation Administration (ABRA) asking it to deny a liquor license for a new tavern planned at the corner of 18th and Swann Streets NW. Will Stephens, Chair of Advisory Neighborhood Commission (ANC) 2B/Dupont Circle, called the letter "highly unusual, because normally Council Members do not get involved in liquor license requests".

The tavern would be located in the basement
Stephens also wrote on his web site : "The only other time in recent memory that Council Member Evans sent such a letter was when we (the ANC) protested Marrakesh Palace (P Street) in their license renewal three years ago, when Marrakesh had different ownership and had been consistently problematic."

Stephens is also ANC Commissioner for district 08, in which the new tavern would be located.

The prospective tavern is currently named "Saloon 45", but the operator is petitioning to change its name to "Swann Dive". See a letter from David Stephens' attorney to ABRA in support of the name change here.

The prospective tavern operator is David Stephens (no relation to Will Stephens), who has a colorful history -- see SALM blog post of May 21. This blog post also reports on the May 19 decision by ANC2B to protest the liquor license application for this establishment.

Evans' letter in support of the protest is available here.

The official ABRA form documenting ANC2B's protest is available here. A similar form for a group of five neighbors is available here.

ABRA held a closed hearing about the matter on August 6, according to official records (see page 4 of a 22-page .pdf here), and will issue a decision within 60 days.


  1. Something tells me that there's a personal history between D. Stephens and Evans, Stephens has opposed Evans in the past, or something personal. "Highly unusual" is an understatement to his involvement.

  2. One correction: The ABC hearing on August 6th was *not* closed --- it was a protest hearing open to the public.