City Paper Widget

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Beau Thai Liquor License: How Early is Too Early?

At its regular monthly meeting September 1, Advisory Neighborhood Commission 6E/Shaw voted to endorse the application for a liquor license for the new branch of Beau Thai. The restaurant will be located in the new Jefferson MarketPlace development at 1550 7th Street NW. It is moving from its current location at 1700 New Jersey Avenue NW, at R Street, also in Shaw.

Beau Thai's future home earlier this year (photo credit below)
Steven Whalen of Veritas Law Firm presented for the management of Beau Thai. Whalen said the restaurant will have 99 seats and a total occupancy of 120. There will be a 24-seat outdoor cafe.

Beau Thai will be located in ANC6E district 01. ANC6E Chair Alexander Padro is the Commissioner for that district. Representing the ANC, Padro and Beau Thai have signed a "settlement agreement", which at the time of the meeting was pending approval by DC liquor-licensing authorities. Padro characterized the agreement as "standard".

As a result, the permitted operating hours of the new restaurant will be the same or similar to its neighbors. For example, the outside patio will normally open at 11am. It will stay open until 10:30pm weekdays, and until 11pm weekends. There will be no live music. The inside hours of operation will be the maximum normally allowed by DC law, that is, until 2am weekdays and 3am weekends.

The settlement agreement also allows alcohol consumption at 8am. A neighbor noted this detail at the meeting. She had observed it on the mandatory liquor licensing placard on the future site of the restaurant.

She called this "much, much too early in the a.m."

"If we don't have enough alcoholics, we will have enough alcoholics," she said. "That's like an invitation."

There followed a long discussion in which the neighbor attempted unsuccessfully to get the morning hours reduced. Whalen repeated there was no intention to serve alcohol early in the morning on a regular basis, but the restaurant wished to leave its options open in case it decided, for example, to serve brunch.

Commissioner Rachelle Nigro (district 04) asked if it was possible to amend the signed agreement so that liquor service could not start until 10:30 or 11am, "whenever normal lunchtime is". Whalen and Padro were dead-set against it.

"We already have an agreement negotiated. I would not support any changes to it," Padro said.

Nigro said there was a "neighborhood concern" about the hours.

Padro said one person (i.e., the person protesting at the meeting) "was not a neighborhood concern".

"I'm not the only person who's concerned about this," the neighbor said.

Padro directed the neighbor to bring up her concern at the ABRA hearing about the liquor license. The neighbor promised to do so.

Nigro recommended that the neighbor sit down with the restaurant owner first.

The neighbor said she would "follow through on that".

The vote on Padro's motion to endorse the liquor license request was 5 to 2. The two "no" votes were Commissioners Frank Wiggins (district 03) and Marge Maceda (district 05).

ANC6E records its meeting in their entirety and posts them in half-hour chunks on its YouTube channel. One of the half-hour chunks (part two of five) -- during which part of the discussion above took place -- was missing when I last looked. However, most of the discussion above can be viewed on part three of five, starting at the beginning of the video, here.

See previous coverage of the Beau Thai's infra-Shaw move from the blogs BadWolf DC here and Popville here.

Beau Thai has another branch in Mount Pleasant.

(Photo credit: BadWolf DC. Used by permission.)

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