City Paper Widget

Monday, January 12, 2015

ANC1B Approves Settlement Agreement with Darnell's

At its regular monthly meeting January 8, Advisory Neighborhood Commission (ANC) 1B/U Street voted to enter into a settlement agreement with Darnell's Bar (944 Florida Avenue NW). The vote was unanimous.

Darnell's via Google Street View
The agreement says Darnell's will close at 1am on weekends and midnight on weekdays. It also says there will be no outdoor music and all windows and doors will be shut except when patrons are entering or leaving the establishment. Darnell's will also guarantee that there are noise-dampening curtains in the windows at all times. 

This was the second meeting in a row where ANC1B voted on a settlement agreement with Darnell's. At the last meeting of the ANC, the outgoing commissioners voted to reject a draft settlement agreement -- see SALM blog post of December 10. After that rejection, there were additional negotiations with neighbors who have been involved in a lengthy dispute with the bar, and the new version of the settlement agreement was more to their liking.

It was reported that, although the neighbors were "satisfied" with the settlement agreement, they would continue to protest the liquor license renewal application before DC's Alcoholic Beverage Regulation Administration (ABRA).

There are two parties protesting the liquor license renewal. One party is a group of five or more neighbors. Under Section 25-609 of DC Code, ABRA will automatically dismiss this group's protest once it approves the ANC's settlement agreement.

"The group of five is OK with that," said Nick Baumann, chair of ANC1B's liquor-licensing affairs committee, in his report to the ANC.

The other party is a single individual who is an abutting neighbor to Darnell's. Specifically, the neighbor lives upstairs. As an abutting neighbor, this protest falls into a different category and will not be automatically dismissed as a result of the settlement agreement. It seems like likely that more hearings and attempts at arbitration will result. However, it has been reported that the upstairs neighbor is interested in no other outcome than the complete closure of the bar.

Darnell's is known alternately as Manchester Bar and Darnell's Manchester Bar. During the daytime, The Blind Dog Cafe, a coffee house, operates in the same space.

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