David Batista, owner/operator of All Souls Bar (725 T Street NW), with his attorney Andrew Klein of Veritas Law Firm, appeared at last meeting of the liquor-licensing affairs committee of Advisory Neighborhood Commission (ANC) 1B/U Street on March 18. They wanted to talk about the details of proposed outdoor seating at the corner of T and 8th Streets. They had artist's renderings already on set up on easels, ready to show the committee. But the papers covering the drawings were never removed, and the committee never saw them, as neighbors once again were there to object.
|All Souls Bar (grey building left) wants to serve here|
Baumann. The only development, Baumann said, was that he had received about eight emails total on the topic -- some for, some against.
All Souls Bar has not officially applied to DC's Alcoholic Beverage Regulation Administration (ABRA) for permission to serve outdoors. The ANC has taken on the task of trying to negotiate between the parties.
ANC1B Chair James Turner (Commissioner for district 09) urged all parties to try to arrive at a durable solution.
"Everybody wants a patio, a roof deck, a pop up, a pop out, a shoot out," Turner said in exasperation. Turner told both sides the ANC wanted "something we're not going to get a noise complaint about later".
The discussions at the meeting generated two questions...
Was the decision to allow the bar to open illegal?
"ABRA put a bar there even though there is a law against it," said one
Attorney Klein said: "I would suggest that he [the
The law the
However, this argument also is unlikely to gain traction in this case for two reasons: (1) All Souls is committed to operating only outside of school hours, and (2) ABRA's 2012 decision clearly states it is not in the business of shielding children's eyes from seeing establishments where liquor is served.
What's the law on outdoor service near schools?
Rule 23-302.5 of DC Municipal Regulation (available for download here) says
No alcoholic beverage shall be sold or served by a licensee upon any portion of any premises which fronts upon, abuts, adjoins, or is opposite to the premises of any of the institutions or recreation areas mentioned in this section unless that portion of the premises where alcoholic beverages are served is within a building; provided, that the restriction of service within a building is not applicable to Class C or D licensees on non-school days, weekends, and after 6:00 p.m. on weekdays, allowing alcohol products to be served on licensed outdoor patios which are part of the licensee's premises.All Souls Bar is a class C licensee, so service after 6pm school days, and longer hours on other days, is possible, according to the regulations. So neighbors of the bar will probably make a case for denying outdoor service on the basis of "peace, order and quiet" -- this being the most frequently used language when neighbors oppose a liquor license.
All Souls Bar is located in ANC1B district 01 -- Brian Footer is the Commissioner. It is also borders on district 02 -- Ellen Nedrow Sullivan is the Commissioner. These two will have the task of trying to bring the sides together. Sullivan is on the liquor licensing affairs committee and said she was planning to start meetings with a protesting neighbor in the week following the meeting.
No vote was taken on any aspect of this proposal at the March 18 meeting.