City Paper Widget

Monday, April 6, 2015

All Souls Bar Mobilizes Social Media to Support Outdoor Service

CORRECTION: When originally published, the first sentence of this article said the patio would be at the corner of "8th and I Streets". Apologies.

All Souls Bar (725 T Street NW) has launched a campaign on social media to gain community support for a planned patio at the corner of 8th and T Streets. As a result, Nick Baumann, chair of the liquor-licensing affairs committee of Advisory Neighborhood Commission (ANC) 1B/U Street, has received about 50 emails in support of the planned patio as of last Thursday evening, April 2, when the ANC had its regularly-scheduled monthly meeting. (Baumann also tweeted this information on the same day.) By comparison, at a meeting of the liquor-licensing committee on March 18, Baumann reported he had received eight emails, divided for and against.

From All Souls Bar's Facebook page
In order to serve outside, All Souls will have to get permission from DC liquor-licensing authorities. The first step toward this permission would be getting buy-in from the community, including the ANC. Neighbors of, and property-owners near, the establishment have come to the last two meetings of the liquor-licensing affairs committee of the ANC to oppose the proposal -- see SALM blog posts of February 25 and March 25.

On April 1, All Souls Bar published a post on its Facebook page asking for community support. At the same time, it tweeted a "call to action", directing readers to the Facebook post.

The Facebook post has pictures of the proposed space (see above) and also cites reporting on this blog. All Souls Bar's owner/operator David Batista writes he feels "opposition is unwarranted with some misinterpretation of the law and our intentions." Batista also writes:
We want to take a barren lot and surround it with trees and plantings to beautify the corner for pedestrians and patrons alike. We want a patio with table service only—no standing, no speakers and no smoking (sorry folks). A patio with limited hours.
The post urges supporters to email Baumann and ANC Commissioners and "let them know why you support All Souls and our patio". As of this writing, the post has 190 "likes" and has been shared 40 times, including on the SALM Facebook page.

Shortly after the post was published, it was shared on the Facebook-based blog U Street Buzz and was the subject of a sympathetic article on the blog Popville. In both places, it received many additional likes and favorable comments. The Popville article also has some unfavorable comments.

Since the original Facebook posting, All Souls Bar has thanked it supporters on Twitter for the "great and truely humbling" response, and urged supporters to "keep the emails coming, you are being heard".

At the April 2 meeting, several ANC1B Commissioners said they had received emails in support of the patio. Baumann told the ANC the matter would come up again at the next regularly-scheduled liquor-licensing committee meet, and he expected it to be "contentious". There was little further discussion and no vote of any kind on the project at the April 2 meeting.

The next meeting of the liquor-licensing affairs committee of ANC1B is scheduled for Wednesday, April 15. Meetings usually start at 7pm, and take place at the Thurgood Marshall Center (1816 12th Street, between S and T Streets).


  1. I think the text should read "at the corner of 8th and S Streets"

    1. Thank you for noticing the typo -- I corrected it to "8th and T"