Georgetown has a moratorium on new liquor licenses. So unlike the rest of the city (with the exception of the other moratorium zones) a restaurant or bar that wants to open up in Georgetown can’t simply go downtown, apply for a new liquor license, and pay a small fee. Rather, a new Georgetown restaurant or bar needs to buy an existing license off the secondary market. And for all intents and purposes, that means buying one of the licenses that are held by restaurants or bars no longer in business. The going rate for these licenses has reported to be as high as $75,000.
This barrier to entry has been frequently cited by restaurateurs as a significant reason not to open a restaurant in Georgetown. But GM’s hear to say: act now and this won’t be a problem!
You see, last year the ABC Board authorized the issuance of seven new liquor licenses in Georgetown. This was done partially in acknowledgement that since the moratorium was put in place, at least seven liquor licenses had left Georgetown, so the number of available licenses was actually lower than when the moratorium was put in place. Additionally, there was a sense that Geogetown’s restaurant scene has grown a little stale and that new licenses might inject a little blood back into the scene.
When the new licenses were authorized, there was a bit of a gold rush to secure them. Within weeks they were all spoken for. But as GM discussed back in November, things haven’t gone quite as planned. Some restaurants just never got off the ground, and in one case the restaurant quickly gave up the license when the attendant restrictions were more than they wished to live with.
Long story short: there is at least one, possibly up to three, authorized Georgetown liquor licenses sitting at ABRA just waiting for an applicant. All those restaurateurs out there that have bitched about the difficulty landing a liquor license in Georgetown, you have one less excuse. So get on it and bring some life back to the overly burgered restaurant scene!