Yesterday, the ABC board handed down two significant decisions for Georgetown. As reported by the Current and the Citypaper, first they approved the extension of the liquor license moratorium with an additional seven new licenses available. Second, the rejected CAG’s and the ANC’s request to apply a moratorium on the Georgetown Court complex.
GM has discussed both these issues before. The first issue appears to be a commonsense response to the current situation, namely that the market price for liquor licenses in Georgetown have skyrocketed. Moreover, even with these seven new licenses and the sixteen or so licenses in safe-keeping, there would still be fewer licenses available in Georgetown than there were at the time the moratorium was first enacted. GM still thinks that the lack of a use-it-or-lose-it provision for licenses in safe keeping is more to blame for the excessive price of liquor licenses, but this will certainly help. At least for a little while. Continue reading
Two weeks ago, the Current dug into the story about how ABRA is considering adding two more liquor licenses to the Georgetown Moratorium. One of the bigger issues that stem from the moratorium is the issue of liquor licenses held in safe keeping. Which got GM wondering, who’s holding on to those anyway?
Quick background: There is a moratorium on new liquor licenses for Georgetown. Thus, ABRA cannot issue any new licenses for bars or restaurants in Georgetown (hotels aren’t subject to the moratorium). They can, however, buy licenses from people or entities that already have one.
This legislated scarcity has reportedly pushed the going rate of a liquor license in Georgetown up to $70,000. As the Current reported, the most recent five year moratorium period is coming up, and ABRA is proposing to add two more licenses to the total. The stated reason for these two new licenses is, in the words of ANC Commissioner Bill Starels, to “dampen the bidding wars.”
But who are they bidding to? An active restaurant or bar isn’t likely to sell its liquor license, so any new establishment must look to the defunct restaurants and bars that are still holding on to their inactive licenses (known as licenses held in safe keeping). Continue reading
Carol Joynt sent out a email blast last night announcing that Nathans has signed a leased to remain at the corner of Wisconsin and M. This comes after years of uncertainty for the restaurant. This is great news for the neighborhood.
If there are any gray clouds to this silver lining, it’s that the lease is not tied to a specific term. Continue reading
GM hasn’t stated it directly, but it’s worth celebrating, at least a little bit, that today, April 1st, Nathans lives to see another day. As you may remember, today was supposed to be the end of Nathans. The lease was supposed to expire last night. As any reader of Carol Joynt’s blog could tell you, it appears that long negotiations with the landlord have resulted in a stay of execution for the restaurant. While the details are not widely known, Joynt told WUSA recently that “I think you’ll see us here for the foreseeable future, but it’s also predicated on the economy not getting worse.”
Not exactly the most optimistic words, but nonetheless today we all have something to celebrate because Nathans lives on.
The New York Times ran an interesting article last weekend; writer Glen Collins sought out bars and taverns in Gotham without televisions. This interesting idea got GM thinking, what bars and taverns in Georgetown are T.V.-free? The answer: not many.
This isn’t terribly newsy news, but GM only just noticed this: Blue Gin closed recently and re-opened as its old incarnation: Champions Sports Bar.
Blue Gin opened to sizzling press back in 2004. It took over Champions’ space after the bar and its notoriously lenient ID-checking habits had its liquor licensed pulled.
Well then was then and now is now, and apparently after a steep decline Blue Gin closed up shop sometime last November. GM can’t report on the ID leniency of the new Champions (he’ll leave that to Vox Populi), but according to first-hand accounts, Champion’s has quickly reverted to its loutish ways. It’s like it’s the 90′s all over again; if you close your eyes you can almost hear the 3rd Eye Blind.