Tag Archives: ABRA

ANC Round Up: Lots Of New Gin Joints Edition

Last night the ANC met for its September session. It was long and grueling. In fact, for the first time in over a year GM left before the end, and that was after three hours.

Notwithstanding his early exit, GM was witness to a lot of interesting news, and most of it had to do with new bars and restaurants.

But first off, let’s talk bikes:

Capital Bikeshare Stations

Chris Holbin of DDOT came before the ANC to present his agency’s plans on new Capital Bikeshare stations in Georgetown. As previously reported here, there will be four such stations in Georgetown. One of those stations was previously announced to be at the gates of the university. Unfortunately, as Holbin discussed last night, there isn’t enough space on the sidewalk for a station and DDOT hasn’t reached an agreement with the school to place it inside the gates.

So they went looking for a replacement site and settled on the north front of the Car Barn on Prospect St. The commissioners, who to their credit were in favor of the program, nonetheless were opposed to this new location. They argued that the immediate neighbors objected to the noise and activity it would create. Ironically, the one commissioner who actually lives across the street from the proposed location, Aaron Golds, didn’t object. But his lone vote against the resolution objecting to the location wasn’t enough. Said resolution called for DDOT to look for another space closer to the university or on the university’s grounds.

Frankly GM would love a station across the street, but never underestimate Georgetowners’ ability to look a gift horse in the mouth. Continue reading

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Hu’s Chain to Branch out into Food

As GM has previously reported, one of the seven new liquor licenses is likely to be issued to Hu’s Wear LLC. This was a real headscratcher because Hu’s Wear is a clothing store, the sister to Hu’s Shoes.

GM got in touch with one of the co-owners of the Hu’s chain, Eric Eden, to clear up the confusion. Turns out the Eric and his co-owner Marlene Hu Aldaba are actually planning on opening a new restaurant. As described in the liquor license application it will be a “Mediterranean style restaurant serving breakfast, lunch and dinner specialties to include homemade pastas, sauces, wood-grilled seafood and meats. No entertainment. Seating capacity is 120. Summer Garden seating capacity is 60. Total occupancy load is 180.”

Eden confirmed that that is indeed the style of restaurant that they are planning and that they’ve even lined up a chef. Continue reading

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Update on Those New Liquor License Applicants

In June, the Current reported that the seven establishments likely to be awarded the seven new liquor licenses in Georgetown had already been determined. They were:

  • Puro Cafe
  • Tacklebox
  • Zenobia Lounge
  • Paul Bakery (a new French bakery going in just south of Banana Republic)
  • Bill’s Bar and Burger (a new place moving into the old Cheesesteak Factory)
  • Hu Wear
  • SPINDC

The first four were no great surprise to anybody, and now it looks like they will be the first to get the new license. All four have had their applications approved to be placard and will each have a hearing with ABRA in September. They all will likely be protested by the ANC, which will lead into the inevitable “voluntary” agreement process. Assuming that goes as it normally goes, these establishments should be boozing it up by early winter at the latest. (Paul Bakery was supposed to open by November according to GM’s sources.)

The last two applicants were mysteries in June and they still are.

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New Liquor Licensees Revealed

Yesterday’s Georgetown Current contained an article discussing the decision by the ABC Board to expand the available liquor licenses within the Georgetown Moratorium by seven. ABRA officials had previously stated that the licenses would be issued on a first-come-first-served basis. The Current listed the seven parties who have applications pending and thus who are likely to take home the new licenses. Some are familiar faces, some are new, and others just left GM a little confused.

Bill’s Bar & Burger – 3347 M St.

That’s the old Philadelphia Cheesesteak Factory Building, so it would seem a new tenant has been found. It also seems that this is related to a bar with the exact same name in the Meat Packing District in New York. So like Serendipity 3, it would be a DC outpost of a NYC establishment. Given the lackluster appearance of the burger on the restaurant’s own website, GM is not too excited for this arrival.

Tackle Box – 3245 M St.

This is no surprise. Jonathan Umbell has been trying to secure a license for Tackle Box for quite some time. Hopefully you’ll be able to enjoy a beer with your lobster roll soon.

Puro Cafe – 1529 Wisconsin

A recent arrival to the upper Wisconsin Ave. neighborhood, Puro Cafe has received positive reviews. The only sticking point GM can foresee is if they want to serve drinks in their backyard late at night. Since that backs up to residences on Q St. and 32nd, those homeowners might object. Continue reading

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ANC Round-Up: Back From the Beach Edition

Just hours after taking the above photo of the idyllic southern Massachusetts coastline, GM found himself racing back to Washington in order to attend the June ANC meeting. This fact has no bearing on the meeting itself, but GM just felt you ought to know what sacrifices he makes to keep you informed.

That said, the ANC meeting last night was jam packed and more than justified GM’s sacrifice. Unfortunately, it ran rather long so GM is going to have to keep it short in order to avoid falling asleep at the wheel.

Streetcars

DDOT presented plans for the streetcar and how those plans would affect Georgetown. In DDOT’s ambitious 37 mile plan, the agency calls for a cross-town route to come into Georgetown along K St.

The ANC is generally supportive of the plans but is nervous about how the streetcar could affect traffic, parking, and the viewshed. The overall message from the DDOT representative is that it is way too early to really say what DDOT is going to decide for Georgetown, but he also added that it is likely that there will not be dedicated lanes and that no overhead wire will be used in Georgeown.

On that last point, though, the DDOT representative was a bit ambivalent.  He showed up with an actual cross-sections of the proposed 3/8th inch overhead wire along with several images of what that wire would look like in action. He also discussed the council’s proposal to authorize overhead wires along H St. NE (areas outside of the L’Enfant Plan and Georgetown allow overhead wires already). You could argue that he was trying to soften up Georgetown to accept overhead wires, at least temporarily.

And surprisingly enough, it looks like the ANC may go along with that. They unanimously adopted a resolution that was split into two parts. The first part essentially said that the ANC supports streetcars on K St. so long as there are no dedicated lanes, no parking was removed, and any overhead wires are approved by the Commission of Fine Arts (there was also a request to consider what effect the possible removal of the Whitehurst would have on those plans).

Secondly, the ANC would not object to streetcars on Wisconsin Ave. (or M St., which was added to the resolution after the DDOT rep mentioned that streetcars could end up coming into Georgetown by M St. not k St.) again so long as there are no dedicated lanes and no removal of parking. For Wisconsin and M, however, the ANC put its foot down and said absolutely no overhead wires.

All in all, it was a good resolution for supporters of streetcars in and through Georgetown. Continue reading

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Dixie Liquors Keeps Singles Ban Exemption Despite Strongly Worded ANC Resolution

Photo by Pedestrian Typography.

As discussed here, last month the ANC held a special session to address Dixie Liquors’s request for an exemption to the single sales ban. The emergency meeting was necessary because ABRA already had granted Dixie’s request for an exemption and so the ANC was asking for ABRA to reconsider its decision.

The original decision by ABRA to grant the exemption was based, in part, on the fact that the ANC failed to weigh in against Dixie’s original application for waiver. The ANC didn’t pass a resolution against the application on the mistaken belief that no exemption would be granted without an affirmative resolution by the ANC.

Given this miscommunication, it’s somewhat understandable that the ANC would adopt a strongly worded resolution objecting to the issuance of the waiver without a positive resolution (as well as the lack of effective notice from ABRA that it was about to grant the waiver). But the actual resolution goes way overboard: Continue reading

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ANC Round Up: Holy Crepe Edition

Peach Crepes by sonicwalker.

The ANC met for its May session last night. Heavy on liquor discussions and mercifully short on residential permit issues, the meeting was a lively one. But are you even reading this or are just thinking about how much you’d love some peach crepes right now?

About Those Crepes

Sometimes words said just cannot be unsaid. Exhibit A: Last month the proprietors of the new Crepe Amour restaurant on M St. described their restaurant as a “grab and go”-type restaurant while asking to get approval to remain open 24-7. There are probably few phrases that they would be worse off using than “grab and go” if they ever hope to get approval as an all-night dining option. For that reason, the owners were back this month desperately explaining all the ways in which they are neither grab nor go.

The commissioners weren’t buying it. They believe that if Crepe Amour is permitted to go to 24-7 operation, they will become Philly Pizza redux. While GM can sympathize with the fact that that part of Georgetown might be sensing a bit of deja vu all over again, he believes that there are fundamental differences. Most importantly, Crepe Amour is on M St. not a side street like Potomac. This is a key difference. The reason that Philly Pizza was such a problem was that it attracted drunk and loud revelers off of M St. who then congregated outside of the restaurant, which happened to also be the outside of a bunch of homes. The commissioners kept harping on the idea that Crepe Amour would “attract” only drunks. But so what? If a drunk student is going to walk back to the campus or their off-campus home through the lower West Village, they are going to do so regardless of whether they stop by for a crepe on M St. beforehand. Maybe 24 hour service is unacceptable for other reasons, but GM thinks the ANC is making an illogical comparison to Philly Pizza in this instance. Continue reading

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ANC May Preview: Drink Up Edition

ANC2E will meet for its May session next Monday night at 6:30 at Visitation. If you like long discussions over liquor licenses, this is your month. Oh and streetcars!

License Renewals

Eleven establishments are up for liquor license. The ANC is planning on discussing four of those restaurants: Riverside Grille, Il Canale, Cabana’s, and Tony and Joe’s.

In addition, the ANC wants to discuss the voluntary agreements of George nightclub and the new Crepe Amour/Georgetown Wing Co. Apparently George is asking to terminate or modify its VA (good luck with that). Crepe Amour/Georgetown Wing Co. has undergone a substantial change (it used to be Amma’s Vegetarian Kitchen) so they’ll have to get their VA changed accordingly.

Finally, there will be an update of the ANC’s vote to ask ABRA to reconsider the single sales ban waiver that the agency granted to Dixie Liquors. Continue reading

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Special ANC Meeting Tomorrow to Discuss Single Sales

Dixie Liquors by Busdriver420.

There will be a special meeting of ANC2E tomorrow at 8:40 AM at the Georgetown BID office (1055 Thomas Jefferson St.). There is only one item on the agenda: Dixie Liquors application to sell singles.

A little background: In 2008, the Council voted to ban the sale of “singles” in Ward 2. Specifically, DC Code Section 25-345 states, in part, that no liquor store in Ward 2 shall:

Sell, give, offer, expose for sale, or deliver an individual container of beer, malt liquor, or ale with a capacity of 70 ounces or less, as well as spirits (liquor) sold in half-pints or smaller volumes.

Similar singles bans exist in other sections of town, including Wards 4, 6, and 8. These bans are aimed at reducing petty crimes associated with public drunkenness. Generally speaking, they have been popular. Continue reading

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Georgetown’s Liquor Licenses Held in Safe Keeping

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

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