As we all know, the DC Council voted in emergency legislation last month to allow bars to stay open till 5:00 AM. Following some Congressional heat, they moved the hours back to 4:00 AM. Well then someone asked, “What about all those voluntary agreements?” Newly minted DC Attorney General Peter Nickles responded with an opinion that said that the terms of the voluntary agreements superseded the Council’s action.
So what’s that mean? Well if you own a bar that’s not subject to a voluntary agreement, drink up! If you are subject to a voluntary agreement, you need to get all parties to the agreement to agree to an amendment (by today, by the way). This issue lead to some fireworks at last night’s ANC meeting. Read more after the jump
So what’s the deal with Georgetown? Believe it or not, but some bars in Georgetown are not subject to a voluntary agreement. So some will be open till 4:00 AM. As for the rest, apparently some have agreements with the ANC and the Citizen’s Association of Georgetown. In those cases, those bars would need consent from both the ANC and CAG to stay open later then their agreements allow.
At Tuesday’s ANC meeting CAG president Denise Cunningham made it quite clear that CAG wasn’t going to give an inch. Notwithstanding CAG’s position, owners of five bars showed up to Tuesday’s ANC meeting seeking ANC approval. Some claimed that CAG was not a party to their agreement, so the ANC had the ability to modify the agreement (it was unclear to what extent this was true; some of the bars voluntary agreements were decades old and had been amended). Those bars/restaurants were Old Glory, Cafe Milano, Mate, the Saloon, and Hook.
The discussion got rather heated, particularly between the Commissioners and the owner of Old Glory. Several Commissioners were adamant about not allowing the extension; partially out of anger over the Council’s hasty action, and partially out of a hesitation to address such a complicated issue in a hurry and in an inequitable manner. However, late in the conversation several of the Commissioners seemed to start leaning towards allowing an extension for the five establishments (assuming, of course, that CAG approval wasn’t necessary for them). Finally it came to a vote on the measure to deny their request (thus making the CAG issue moot): it ended up passing 4-3.
Fighting for Your Right to Party: Solomon, Birch, and Golds
Fighting for Your Right to Sleep: Eason, Starrels, Lewis and Skelsey.
It’s still not known to GM what bars aren’t subject to voluntary agreements, but it is clear at least that these five places won’t be open late that weekend.