Way back in June of last year, the city added seven new liquor licenses to the Georgetown moratorium cap. The idea was to address a perception that good restaurants were avoiding opening shop in Georgetown because the cost to buy an outstanding license was too high. Moreover, since about seven licenses had be forfeited since the moratorium was originally put in place, adding seven back to the mix would only bring us back to the original level.
So once those license spots became available, they were quickly snatched up by the following places:
- Puro Cafe,
- Zenobia Lounge
- Paul Bakery
- Bill’s Bar and Burger
- Hu’s Wear
GM was wondering recently what happened with all those licenses. His curiosity coincided with a new liquor license application, whose provenance GM was confused over. But first to the seven licenses:
- Puro Cafe was already open before it got one of the new licenses. It is still open.
- Tacklebox was also already open before it got one of the new licenses (it had tried to “share” a license with Hook, but was thwarted). It suffered a fire and is still closed, with a promise to open soon.
- Zenobia Lounge was yet another already existing establishment that obtained one of the new licenses. But GM has heard that they recently surrendered the license.
- Paul Bakery’s opening was long delayed, but they are opening next week, presumably with liquor sales.
- Bill’s Bar and Burger was supposed to move into the old Cellar Door building (which was more recently the Philadelphia Cheesesteak Factory). But that deal fell through and Fugghetaboutit Pizza is supposed to move in there without a liquor license.
- Hu’s Wear is a clothing store but the owners plan to open a restaurant in the old Bartleby’s Books space. GM has not heard anything about this deal falling through, but he’ll note that there has been no sign of construction in the space.
- SPINDC was going to open a table tennis themed restaurant called the International House of Pong. It was supposed to go somewhere in the office building at 1010 Wisconsin Ave. The license was issued but so far GM has not heard any news of the restaurant actually opening.
So of the seven new licenses: three went to existing restaurants (one of which is closed due to fire the other has already surrendered the license), one went to a project that has fallen through, two went to projects that GM’s not sure are still on, and only one went to a new restaurant that is actually open (or rather is actually about to open).
Not exactly what people had in mind when they released the new licenses.
As for that new license application–M Cafe at 3236 Prospect–GM believes that it is taking the license surrendered by Zenobia Lounge. But that still leaves the license spot that was designated for Bill’s Bar and Burger. GM has been unable to figure out what happened to that spot, and as far as he can tell, it’s still available. So if you want to open a restaurant, you might want to snatch up that liquor license.