Weigh In on the Proposed Liquor License Changes

As GM wrote about in February, the Mayor has proposed to change the administration of liquor licenses in Georgetown (as part of a larger citywide initiative). The most significant changes proposed include removing the cap on tavern licenses in Georgetown and the creation of an open container zone at Washington Harbour.

The BID is organizing community meetings starting next week to hear from the public about these proposals. Here is a link to a webpage created by the BID on the effort.

These changes have the potential to dramatically change nightlife in Georgetown. As it is now, no more than six establishments can have a tavern license. (Tavern licenses allow a bar to operate without having to offer food.) Eliminating the cap would enable more bars to open, potentially in spaces that would not work as a restaurant due to the lack of a kitchen or other dining facilities. On the one hand, this could theoretically bring back the rowdy college bars of Georgetown’s past. But it could just as easily introduce more classy wine or cocktail bars.

The meetings are Tuesday at 10 am and Thursday at 6:30 pm.


1 Comment

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One response to “Weigh In on the Proposed Liquor License Changes

  1. Carol Ross Joynt

    GM – I can weigh in as an expert. Once upon a time Georgetown was the hub of DC nightlife, and in large part due to the prevalence of tavern licenses. The cool bars and restaurants drew the tourists and, importantly, the community. Nightlife also fed daytime mood. Then, the elders clamped down, and concurrently landlords became epically greedy. We lost loads of restaurant business to other parts of town, and also shops. A prevalence of bars brings up business in the village, all boats rise.

    While as a former tavern license owner I see the reasonable argument for resuming them – I could not have stayed in business otherwise. There needs to be management and restraint and some kind of controlling vision of what Georgetown should look like, something other than an alternate location for mall chains. The corporate takeover at Wisconsin and M. Is unfortunate, but it is in part because of the tavern license restrictions. Our best corners – and other prime locations – shouldn’t be banks! There’s no leadership in Georgetown, currently. But if the village can get good leadership there is a chance for reviving this once wildly popular destination for food and shopping, a plus for residents especially but also a draw for tourists.

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