Tavern Cap Increase Takes Effect

Starting this month, the overall cap on tavern licenses in Georgetown has doubled from six to twelve.

This change was part of a larger ABC law that became effective on June 30th. This change was something GM wrote about last February. Specifically he asked “will the change even matter?” It was the sharp decline in rowdy bars that made the increase even possible. But with that drop, has the entire market for non-restaurant bars in Georgetown disappeared completely? Time will tell.

(For what it’s worth there are only five outstanding tavern licenses in Georgetown right now, despite the cap being at six: Donahue (using Smith Point’s old license), Mr. Smith’s, Georgetown Piano Bar, the Sovereign, and the old Rhino Bar license, which is being held in safe keeping. There was a time not so long ago when a tavern license in Georgetown was worth its weight in gold. Probably more actually, depending on how much a license “weighs”.)

Unlike in the past when new tavern licenses were released, the six new ones must go to new establishments. The applicant must be a new business with a new trade name formed after January 1, 2022. And the certificate of occupancy for the establishment must have been issued after that date too. These rules are in place to ensure that the licenses don’t just go to existing restaurants looking to sell more booze. But frankly, seeing as one tavern license was just sitting there under the old cap not being used by existing restaurants, it seems like overkill to GM to set the six new ones aside.

In either event, the hope here is to attract new and hip cocktail bars. We’ll see if that pans out.


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