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Archive for the ‘Liquor Licenses’ Category

On June 25, the Alcoholic Beverage Control Board voted to extend alcohol sales at Safeway (1855 Wisconsin Ave.) by two hours in the morning. The grocer is now approved to sell beer and wine from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily.

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Breadsoda (2233 Wisconsin Ave.) sold more than enough food in 2012 to comply with its liquor license, the Alcoholic Beverage Control Board has found. On June 4, the Board dismissed a case against the pub for violating the provisions of its license.

Although the restaurant took in more than the minimum gross food sales of $2,000 per seat, it did not originally report its actual sales, due to what the owners termed “a clerical error.” Says Alcoholic Beverage Regulation Administration spokesperson Jessie Cornelius, “The licensee submitted corrected quarterly reports showing adequate food sales. As a result, the Alcoholic Beverage Control Board and Office of Attorney General agreed that there is no violation.”

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On Friday, June 6, the Office of Tax and Revenue seized the liquor license of JP’s Lounge (2412 Wisconsin Ave.) and ordered it shut down for nonpayment of $654,077.87 in sales tax, penalties, and interest, according to OTR spokeswoman Natalie Wilson.

This morning, to hear the owners’ representative tell it, the strip club got its license back—along with a heartfelt apology from the city tax agency. “The owners owed zero. These guys have been paying taxes fine,” says Paul Kadlick, a representative for the Vice Group, which owns the club. “The revenue agent couldn’t have been more apologetic.”

Curiously, OTR’s Wilson tells a different story. As of late afternoon today, she says, the matter has not been resolved. “OTR has not released the licenses nor granted a reinstatement of any kind,” she wrote in an email after we told her about our conversation with Kadlick. “OTR is working with the new owners to bring them into compliance.”

So what gives? According to Wilson, an OTR review of the club’s account revealed that the club hadn’t paid expected sales taxes for the past six years. That’s what generated the massive tax lien. What the agency’s records apparently failed to reflect was that the club was shut down between January 2008, when a fire destroyed its original building, and June 2013, when the club reopened under new ownership. Wilson told us that OTR was unaware that the club’s ownership had changed. We wonder whether documentation of this change is what’s missing now before the club can reopen.

Kadlick told us he expected the club to be open tomorrow night.

While we had Kadlick on the phone, we asked about the long-shattered glass in the club’s mirrored doorway: Do the owners intend to fix it? Kadlick explained that someone–a Georgetown University student–has been arrested and charged with the crime of breaking the door, and that the club’s owners are awaiting the outcome of that case before repairs are made. “Someone has to make restitution” for the damage, Kadlick says. He estimated the repair cost at “several thousand dollars.”

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From the May 2014 edition of the Glover Park Gazette:

Wide World of Wines (2201 Wisconsin Ave.) is now permitted to open on Sundays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., after the ABC Board approved its application for expanded hours. Previously, the shop was closed on Sundays.

 

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From the May 2014 edition of the Glover Park Gazette:

Breadsoda (2233 Wisconsin Ave.) is facing potential discipline from the Alcoholic Beverage Regulation Administration after an audit revealed that the bar had misreported its food and alcohol sales numbers for calendar year 2012. Although the restaurant took in more than the minimum gross food sales of $2,000 per seat, it did not report its actual sales, due to what the owners termed “a clerical error.” In an April 22 letter to the Alcoholic Beverage Control Board, co-owner Bill Thomas wrote, “I accidentally overstated our liquor sales. What idiot does that?” A report by ABRA investigator Adeniyi Adejunmobi challenges this assertion, though, stating that “based on the audit performed, Breadsoda underreported food and alcoholic beverages sales.” A hearing on the matter has been tentatively scheduled for May 21.

 

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A restaurant named Sushi Keiko has leased 2309 Wisconsin Ave., the former home of Sushi Ko. On March 12, company president Wei Zhang applied for a liquor license for the new restaurant. The Sushi Keiko menu will feature a variety of Asian foods, including sushi and sashimi, small plates such as grilled baby octopus with mango sauce, and entrees including roasted Maine salmon, the application states. Sushi Ko closed its Glover Park location last summer.

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Good Guys (2311 Wisconsin Ave.) has promised not to apply for permission to create private dancing spaces for one or two patrons, under a formal agreement with Advisory Neighborhood Commission 3B. The club’s promise would obtain unless another strip club within two miles is permitted to create such spaces, or unless the law against strippers performing within three feet of patrons is changed. The formal agreement cleared the way for a three-year renewal of the club’s liquor license.

Good Guys has never applied for permission to create private dancing spaces. But last year, the neighborhood’s other strip club, JP’s Lounge (2412 Wisconsin Ave.), tried to gain permission from the Alcoholic Beverage Control Board to put dancers on small tabletops and in semi-private alcoves. The ANC opposed this application, which was dismissed when a JP’s representative failed to appear at a required hearing.

The ANC formally protested the Good Guys license renewal on the grounds that the club is not appropriate for such a family-centered neighborhood. It withdrew the protest in light of the  February 24 compromise agreement, which also requires Good Guys to place a security camera outside its front entrance. In recent years, a few scuffles have occurred on the sidewalk in front of the establishment, and in 2007, a man who had been kicked out of the club for unruly behavior returned and started a fire that killed a young manager.

The agreement submitted to the Alcoholic Beverage Control Board included a third provision: that all Good Guys performers would use the building’s rear entrance before 5 p.m. (Good Guys opens at 11 a.m., while its competitor JP’s is not allowed to open until 5 p.m.) But commissioners struck that provision after a City Paper reporter suggested to them that it was discriminatory.* “Would fully clothed women who happen to strip for a living really destroy the family-friendliness of the neighborhood simply by walking on a sidewalk nearby?” asked Perry Stein in a March 7 story.  In an email quoted in Stein’s story, commissioner Jackie Blumenthal wrote that the ANC’s main sidewalk concern is the behavior of club patrons, not staff. “It didn’t occur to me that using the rear door would appear to be discriminatory until you raised it,” Blumenthal wrote to Stein. “Thank you for making us rethink this issue.” On March 12, the ABC Board approved the compromise agreement without this third provision.

*The first version of this story erroneously reported that all three provisions of the submitted agreement had been approved.

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From the February 2014 edition of the Glover Park Gazette:

 

The liquor license for Sushi Ko (2309 Wisconsin Ave.) is officially in the dormant “safekeeping” status, after a December 11 vote by the ABC Board. Restaurant owner Daisuke Utagawa requested that the license be placed in safekeeping because he “decided to lease the space out to another tenant,” according to his application for the status. The ABC Board voted to allow the license to stay in safekeeping through June 11. The Sushi Ko building is currently for rent.

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From the December 2013 edition of the Glover Park Gazette:

JP’s Lounge (2412 Wisconsin Ave.) has lost its bid to offer tabletop and alcove dancing, at least for the time being. On October 23, the Alcoholic Beverage Control Board denied the strip club’s application to use the small performance spaces after club spokesman Paul Kadlick failed to appear at a hearing on the matter. Kadlick later wrote to the board apologizing for his absence—which he attributed to unexplained tardiness compounded by a Secret Service road closure—and requesting that the club’s application be reinstated. On November 13, the ABC Board denied that request. But there is nothing stopping JP’s from submitting a new application.

Meanwhile, an effort to question the club’s recent liquor license renewal seems to be at an end. On September 18, the ABC Board dismissed a protest of the license renewal by ANC 3B and the Glover Park Citizens’ Association. Because the groups’ joint protest focused the fitness of the club’s owners for licensure rather than the appropriateness of the club to the neighborhood, the Board ruled it “outside the possible grounds” for protest as outlined in the relevant statute. (The ANC recently used the appropriateness argument to get the club’s opening time changed from 11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.) On September 30, the two groups filed a joint request to reinstate their protest, arguing that the Board had misunderstood the statute. On October 16, the Board voted to hear oral arguments in the matter, but on October 23, its members reconsidered their decision to reconsider and voted to deny the reinstatement request without hearing oral arguments. “I feel that we don’t need to hear oral arguments,” said Board member Nick Alberti at the meeting. “If the protestants have relevant information about the licensees’ fitness for licensure, then the Board will be interested in hearing that, and we will deal with it appropriately.” The club’s license will come up for renewal again in 2015.

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The Glover Park Citizens’ Association is holding a special meeting on Tuesday, August 13 at 7 p.m. to vote on whether to support two Advisory Neighborhood Commission 3B resolutions regarding JP’s Lounge (2412 Wisconsin Ave.). The strip club reopened in June under new ownership, four years after its original building was destroyed by a fire. The meeting will be held at Stoddert Elementary School (4001 Calvert St.).

The resolutions—which the ANC passed in July—oppose the recent reactivation of JP’s liquor license and also the proposed use of tabletops and alcoves in the bar for semi-private dancing.

An Alcoholic Beverage Control Board hearing on the matter is scheduled for Wednesday, August 14 at 9:30 a.m.

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