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Archive for the ‘Liquor Licenses’ Category

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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The Alcoholic Beverage Control Board yesterday voted to allow The Mason Inn (2408 Wisconsin Ave.) to serve alcohol on a new rooftop deck. Construction permits will be filed this week, and the deck should open in September, says co-owner Fritz Brogan. The bar’s ownership agreed to several noise-reduction measures—including encircling the deck with a wall—to resolve formal protests filed by Advisory Neighborhood Commission 3B and a group of near neighbors. “We’re excited for the rooftop to open,” says Brogan. “We’re glad we were able to find common ground with the ANC, and we’re looking forward for the rooftop being a place that all of our Glover Park neighbors can enjoy.”

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JP’s Night Club (2412 Wisconsin Ave.) is scheduled to open for business on Friday, June 21, more than five years after the strip club’s original home was destroyed in a fire, says authorized spokesperson Paul Kadlick. But the club will feature dancers only on its two customary stages, not on its three new tabletop platforms or in its two new semi-private booths. The Alcoholic Beverage Control Board ruled today that the club’s management needs to file a separate application for permission to use the smaller performance spaces—something Kadlick vows to do by Friday at the latest. Kadlick says there’s still a bit of minor paperwork to do at the D.C. Department of Health before the club can open, but he anticipates taking care of that tomorrow.

Kadlick calls today’s ruling a “substantial victory” for the club, which has faced repeated attempts by Advisory Neighborhood Commission 3B to block its reopening. But the ANC can claim a victory in today’s ruling, too. ANC members have raised concerns that the tabletop and booth platforms could encourage illegal physical contact between dancers and club clientele. Earlier, the ABC Board twice rebuffed the ANC’s pleas that the Board study the propriety of the smaller performance spaces before allowing their use. But now the Board has decided to do just that.

Placards to be posted soon at the club will list a deadline for community members to file formal objections to the tabletop spaces or to the liquor license’s reactivation. The ABC Board will consider any valid protests at a hearing later in the summer.

UPDATE: Mark Segraves of NBC4 tweets that the final paperwork has been accomplished and that the club will open at 5 pm on Friday.

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The Mason Inn (2408 Wisconsin Ave.) was not at fault for a bizarre attack that occurred several blocks from the bar in March, the Alcoholic Beverage Control Board ruled last week. The confrontation, in which a drunken proponent of religion smashed an atheist in the face with a fraternity paddle, started after the victim had left the bar, according to an Alcoholic Beverage Regulation Administration investigator’s report. The paddler was not named in the investigator’s report.

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After repeatedly ruling that JP’s Night Club (2412 Wisconsin Ave.) could reopen without community comment, the Alcoholic Beverage Control Board last week decided to investigate the strip club’s new interior configuration before opening its doors to the public.

Since January 2008, when a fire destroyed the original JP’s building, Advisory Neighborhood Commission 3B has asked the ABC Board several times to consider revoking the club’s liquor license. The ANC has raised questions about the club’s changing ownership, the club’s appropriateness to an increasingly kid-centric neighborhood, and, most recently, its plans to add semi-private performance spaces to the rebuilt club’s interior. The ANC argued that these spaces would increase the likelihood of illegal hanky-panky between performers and patrons and that it constituted a substantial change from the old club’s operations. By law, any substantial change must be approved by the liquor board.

On June 5, the board denied ANC Commissioner Jackie Blumenthal’s written request to investigate the semi-private spaces as a substantial change. But on June 12, after the JP’s ownership applied to reactivate the club’s dormant license, the board decided to hold a hearing on the matter after all. Alcoholic Beverage Regulation Administration spokesman Bill Hager did not respond to emailed requests for comment, but a knowledgeable source outside the agency says that the hearing is likely to involve testimony only from an ABRA investigator. If the liquor board determines that the new interior layout of JP’s constitutes a substantial change, it must then decide whether the change is acceptable, which might involve a second hearing with community input. If the board sees no substantial change to the bar’s operations, it would likely reactivate the liquor license, allowing the club to reopen.

The fact-finding hearing is scheduled for 10 a.m. Wednesday, June 19.

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The Mason Inn (2408 Wisconsin Ave.) is one step closer to serving alcohol on a new rooftop deck, after the bar hammered out a plan to address neighbors’ noise concerns. An Alcoholic Beverage Control Board hearing on the matter had been scheduled for this week, but it was postponed until June 19, to allow time for the various protesting groups to formally endorse the plan. Advisory Neighborhood Commission 3B, the Glover Park Citizens’ Association, ANC 3C (which serves Cathedral Heights), and a group of 19 near neighbors had each protested the Mason Inn’s application to open a rooftop “summer garden.”

According to ANC 3B Commissioner Brian Cohen, the settlement agreement stipulates that the roof deck will close at 11:30 p.m. Sunday through Wednesday and at midnight on Thursday through Saturday; will feature no music or speakers of any kind; and will be encircled by a wall as high as the roof line of the houses directly behind the bar on 37th St. The ABC Board has not yet approved the pact, but with all parties in agreement, it would be unlikely not to.

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