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Posts Tagged ‘ABRA’

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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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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In the early morning hours of March 31, two strangers got into a religious debate inside The Mason Inn (2408 Wisconsin Ave.), according to a police report. “A heated conversation occurred between them,” the report states: one of the men opposed religious practice, while the other strongly supported it. “This led to them leaving Mason Inn and then getting into a physical altercation” in the vicinity of Davis Place, the report states.

During the fight, the godly combatant hit the atheist with a wooden fraternity paddle, causing lacerations above and below the unbeliever’s right eye. Police were called to the scene, and they seized the paddle as evidence. The report lists the name of the paddler as “unknown.” The incident is under investigation by the Alcoholic Beverage and Regulation Administration.

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From the April 2013 edition of the Glover Park Gazette:

On April 24,  The Mason Inn (2408 Wisconsin Ave.) will argue for the right to serve alcohol on a new rooftop deck. ANC 3B and a group of near neighbors represented by attorney Milton Grossman will argue against. Opposing forces will meet at a hearing before the Alcoholic Beverage Control Board.

A month prior, on March 27, The Mason Inn will challenge a noise complaint at an ABC Board hearing. In addition, the bar faces charges stemming from an October, 2012, incident in which an ABRA investigator reported seeing a physical fight between a patron and an employee. No hearing had been scheduled in that case at press time.

Finally, ABRA is investigating an incident at the bar on November 22, 2012. According to a police report, a “highly intoxicated” man reported having been struck by a stranger inside the bar. He left the building and returned with a small folding knife tucked into his shirt sleeve. The man was twice refused re-admission by Mason Inn bouncers, and he voluntarily turned his knife over for safekeeping, the police report states.

UPDATE: The protest hearing on the Mason Inn’s application to serve alcohol on a rooftop deck has been rescheduled for May 29.

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Mason Inn rooftop designIn January, Advisory Neighborhood Commission 3B lodged a formal protest to the application of Mason Inn (2408 Wisconsin Ave.) to serve alcohol on a new rooftop deck. Citing a history that includes multiple assaults inside the bar and a pending charge of violating a noise ordinance, the ANC expressed doubt about the bar’s ability to maintain order outdoors.

“ANC 3B feels strongly that the Mason Inn’s long record of disturbing the peace, order and quiet of the neighborhood disqualifies it for the privilege of taking its business outside into public space,” wrote Commissioner Jackie Blumenthal in a letter to the chair of the ABC Board. “This is especially relevant given the close proximity of residences to the Mason Inn.” Other formal protests came from ANC 3C, which represents McLean Gardens and Massachusetts Avenue Heights; the Glover Park Citizens Association; and a group of 19 residents and property owners from the 2300 and 2400 blocks of 37th Street, represented by attorney Milton Grossman.

At the same time, many Glover Parkers expressed support of the roof deck plan. More than 150 neighborhood residents sent emails in favor of the deck. In addition, six residents (two sets of housemates) from nearby 37th Street submitted a letter strongly supporting the application, as did two Glover Parkers who live within blocks of the establishment. “It is clear that the ANC 3B is advocating their own agenda and not expressing the wishes of their constituents,” one of these letters states. “There is overwhelming support in the neighborhood for this application and there is talk that some residents may run against the ANC members due to their outrageous behavior.”

The ABC Board identified multiple groups, including ANC 3B, that have legal standing to protest the application. The Mason Inn will negotiate with these groups in an attempt to address their concerns in a modified license application. If a compromise can be reached, the protests will be withdrawn.

In the meantime, The Mason Inn received a warning letter from the Alcoholic Beverage Regulation Administration after a December 1 incident in which a visibly intoxicated man was served alcohol at the bar. According to a police report, at about 2:20 a.m., a detective watched a man with very red eyes and slurred speech “stumble to the bar and, while leaning on the bar, order two Bud Light beers.” The bartender served the beers, which were immediately confiscated by the detective “in fear that [the patron] would consume them quickly and become more intoxicated,” the report states. Selling alcohol to drunk people is against D.C. law. The next such incident could lead to charges against the bar, ABRA’s warning letter states.

A hearing on The Mason Inn’s pending noise complaint is scheduled for April 3.

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On February 6, Breadsoda (2323 Wisconsin Ave.) paid a fine of $2,000 to settle charges that it had failed to file quarterly statements to the Alcoholic Beverage Control Board. As of August 21 of last year, the bar had not filed statements for the second quarter of 2010, the first quarter of 2011, or the second quarter of 2012.

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Maria Villalta, the owner of a dormant Glover Park liquor license, has been unable to sell the license, according to a letter her attorney sent the Alcoholic Beverage Control Board on December 31. Villalta used the license when she operated Margarita’s Restaurant at 2317 Wisconsin Ave., now the home of Sprig & Sprout. The ABC Board has said that they will cancel Villalta’s license unless she sells it or starts using it again herself.

Because she cannot find a buyer, Villalta has been “exploring the possibility of keeping the license and opening her own establishment,” the attorney’s letter states. She has been talking to the owner of the vacant tan condo building at 2136 Wisconsin Ave., three doors up from Monarch Paints, but the cost of constructing a kitchen there might be prohibitive. Villalta may seek to use the license in another part of DC, the letter states.

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A late-night fight outside Max’s Best Ice Cream (2416 Wisconsin Ave.) has resulted in charges against Mason Inn (2408 Wisconsin Ave.). Shortly before 1 a.m. on October 20, an Alcoholic Beverage Regulation Administration investigator came across the fight between a Mason Inn bouncer and a male patron of the bar, according to the investigator’s report. While the investigator watched and took photographs, the bouncer lifted the patron off the ground, pushed his head, and kicked him, the report states. Mason Inn staff told the investigator that the patron had been caught doing drugs in the bathroom, and that while being removed from the club, the patron had punched the bouncer in the nose, according to the report.

The report asserts that the Mason Inn violated its security plan, because staffers did not call the police when the altercation escalated. It also asserts that it violated its Voluntary Agreement by failing to keep the front door closed; failing to disperse sources of noise in front of its premises; failing to ensure the security of patrons; and failing to call police when deemed necessary by security staff. Representatives of The Mason Inn will meet with ABRA staff to discuss a settlement of the case.

In other Mason Inn news: shortly after midnight on January 11, a young woman placed her leather wallet on a table at the bar. About an hour later, she noticed it was missing. On the evening of January 21, a young woman left her purse unattended on a table there. When she returned, the purse and its contents were gone. The police have no suspects in either case.

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