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The report from Wednesday night's ANC6D ABC Committee meeting:
* Justin's Cafe is seeking to add four tables, with umbrellas and four chairs each, on the sidewalk directly in front of the restaurant. They would be available the same hours as the restaurant itself, until 1 am Monday through Thursday, 2 am Friday and Saturday, and 10 pm Sunday. There were concerns from a commissioner or two about whether people might walk away from the outdoor seating area with alcoholic drinks, about the additional noise brought by 16 or so people outside, and about whether cigarette smoke from the tables would waft up and bother the Velocity units directly above. Justin Ross replied that a sign would be posted about alcohol only being consumed on the premises, and that smokeless ashtrays would be available for the tables (and that since people can't smoke inside the restaurant, there's already a lot of smoking going on outside on the sidewalk). Velocity's management had sent along a letter in full support of the plan.
The committee voted 4-0 in favor of recommending that the ANC support the application, and that vote should come at the ANC's June 14 meeting, if Justin's voluntary and community cooperation agreements are revised in time.
* The owners of Capitol Hill Wine and Spirits on Pennsylvania Avenue SE came to talk with the committee about their plans for a new "upscale" liquor store at 909 New Jersey Ave., SE, which they will be calling Harry's SE & SW. (For about nine years they ran the Harry's liquor store at Waterside Mall in SW, which closed about five years ago.)
They have signed a lease agreement to take the two retail spaces on the north side of the building, at the corner of New Jersey and I, and they will be knocking down the wall between them in order to end up with about 2,200 square feet of space. The hours would be 9 am to 9 pm Monday through Saturday (or possibly 10 pm on Fridays and Saturdays), and closed on Sunday. They would sell beer, wine, and liquor, as well as milk, sodas, juice, cheese, and other "quick stop" items, but would not sell sandwiches as had been mentioned on the meeting agenda. They hope to open in September or October.
Much of the discussion centered around whether they will try to get an exemption in order to allow sales of "singles," which is a very hot-button issue. The owners said that they want the exception so that they can sell "high end" Belgian beers, which come in single bottles, and have no intent to sell the cheaper singles that can attract a somewhat less desirable element. However, ANC 6D chairman Ron McBee said that he imagines it would be very difficult to get support from the full ANC for the exception, and that there would also be concerns about any attempts to amend the singles law that might make it look like the law was targeted toward one socioeconomic class and not another.
Also discussed was the possible impact of this new store on the long-held plans for a similar high-end liquor store at Second and L SE on the site of the "Little Red Building." The ABRA rules state that liquor stores can't open within 400 feet of each other, and these two would be more than 500 feet apart as the crow flies. But Mr. Park, the owner of the LRB, is clearly concerned about whether the neighborhood can support two very similar operations. He is moving forward with plans to demolish the LRB and put up a new structure, and is also looking at an October-ish opening date. (He said he'd send me the building plans soon.)
In the end, the committee voted 4-0 in favor of recommending that the ANC support Harry's license application. A voluntary agreement and a community cooperation agreement will now need to be hammered out, and those involved weren't sure if one could be ready by the June 14 ANC meeting, in which case it would probably come up at the July 12 one.
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Michael says: (6/3/10 11:39 AM)
"...concerns about any attempts to amend the singles law that might make it look like the law was targeted toward one socioeconomic class and not another."

The law already targets a particular socioeconomic class. So, what's the commissioner's point?


As for the LRB, if that beautiful brick building (yes I'm aware it probably has many interior problems and perhaps structural problems as well) is demo'd, I'll definitely be walking across the street to the other liquor store.


Andrew says: (6/3/10 12:33 PM)
"The law already targets a particular socioeconomic class. So, what's the commissioner's point? "

+1

Also, what defines a "single"? Obviously a 750ml bottle of wine or liquor isn't one - so why would a 750ml bottle of Chimay be classified as one?

Set a minimum-price bound on it (say, $4.99, like the voluntary agreement Georgetown used to have with its stores) and you achieve the same effect.


JD says: (6/3/10 12:35 PM)
Singles are defined as anything under a pint.


DG-rad says: (6/3/10 1:13 PM)
is there any hope at all for the LRB being saved? I'm curious about the owners intentions in building new...


MJM says: (6/3/10 1:17 PM)
JD, bit confused here -- the LRB is opening in Oct but being torn down?


JD says: (6/3/10 1:18 PM)
MJM, what Mr. Park told me is that it's going to be torn down and a new structure built.


I says: (6/3/10 1:20 PM)
I hope the ANC lives by the "intent" of the laws to not have liquor stores located so close together. I'd like to see some different types of retail operations come into Near SE. The current trend of copycat operations is starting to concern me and I wonder if there will be any room for newer types of establishments such as sit down restaurants, high-end retail, etc in the future.

I'm glad the owner of the LRB is looking at rebuilding. I'm sure the LRB has some significant history behind it, but I question its aesthetic contribution to the neighborhood.



E says: (6/3/10 7:39 PM)
So there is concern about single sales from the ANC when it is in an up-and-coming neighborhood? For those of us who have wanted single sales to go away (with NO support from the same ANC) at Cap Liquor this is hypocritical and reeks of socioeconomic class targeting anyway. Good to hear about the news for Justin's, though.


JD says: (6/3/10 9:06 PM)
E, they did talk about how some liquor stores in 6D have been in essence grandfathered in, because they were allowed to sell singles before the ban, and haven't thought it right to take that away. (I'm neither endorsing nor complaining--just passing along what they said.)


JT says: (6/3/10 10:40 PM)
A 16 or 24 ounce tall boy isn't a single? Really? I thought that was the definition of a single, pretty much. I never see anyone drinking a 12 oz. can in a paper bag...


JD says: (6/3/10 10:42 PM)
Maybe "pint" was just for liquor?


Andrew says: (6/4/10 3:50 PM)
"Maybe "pint" was just for liquor? "

Yes.

Per the quick research I did, I found that nothing less than 70oz could be sold in a single container for beer and/or malt liquor. That's about 2 liters.

The idea is to keep the fo'ties off the streets. Yet, most upscale belgians and other foreign craft brews come in about 750ml bottles (26-ish oz) making them far too small for the mandate. At about $7-10/ea though, they're not exactly fodder for your garden variety hobo.

So set a lower bound and achieve the same effect without the unintended consequences of harming us beer-snobs.


MArk Graham says: (6/8/10 11:35 PM)
People at Justin's are hanging out now in front being loud and rowdy. Sure, Strasburg pitched a great game but it 11:34 PM and I have to go to work in the AM. This place is going to be trouble. I smell it brewing. I am taking photos.

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