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Wednesday, May 09, 2012

GGW: Liquor license Moratoriums, Yea or Nea?

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A writer over at Greater Greater Washington objects to them generally on several grounds. The possibility of implementing such a moratorium on H Street comes up every so often. Where are people on this issue?

21 comments:

4th and G said...

I say let the market decide.

That said, reasonable restrictions on noise levels or operating hours near schools or in residential areas make sense.

Anonymous said...

If a moratorium existed, could I transfer my license to another location?

Anonymous said...

The meetings last fall were interesting in that folks from other areas of the city where such restrictions exist came and spoke about both the advantages and the disadvantages to their neighborhoods from having such caps or moratoria.

It also was pretty clear, from the ABRA presentation and from the presentations of folks from other parts of the city, that the ideas most posters here had about what these moratoria/caps are like and how they work were typically pretty wrong. Those presentations showed that in the "lively" threads about this topic last fall, lots of folks here didn't have a clue what they were talking about; but that didn't stop them from having very passionate opinions.

Oh, as far as Inked's question . . .there's definitely a level at which I'd support a moratorium; but we're nowhere near that level yet.

Boris said...

I'm not for a hard moratorium as it is arbitrary. Limiting the number of licenses only makes the existing licenses more valuable, and encourages bigger, cheesier investor/promoter-type clubs.

I DO support active public involvement and effective control over the SIZE and TYPE of clubs moving in, however. Instead of a hard moratorium on total licenses, limits on establishment occupancy would go further in making sure we avoid the problems of a place like Adam's Morgan.

I've lived through the changes on U street, then Adam's Morgan, and now here. It's not the NUMBER of clubs, it's the number of HUGE clubs that make the difference. Things went south in Adam's Morgan when giant places like TomTom Club took over from smaller, more intimate (sophisticated?) places like Cafe Lautrec.

It's the big clubs, with >200 patrons that bring most of the NOVA meatheads, drunk driving, traffic, shrieking sorority girls, vomit, crime, idiots, etc. Those clubs are also run by groups of people who have no real long-term stake in a neighborhood, they are not labors of love like a lot of the places we have now.

Don't get me wrong, H can take one or two or three bigger clubs (and I can take a few sorority girls), but a whole mile of those places and we're doomed. Smaller occupancy establishments bring the development, character, fun, foot traffic, nice crowds, but don't bring the same elements that make AdMo such anathema for anyone over 25.

DC needs more class categories beyond Restaurant, Tavern, Nightclub. There should also be size categories, with a limit on the number of massive cheese factories.

H. Lamarr said...

I'm mainly opposed to a moratorium on H because it would give a practical monopoly to an existing ownership group that refuses to make proper improvements to their businesses unless/until they catch fire.

Take a look at the roof deck addition to the Rock and Roll Hotel from street level; it looks like it's from Altman's Popeye set.

The Englert/Theme Bar LLC or whatever it is deserves credit for their foresight. I just don't want them to be insulated from competition, lest I be subjected to crumbling walls and crappy beers for decades to come.

Dave B said...

good points by boris

Ivar O said...

I am for this moratorium. I am tired of people peeing on my trees and shrubs in front of my house, leaving condoms in my mailbox, and puking their dinner at my basement door. I want to see more retail stores along H st.

Anonymous said...

How would restricting "operating hours near schools" make sense? Do we have serving booze to schoolkids? It's that kind of nonsensical opposition that makes folks reluctant to open a place in certain areas.

I say let the market decide.

Trinidaddy said...

I want a moratorium on moratoriums!

Anonymous said...

Anonymous @4:40: I'd like to know more. Do you (or anyone else) know of a write up from the presentation referred to? I am ashamed to admit that I have not made it a priority to attend such meetings. I think I'm generally opposed to moratoriums, but maybe I'd be more passionate about it if I didn't live close to the middle of H street near the dead zone... I'd love for more businesses of any type to fill in some of the underutilized spaces.

Marion Barry said...

Moratoriums, monopolies and grants for favored businesses = how we roll in DC.

H Man said...

Right on H. Lamarr...

Moratoriums are a very bad idea. That is unless you like poor service, crappy bars and crappy restaurants. Let's self montior them through the voluntary agreements and through the ANC.

B said...

Boris nailed it. Making a license more valuable only discourages smaller restaurants and cafes whose margins depend on selling a few drinks with their food. You can get a beer with your banh mi at the Pho place, but does it have a rowdy after-hours bar scene? Are bachelorette parties streaming into Liberty Tree? It's frustrating that we have no direct control over the kind of businesses that open, but just because the moratorium exists doesn't mean we should exercise it.

Hillman said...

A lot of the behavior people describe (people peeing in their yards, etc.) could easily be controlled if DC had a police force that actually did it's job.

Hillman said...

I agree with anonymous about the 'restricting near schools' nonsense.

What is that feel-good nonsense supposed to accomplish?

it's against the law to serve to kids, and schools are of course closed when bars are open at night.

B said...

@h.lammar

Take a look at the roof deck addition to the Rock and Roll Hotel from street level; it looks like it's from Altman's Popeye set

Awesome reference . . . despite its G rating, Popeye was notoriously drug fueled film set, even by late 70s standards. Maybe that's the bad ass vibe RnR Hotel is going for.

Arch_NME said...

I think everyplace should be free to serve alcohol. I think Rita's should have vodka gelatis and I should be a able to get a beer along with my chicken strips at Popeye's. I'm being totally serious, seriously.

We shouldn't be restricting the hours on businesses either. Not everyone works 9-5 you know and most of the people that do will just get tired and go home at some reasonable hour anyway. In fact they probably wouldn't feel obligated to stay an extra hour and close the place down in many cases. Also, we wouldn't be flooding the streets with large groups of drunk people by kicking them all out at once. They could all just stumble home individually and probably make a lot less noise.

Anonymous said...

Joe Englert said:

H Lamar....you are wrong on one count..

1) the beer lists at Argo, Red Palace, Granville Moore's are some of the best in the city...

2) moratoriums don't work you are right.
But with good planning with ANCs...they could nudge businesses to serve full menus, have less or no entertainment in blocks that have enough....

3) The crumbling walls at GM cost $300,000 in buildout fees. See if you could evoke such a feeling in one of your spaces.

Anonymous said...

How about a crematorium?

H. lamarr said...

Thanks for your response, Joe; allow me to retort:

(1) We can agree to disagree to regarding the Argonaut and Granville's, but I'm glad that we are of a mind regarding your other establishments (i.e., "I can pour 270 beers or 300 beers at six bucks a crack and make two grand in an hour," he says. "God bless these guys making those cocktails, but how am I going to do volume?").

(2)RIGHT ON, BROTHER!!!!!

(3)That says a hell of a lot more about your business acumen than it does mine.

Anonymous said...

Joe Englert....

Sure Lamar...glad to talk anytime...Best...Joe