Wednesday, December 18, 2013
Longer Hours for Patios and Roof Decks on H Street Get Voted Down
Patios & rooftop decks draw crowds on H Street. Some owners want to keep them open later.
Last night, the ANC 6(A) Alcoholic Beverage Licensing Committee meeting was dominated by a discussion over a proposal to extend operating hours for patios and rooftop decks on H Street to 2am Sunday-Thursday and 3am Friday-Saturday (hours are currently limited to 11pm from Sunday to Thursday and midnight on Fridays and Saturdays). The meeting took place at Maury Elementary School (1250 Constitution Ave NE) and virtually every seat in the space was taken. The overwhelming consensus from neighbors present was opposition to the proposal to extend hours, mostly due to noise concerns, although a few neighbors and venue representatives such as Joe Englert spoke out in favor of the proposal. In response to statements that the proposal to extend outdoor hours could lead an observer to infer that he was a bad neighbor or insensitive to noise concerns, Englert offered noise reduction solutions to area homeowners and noted the impact of his financial investment on H Street itself. Representatives from Cusbah and Dangerously Delicious Pies were in attendance at the meeting as well.
Neighbors from Linden Street, Wylie Street, and 11th Street, testified to various noise experiences under the current hours for patios and decks (including at least one neighbor who noted that noise mitigation efforts at Little Miss Whiskeys had ameliorated prior noise issues). With the overwhelming number of community members testifying against the proposal, the Alcoholic Beverage Licensing Committee proceeded to make a motion to keep hours the same and all but two members of the committee voted in favor of this motion (two of them abstained). Of those who testified, there was some complaining about the lack of family restaurant options on H, to which Joe Englert responded that there were such options, such as The Argonaut. A Dangerously Delicious Pies representative also mentioned the family friendly nature of his pie shop. There were also some calls for H Street bars and restaurants to be more involved in the community, to which Englert responded by explaining how he had been fined for attempting to offer discounts across several of his H Street venues, because this charity effort was characterized by ABRA as a pub crawl (which is prohibited under current voluntary agreements under which Englert's venues have all agreed to operate).
District Cuisine also offered a summary of the meeting.
I got there too late to hear discussion of soon-to-open sports bar Sin Bin's proposal to operate its summer garden with similar hours (ending at 2am Sunday-Thursday and 3am on Friday-Saturday), but I imagine that was opposed as well, judging by how longer hours were being opposed throughout the latter part of the meeting.
The takeaway from all this is: no longer hours for patios and rooftop decks on H Street. What do you think of the outcome and where do you stand on the issue?
* Full disclosure: As I testified to in the meeting, in response to my noise complaints, Englert paid for the installation of a sound deadening solution for the rear windows on my home, which faced one of his establishments. I still testified against later hours, as even with this soundproofing effort, I can still hear noise late at night from the bars, usually through my skylight, but occasionally even through the "sound deadening" windows.
Posted by Alan Page at 12:39 PM