Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Guest Post: More on the DC Sound Stage Shooting

The following is a (slightly edited) guest post from reader Pat Bahn.


Details emerge on shooting suspect

As reported in the Washington Post, MPD Chief Cathy Lanier ordered a temporary emergency closure, the first of 2013, of DC Sound Stage 2403 Benning Rd NE in the wake of a shooting at the club Saturday night as the club was closing. MPD, DCRA and DC-ABRA are investigating the club's restaurant and liquor license. DC Sound Stage had been licensed as a pool hall and event space but had been selling food and alcohol under temporary licenses from Roadside Cafe. (Authors note: This appears to be the Roadside Cafe that was located at 2101 Benning Rd NE). The closure order of DC Sound Stage is expected to terminate soon after which a public hearing will be held to determine any additional sanctions. DC Sound Stage had applied for a permanent liquor license.

The Post reports that the shooting broke out as the club was closing. A patron was being pushed out the door, pulled out a handgun and began shooting into the club. One man was shot in the back, narrowly missing his spine.

DC Officials are now expected to begin examining how many establishments are using catering licenses to skirt more rigorous restaurant licensing procedures.

Editor's note, Pat correctly identifies the Roadside Cafe. It was owned and operated by Andrew Harris (who also owned and operated Phish Tea) until it shut down about a year ago (explains why the reporter's calls didn't go through). It sounds from the article as if Roadside Cafe's catering license hasn't moved (or, at least it is still located three blocks away). That's really weird because the old cafe location is now a tire shop with a different owner (follow that link immediately above).  Anyone have thoughts on how that might work?

And here's my favorite quote from that Washington Post piece:

“The agency is concerned from a public safety perspective that caterers operate within the requirements of their license, which requires the serving of prepared food at events, and not as a pop-up nightclub,” 

That's ABRA's Bill Hager speaking, BTW. So yeah, expect expect the use of such licenses to attract a TON more scrutiny in the near future, but ABRA seems convinced that this type of cater license exploitation is rare.

Oh, and here are some photos from DC Sound Stage. And here's a Washington Post piece from earlier in which ANC List White explains that DC Sound Stage does not have a history as a trouble spot. Titan of Trinidad has more exterior photos.


Chris in Eckington said...

Something similar was happening in Adams Morgan a year or two ago: a yoga studio was renting out it's space for parties catered by promoters. The neighbors complained that it was acting as a club. Not sure what the final outcome was.

B said...

The same thing has been going on at the former Fashion One space at 700 H - basically a pop-up nightclub with plenty of music and liquor, but no bathrooms, operating under a caterer's license.

I haven't see this first hand, but there have been a few emails going around from a resident who backs on to that alley.

Anonymous said...

Looks like a wholesome venue...

inked said...

From what I've read, the owner generally had a good relationship with the neighborhood. That said, this is clearly an abuse of a catering license.

I know there was a weeklong art event (Submerge) there a while back. I believe they had porta-potties set up outside. I haven't heard of anything happening there since that time. Have you? I did see a couple of blog comments complaining about noise/notice while Submerge was going on. I asked a friend of mine who lives in the alley directly behind it, and he said they hadn't been bothered by any noise (his family includes a young child, and they tend to turn in early). So, I'd say there's disagreement as to how much of a problem the noise created.

And I don't think a week long event is really comparable a place operating with a caterer's license for a YEAR. Please correct me if there is on-going activity in the Submerge space.