New Year’s Eve (is it 2014 or 2015-I never know) is just around the corner. To help you out, we’ve compiled a list (which will be updated daily until 12/31) of celebrations at DC bars below (nearly all with a cover include a champagne toast, party favors, and a DJ), which I’ve split up by neighborhood and whether there is an open bar (at least 4 hours long), a cover charge (many of these include an open bar) and no cover bars (likely these won’t be announced until the week or so before the NYE). For those of you braving open bars, remember to tip well to start and for each drink. Barred in DC picks are highlighted below. If you know of a solid bar party, please let me know (barredindc@gmail.com).

Quick Barred in DC’s Picks (more highlighted below):

  • Cheapest Open Bar
    • Shenanigan’s ($50 for 4.5 hours)
    • James Hoban’s ($50 for 4 horus)
    • Chief Ike’s ($55 penny drinks for 7 hours)
  • Other Recommendations (other than staying home / going to house bar / finding a chill bar with no or low cover)
    • Crios
    • Bar Charley
    • Duke’s Grocery
    • DC9
    • The Gibson
    • Satellite Room
    • Alba Osteria
    • The Passenger
    • Barrel
    • Busboys & Poets (Brookland)

This list will be continually updated until NYE.

DUPONT CIRCLE

Open Bar

  • James Hoban’s – $50 – 9p-1a – open bar (domestic drafts + house wines + rails) ($35 gets you domestic drafts + house wine from 9p-midnight) + Disco Party + costume contest [Cheapest open bar on NYE as far as I can tell]
  • Recessions - $65 ($120 for couples) – top shelf open bar + buffet dinner + DJ
  • The Front Page – $70- 9p-2a – open bar (feat. Bulleit Bourbon + BV wines) + apps + Prohibition Party
  • Public Bar – $70 ($80 12/22-28; $90 after) – 9p-close – open bar + passed apps
  • The Madhatter - $75- 9p-2a – open bar + food buffet (9p-10p) + masquerade
  • Crios - $80 – 9p-3a – open bar (select liquor, 10+ craft beers, wine) + appetizers + DJ/photobooth
  • Irish Whiskey – $80- starts at 9p- top shelf open bar + passed hors d’oeurves + dancing
  • Dirty Martini & Dirty Bar – $100 – 10p-4a – open bar ($30 general admission from 10p-4a $10 more gets you open bar from 9-10p)
  • Sign of the Whale - $100 – 9p-close – full open bar inc. Red Bull + appetizer buffet until 11p
  • Mission - $105 – 9p-1a – premium open bar + apps + coat/tie required + bar opens to public at 1a for cash bar
  • Midtown Partyplex – $105 – 10p-4a – open bar ($33 general admission)
  • Sauf Haus – $106 ($190 for couple) – 9p-close – open bar (beer, premium rails, wine, hot seasonal sips) + $5 shot skis + food stations + DJ on 1st floor + band on covered roof deck

Cover Charge and/or Limited Open Bar

  • Le Mirch – $17 ($20 at door) – starts at 9:30p masquerade party + free glowsticks & mask
  • Buffalo Billiards - $24 ($45 couples; $83 4 person entourage) – cash bar + drink specials ($3 Yuengling) + DJ [big departure from no cover from years past but 50% off code in link]
  • Cafe Citron – $30 ($50 couples) – doors open at 9:30p + confetti cannons +$10 extra for unlimited champagne cocktails until midnight
  • Ozio - $33 – 8p-4a – Masquerade Ball ($64 for VIP admission gives access to VIP rooftop & open bar from 8-11p + $15 extra gets access to buffet from 8-10p)
  • Heist - $38 ($64 for couples)
  • The Manor – $47 (until 12/21; $83 couple); $57 (after 12/21; $104 couple) – 9p-4a + Night Circus themed + aerialists + dancers/performers + contortionists + fire breathers
  • Ping Pong Dupont – $52 – 10p-1a – premium open bar + DJ + photobooth
  • Bar Charley – $55 open bar from 10p-1a
  • Kabin - $63 ($37 general admission only) – 9p-4a + premium open bar from 9-11p
  • Duke’s Grocery – $65 (no cover downstairs) open bar + apps + charitable donation from 9p-midnight on 2nd floor 
  • STK - $80 – premium open bar from 9p-midnight + apps from 9-11:30p + “Fortune 500″ party
  • The Huxley - $106 – doors open at 9p – premium open bar from 9p-midnight
  • Second State – $110 – 10p-1a – unlimited Veuve Clicquot & Dad’s Hat Rye whiskey (includes 4 course dinner from 4-10p)

No Cover

  • Duke’s Grocery – regular night downstairs ($65 open bar from 9-midnight upstairs)
  • Rebellion – no cover
  • The Board Room DC - can reserve table upstairs for $50/table (free bottle of sparkling wine + table + unlimited games)
  • Urbana – $1 oysters / $5 pizza / $10 Veuve Clicquot special in bar/lounge

14TH STREET/U STREET/SHAW

Open Bar

  • Local Sixteen – $65 – 9p-close – premium open bar + apps
  • DC9 - $70 ($60 early bird before 12/27) – 10p-2a – premium open bar + Chocolate Factory party + prizes ($2 for chance to win chocolate bars or DC9 tickets)
  • New Vegas Lounge - $85 – 9:30p-2:30a – open bar + Dr. Blues & the Out of Town Blues Band starting at 10:150p + free hors d’oeuvres
  • Churchkey - $99- 9p-2a – open bar (draft & cask beer, select liquor + wine) + passed snacks + champagne + DJ/photobooth [SOLD OUT-$60 cheaper than last year]
  • The Gibson – $132 – 8p-2a – open bar + Mad Max-querade party + heated patio + burlesque

Cover Charge and/or Limited Open Bar

  • U Street Music Hall - $10 (no advance sales) – 10p-close – Nadastrom, Gent & Jawns, Jen Lasher (same DJs as last year)
  • Tropicalia - $10 (advance) – 7p-4a – DJs & live music
  • Marvin - $15 ($25 at door) – doors open at 8:30p + open bar from 8:30-10p
  • Patty Boom Boom - $15 ($20 door) – 8p-3a + open bar from 8:30-10p + DJs + bar’s 5th anniversary
  • Brixton - $15 ($10 extra if you arrive after 10p) – “A Dark Circus” + burlesque/circus acts throughout + drink specials
  • Policy - $20 – doors open at 8p
  • Lounge of Three – $20 ($11 until 12/25) – doors open at 4p (HH til 8p), cover not charged until 8p + Old School Hip Hop + free buffet + free giveaways + $5 Absolut/$7 Grand Marnier from 8-11p
  • Black Cat – $30 -doors open at 8p – Peaches O’Dell & Her Orchestra (swing music + others 30s-50s music) + DJ on backstage
  • Lost Society - $35 – 9p-3a – masquerade ball + 1 drink ticket + champagne toast
  • Liv Nightclub / Bohemian Caverns / Tap & Parlour - $42 – 9p-4a – open bar from 9p-midnight + 4 levels of entertainment including DJs [$10 more than last year]
  • Chi Cha Lounge – $43 – tapas buffet from 9-11p ($80 for VIP open bar from 9-11:30p)
  • Flash - $50 (early bird ended) – 8a-noon NYD – 16 hour dance party (bar closed from 4-8a but dance floor open) + re-entry allowed + 2 floors of music + multiple champagne toasts + 9a  HH
  • 9:30 Club - $55 – 9p-close – Clutch with Guests: Torche and Lionize + champagne toast
  • Pure Lounge – $60 – open bar from 9p-midnight ($43 ($22 early bird before 12/28) for general admission) with open bar from 8-9p) + free Remy & Jack Daniels Honey on certain floors from 11p-1a
  • Eat the Rich – $65 + Pearl Drop NYE + unlimited oysters + food & drink specials [$150 bar crawl that ends at 11p at the Derek Brown trio-Mockingbird Hill, Eat the Rich & Southern Efficiency with food & cocktail pairings]

No Cover

ADAMS MORGAN

Open Bar

  • Shenanigan’s – $50 ($55 at door, extra $20 for top-shelf) – 9p-1:30a – open bar (no top-shelf) + doors open at 7p [Also cheap open bar]
  • Chief Ike’s Mambo Room – $55 – 8p-3a + open bar (ok, penny drinks) + food buffets at 9p & 1a [definitely best open bar per hour]
  • The Blaguard – $60  – open bar (craft beers & select liquor) + apps + Revenge of the Nerds party
  • Pop’s Sea Bar – $75 – 10p-close (also can have a $35 open bar from 6-8p or $55 from 8-10p)
  • Town Tavern – $100 – 8p-2a – premium open bar ($50 & $80 options for shorter open bars) +Prom-themed + buffet/passed appetizers from 8-10p + photobooth + selfie station
  • Jack Rose – $125 – 8p-1a – open bar + cigar specials + apps 8:30-10:30p + photo booth + dancing

Cover Charge and/or Limited Open Bar

  • Meze - $20 admission (if no dinner) to belly dancer + DJ
  • Southern Hospitality – $45 – 9p-4a – open bar & apps from 9-10p + tented/heated patio

GEORGETOWN / GLOVER PARK / FOGGY BOTTOM / WEST END

Open Bar

  • McFadden’s - $70 – 9p-2a – top shelf open bar + apps + dessert table + balloon drop
  • Chinese Disco – $85 – 9p-1a – premium open bar + light hors d’oeuvres + Coat & tie party
  • Town Hall – $95  – 9p-3a – open bar + gourmet buffet + coat check + free overnight parking + heated/tented smoking area
  • Nick’s Riverside Grill & Tony and Joe’s – $100 – 9p-2a – top shelf open bar + band + DJ + 2 heavy apps buffet + heated party tents
  • Mason Inn – $106 – 9p-1a – premium open bar + dessert buffet + band (change from last year, hence the $20+ extra) + cocktail attire required + open to public after 1a
  • Blue Duck Lounge – $185 – 9p-2a – open bar + small plates/desserts table + live music

Cover Charge and/or Limited Open Bar

  • Bayou on Penn – $10 (first 50 tickets, prices increase) – 10p-2a -Alex Vans & The Hideway band + Abita beer & Hurricane drink specials + 5th annual party
  • Rhino Bar – $40 – open bar from 9p-midnight
  • Mate Lounge – $54 – sushi & Latin fusion cuisine buffet + DJ
  • Shadow Room - $55 entry or tables starting at $750
  • ENO Wine Bar – $55 ($66 at door) – 7p-1a – passed apps + 20% off champagne bottles

DOWNTOWN

Open Bar

  • The Bottom Line – $60 – 9p-close – top shelf open bar + light apps + DJ
  • BlackFinn - $83- 9p-1a – open bar + party favors + apps from 8-10p; $100 VIP available
  • Old Ebbitt Grill – $102 – 9:30p-close – premium open bar + heavy apps + DJ + balloon drop [$25 cheaper than last year]
  • Bobby Van’s Grill – $109 ($133 last minute) – 9p-2a – premium open bar + passed/station hors d’oeuvres + dance floor + coat check

Cover Charge and/or Limited Open Bar

  • Catch 15 – $30 – 11p-4a – masquerade party + DJs
  • Eden Lounge – $33 – Winter Wonderland – admission from 8p + “selective” open bar from 8-10p + 6 DJs + balloon drop
  • The Park at 14th / Lima / Fujimar – $33 (early bird)  – admission from 8p + $85 for open bar from 8-11p
  • Ultrabar - $35 – 8p-4a – open bar from 8-9p
  • Mio – $35 – 11p-2a – cash bar + DJ + dancing
  • Opera Lounge – $35 ($15 more for VIP admission includes VIP entry & party favors, $60 couples) – 9p-3a
  • Cities Lounge – $42 – premium open bar from 8-10p
  • Hard Rock Cafe – $62 ($32 general admission) – 9p-4a + open bar for 9p-midnight + apps + unlimited party favors (tiaras & top hats) + lots of DJs
  • The Hamilton - $60-85 – gumbo dinner & champagne toast with Old 97s in downstairs venue or $10 cover in upstairs loft
  • Capitale - $80  – doors open at 9p + ($160 gets you open bar from 9p-midnight) [this is a stunningly bad deal, unless the DJ is great?]
  • Lincoln - $96 – 9:30p-12:01a open bar + light apps + DJ until 2a

H STREET

Open Bar

  • Jimmy Valentine’s Lonely Hearts Club – $70 ($15 for admission only) – 9p-close – open bar all night + multiple DJs + no amateurs + no imbeciles
  • H Street Country Club – $75 ($85 at door, if available) – starts at 9p – open bar (draft beers, wine, Sauza margaritas, rails) + mini golf + dancing + karaoke
  • Rock & Roll Hotel - $100 day of ($80 before 12/31) – 8p-close – open bar  + limited apps + DJs
  • Little Miss Whiskey’s - $125 – 10p-1:30p – top shelf open bar  + “goofy hip hop act” Handsome Boy Modeling School + 24 and over only + DJs + only 100 tickets sold

Cover Charge and/or Limited Open Bar

  • Avery’s Bar and Lounge – $22 (early bird) – party from 10p-3a + open bar (selective top shelf + all rails) from 10-11p + buffet from 10-11p + semi-formal dress
  • RedRocks H Street – $25 ($30 at door) – DJ party (Nouveau Riche) + open bar from 9-10p
  • Da Luft - $27 – 7p-close
  • Twelve Restaurant & Lounge – $30 ($50 couples) – party from 7p-3a + open bar from 8-10p (or 9-11p) + buffet + DJs

CHINATOWN / PENN QUARTER / MOUNT VERNON SQUARE

Open Bar

  • Alba Osteria – $55 or $75 – $55 gets you open bar after 11p & endless stew; $75 gets you open bar after 10p with passed apps from 10-11p and endless stew after 11p
  • Redline - $64 (until 12/21) – 9p-3a – open bar + passed hors d’oeuvres til 11p + Masquerade party
  • Barmini - $275 – starts at 9p – open bar + Golden Era cocktails + snacks + DJ
  • Sixth Engine – $106 – 9p-2a – premium open bar + gourmet food spread + coat check + DJ

Cover Charge and/or Limited Open Bar

  • Fado Irish Pub – $10 – starts at 7p – 80s-themed party + 80s cocktails
  • The Passenger - $20 – last night in business party in Warehouse Theater space adjacent + snacks
  • Lucky Strike - $20 – 9p-2a – bowling available
  • Lux Lounge – $33- doors open at 8p – buffet & hors d’oeuvres + 3 floors of music
  • City Tap House – $40 – doors open at 10p premium open bar from 10p-midnight (extra $60 gets you 3 course dinner) + DJ from 10p-2a
  • Bar 7 (Mt. Vernon Square/Shaw) – $40 (early bird $30)- 8p-3a – open bar & passed d’oeuvres from 8-10p + professional dancers
  • Penn Social – $45 – doors open at 7:30p – free games all night + 1 free draft beer from Brooklyn Brewery + appetizers & snacks + dancing
  • Hill Country – $50 – live band karaoke + bbq appetizers + cornhole & jenga + other games [last year had a $125 open bar, so different scene]
  • Zengo - $54 ($44 early bird) – 9p-4a party + open bar & passed hors d’oeuvres from 9-1op + Destination Tokyo theme
  • Oyamel - $95 – 10:30p-2a – all you can eat food & drink stations + DIY gin infusions + bubbles + liquid nitrogen margs + live band
  • Cuba Libre – $106 ($38 early bird admission only) – 10:30p-1a – open bar + DJ/dancing + Late Night Latin floor show includes dancers and master percussionist + 6 month VIP card for free admission to Cuba Libre

No Cover

  • Daikaya – DJ from 10p-2a upstairs in izakaya / karaoke in ramen shop starting at 10:30p

CAPITOL HILL / EASTERN MARKET / NAVY YARD

Open Bar

  • Kelly’s Irish Times (Capitol Hill) -$60 – prohibition cocktails + beer + wine + apps + presented by kickball-type leagu
  • Sonoma (Capitol Hill) – $70 (Snow Drifter) or $111 (Snow Much Fun-premium) – 9p-1a – open bar (Snow Drifter-house wine/beer + rails; Snow Much Fun-wine/craft beer + top shelf) + sweets + Winter White Party
  • Barrel (Capitol Hill/Eastern Market) – $85 – 10p-2a – open bar (select beer, bourbon, rye & cocktails) + pig roast dinner (tons of sides & passed bites) + Low Country NYE
  • The Ugly Mug (Eastern Market) – $85 ($60 before 12/30)- 10p-2a – premium open bar (cash bar may be available with 5-10p HH includes champagne toast)
  • Bluejacket(Navy Yard) – $105- 9p-2a – open bar (draft & cask beer, select liquor + wine) + passed snacks + champagne + live music + DJ/photobooth [SOLD OUT]

COLUMBIA HEIGHTS / PETWORTH

Open Bar

  • Kangaroo Boxing Club (Columbia Heights) – $70 – 8:30p-2a – 4 course suckling pig dinner + 6 drink tickets (any wine, beer or rail) + champagne toast + reserved seating

Cover Charge and/or Limited Open Bar

  • Acre 121 (ColHi) – $10 cover + $6 champagne cocktails + $5 Shiner beer

No Cover

  • Red Derby – Old Hollywood Silver Screen NYE Ball + red carpet + big band + Rat pack songs + $4 pink champagne
  • Lou’s City Bar  – all day + Beers, Brats & Bowls party + all drafts 1/2 off + food specials + champagne cocktails

NOMA / BROOKLAND / NE DC

Cover Charge and/or Limited Open Bar

  • Steel Plate – $15 – 10p-3a + East Meets West party (western music + Albanian dance music what) + late night sliders + $5 donated for “future Albanian event”
  • Echostage - $60 – 8p-4a – Glow presents Benny Benassi
  • Aqua – $40 – starts at 8p – includes open bar + apps from 8-10p + heated outdoor deck
  • Layla Lounge  – $130 – 9p-2a – live performances from famous R&B singers + open bar from 9p-midnight + buffet + 1a breakfast buffet
  • Ibiza - $43 ($106 for open bar from 8p-midnight)- 8p-4a – 93.9 WKYS NYE bash + DJS
  • Busboys & Poets (Brookland) – $54 – 9p-1a + Remix of the Nerds Pre-Grand Opening at Busboys & Poets + band + DJ + burlesque + includes food & 2 drinks + benefits Capital Area Food Bank & youth slam team
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Murphy’s of DC closes Sunday (photo credit: Tripadvisor)

Murphy’s of DC, the Irish pub in Woodley Park, will close its doors Sunday night after 28 years. The bar confirmed this afternoon that it has lost its lease; this news was first reported earlier this morning by the (recently closed) Duffy’s Irish Pub (in a now-deleted tweet) and then confirmed by PoPville. Murphy’s, which has been open since March 1986, was popular with conventiongoers attending conferences at the Omni Shoreham and Marriott Wardman Park across the street, as well as locals looking for a unpretentious atmosphere (Barred in DC only visited once, spending a fun, somewhat random New Year’s Eve in 2008/2009). No word what will go in its place or if anything will happen to the mini-chain’s other two locations in Old Town Alexandria and Virginia Beach; a PoPville tipster suggests there will be an fine dining Italian restaurant in its place. To pay their last respects, all of the long-time servers, bartenders, managers, and regulars will be congregating Sunday night.

Napoleon Bistro & Lounge (credit: Melbourne Coffee Review http://www.melbournecoffeereview.com/mcr_images/2008/12/napoleon.jpg)

Napoleon Bistro & Lounge, the French restaurant/hotspot on Columbia Road in Adams Morgan, recently had its liquor license renewed, but with a huge catch-it is only permitted to accommodate 145 folks in the whole spot (274 is the legal occupancy)-including 55 in its popular basement Metropolitan champagne bar-and is not allowed to have a dance floor or a DJ/other entertainment on the first floor. (Read the ABC decision here)

These restrictions are primarily because the owner did not comply with many key provisions of the settlement agreement (such as keeping the front door closed), even admitting that he did not know there was such agreement in place when he bought the place last decade and could not affirm on the record that they complied with its provisions. Most entertainingly is a reference to an impromptu push-up contest on May 4, 2013 (apparently there’s video too):

[A neighbor] also discussed a specific incident involving Napoleon’s patrons on May 4, 2013. On the night of May 4, 2013, around 3:00 a.m., [a neighbor and his wife], as well as their house guests, were awoken by noise outside their home. Outside Napoleon, a large crowd of rowdy and boisterous patrons had gathered outside the establishment.  A number of patrons conducted a pushup contest in the middle of the street and a large number of patrons entered the street to cheer on the participants. After the push-up contest, patrons continued to linger in the street. Vehicles attempted to maneuver around the crowd, which could be observed obstructing traffic. Finally,two male patrons attempted to lift a young man in the air in the middle of the street and almost [accidentally] threw the young man into a passing vehicle.

Hilarious-good to know the Adams Morgan shitshow doesn’t always involve Jumbo Slice and 18th Street. In the end, although the Board ruled that the pushup contest was “a one-time, isolated incident” with respect to pedestrian/vehicular impacts, it held that this example in part “demonstrated that crowd control is a problem at the establishment, and that Napoleon is “having a negative impact on the neighborhood’s peace, order, and quiet based on its demonstrated failure to properly superintend the establishment and comply with the law.” The Board imposed these restrictions to “curtail … [Napoleon’s] potential to become a nightclub.”

Barred in DC will update you in the likely event Napoleon seeks further review of this decision.

Sorry, no liquor license for you Saloon 45/Swann Dive

Sorry, no liquor license for you Saloon 45/Swann Dive

In a rare move, the Alcohol Beverage Control Board last Tuesday flat-out denied a tavern liquor license to Saloon 45 (which was seeking a name change to Swann Dive) in north Dupont Circle, as first reported by PoPville. The tiny low-key ground floor bar (840 square feet interior space, with room for 32 folks inside and 36 outside) was fiercely opposed by nearby residents on adjacent Swann Street, the local Advisory Neighborhood Commission, an aging-in-place organization called the Dupont Circle Village, and D.C. Councilman Jack Evans (who wrote a letter to the Board urging denial, in an unusual move).

David Stephens, a former Navy nuclear electronics tech and professional poker player, had applied for a liquor license in the former Sandy’s Flowers shop on 18th & Swann just five months ago (Stephens is the flower shop owner’s daughter’s brother-in-law), when it was reported by the Washington City Paper that he aimed to open a low-key spot with craft beers but no kitchen. It was quickly apparent that Stephens, with no experience operating or even working in a bar/restaurant, was naive about the liquor licensing process in DC and seemingly shot himself in the foot every step of the way (for example, seeking full hours for patio), leading to this result, anticipated by many who have been following this application. The blog Short Articles about Long Meetings has a couple informative posts with additional background.

In the end, the Board unanimously denied the license (read the decision here) after an eight-hour protest hearing that ended at 12:57am in the morning (the 629-page hearing transcript is here), finding the license application:

inappropriate, because the establishment’s intention of having its entrance on Swann Street, N.W., along with outdoor seating, will bring loitering and other patron-related disturbances to a residential area [and because its] Application and presentation lacked sufficient specificity for the Board to determine whether the establishment could satisfy the appropriateness criteria.

The Board explained that Swann Street is “highly residential” so that a entrance on that street would “encourage [patrons] to loiter on [Swann], like other patrons in the neighborhood” bringing noise and other nuisances to those residences. Furthermore, the planned outdoor seating, according to the Board, “will cause an unreasonable amount of late-night noise to the neighborhood,” noting that Swann Street residents were already disturbed by the (legal) noise emitted from folks on the patio of the adjacent Bar Charley. As a result, the Board denied the license as it would “cause an adverse impact on the peace, order, and quiet” of Swann Street neighbors. Although the Board could have legally granted the license but, for example, required the bar to have an 18th St. entrance and no outside seating, it did not, likely in part because of the bar’s own hearing testimony. Saloon 45’s architect and owner testified that neither of these changes would be viable: an 18th St. entrance would not be possible because the clearance was very low and any alterations to the staircase to accommodate taller people would run afoul of historic preservation restrictions and the bar’s financial success was based on having outside space for much of the year.

Proposed outdoor seating at Saloon 45/Swann Dive

Proposed outdoor seating at Saloon 45/Swann Dive

The 18th Street entrance, deemed unusable without modifications by bar

The 18th Street entrance, deemed unusable without modifications by bar

The Board further found that it could not grant a license because Saloon 45 didn’t “provide the Board with a clear picture of the nature of its operations and business model” during its testimony, such as “key facts [regarding] the maximum occupancy of the outdoor seating area, the layout of the outdoor seating area, the soundproofing features of the outdoor seating area [the architect spoke of either a 7 foot high fence or a 3-foot wrought-iron fence with landscaping], or the establishment’s food service plans.” Stephens himself testified several times that the bar’s plans were a “moving target,” in response to questions about the offerings and why the concept had evolved significantly since the initial license application.

The hearing itself raised some interesting/humorous moments not mentioned in the Board’s final decision:

  • Stephens cited Census demographic statistics (transportation mode, age, income level) about the 20009 zip code (including much of U Street and Columbia Heights) to explain why he chose the space
  • The Swann Street neighbors repeatedly mentioned how upset they were about the new proposed name, Swann Dive, even quoting, in prefacing a question to Stephens, the Webster’s Dictionary definition of “dive” as a “shabby and disreputable establishment.” To his credit, Stephens acknowledged that he understood that the neighbors were concerned about the name, but that he thought it was a “clever name” (I agree) and that it wasn’t going to be a dive as they were “going to spend a couple hundred thousand dollars renovating it.”
  • Several neighbors who testified about the horrors of the bar being “feet away” from elderly folks and “small children walking to school.”
  • The noise from Bar Charley’s patio was repeatedly mentioned, as was Lauriol Plaza.
  • Lots of people seem to think that everyone drives to bars because of the anecdotal evidence of people driving to Lauriol Plaza. Stephens emphasized that he intended to hire local residents to work in the bar; the commissioners didn’t seem to be convinced that they wouldn’t drive. Capitol Lounge told me that very few employees drive/park to get to work at that bar.
  • There were many complaints about late night bargoers (likely from Adams Morgan who couldn’t find parking closer); for example: “noise, fights, loud car radios, drunk patrons, screaming at each other, urinating on our, doorsteps and tearing up our plantings.”
  • Awesome old lady complaining about not being able to get out of her alley due to Lauriol Plaza valet blocking:
    • “At one point recently I just leaned on my horn until I could get the attention of the valet parking and about 15 people who were at the outdoor bar there with a marguerita[sic] said don’t do that, you are bothering us. And I said I don’t give a damn.”
  • The local ANC commissioner put on the record that this neighborhood is Dupont Circle, not Adams Morgan, as the ABRA investigator and some people in DC wrongfully think.
  • Stephens does not have a lease yet; instead he has a letter of intent for a 5 year lease predicated on getting a liquor license.
  • The flower shop owner testified, explaining that his son had first wanted to open a bar after she closed at the end of 2013 but then changed his mind. She claimed that many neighbors had been informed that a bar was opening there, and no one complained. The protestants hilariously tried to damage her credibility by attempting to introduce evidence that she rented out nearby properties without a DC business license; that didn’t go very far.
The Swann Street proposed entrance. Fears of loitering

The Swann Street proposed entrance. Fears of loitering

Swann Street residences across from bar

Swann Street residences across from bar

The public reaction to this liquor license denial has been fierce; many complaints about NIMBYism have been thrown around on Twitter and in the PoPville comments section. I usually side with the bars, but not here; the owner failed to engage the neighbors and importantly didn’t have a clear vision of what the bar would be like. Barred in DC’s unprofessional suggestions for Stephens if he continues to want to open a bar in the space and applies for another liquor license:

  • partner with someone who has at least managed a bar before
  • get a clearer picture of what the food offerings will be
  • commit to offering food until 2 hours before closing (like a restaurant license)
  • offer only can and/or draft beer (bottles are loud when disposed of)
  • commit to 7 foot high fence around patio with landscaping
  • seating only on patio (no standers)
  • voluntarily commit to early closing hours for patio (earlier than Bar Charley, say 10p on weekdays, 11p on weekends) and Bar Charley’s hours for interior (1a/2a)
  • bite the bullet and try to make the 18th Street entrance happen
  • meet repeatedly with ANC commissioners and other local bar owners to figure out what works

If not, don’t be surprised if this place becomes an ice cream shop, which is a concept also brought to the owner of the flower shop/building; no liquor license required.

Another view of back patio. Bar Charley's patio is covered by white tent

Another view of back patio. Bar Charley’s patio is covered by white tent

Another view across Swann of the bar

Another view across Swann of the bar

 

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Whole Foods Foggy Bottom - GW BREW

Whole Foods Foggy Bottom – GW BREW

The headline says it all. In DC, the going rate for a craft beer on draft at a bar is usually $7 (often $8 or more). And more often than not, these beers are poured in smaller 10 or 12 oz. snifter or tulip glasses. However, at the ground floor coffee/beer bar at Whole Foods Foggy Bottom (also known as “GW BREW”), oblivious to the GW undergrads in line for their espressos and kombuchas, full pints of six different craft beers run $3 or $4 all day long. The beers are no slouches either; I recently sampled the excellent local Belgian dark Atlas Brew Works Town & Country & the Black IPA DC Brau Daughters of Poseidon beers while picking up some produce. Two Brooklyn Brewing seasonal beers, along with an Ommegang brew, currently make up the rest of the draft list.

Details on the growler happy hour

Details on the growler happy hour

Other than your couch or at some of the DC breweries, you might be able to beat that, but this is likely the cheapest place to drink draft craft beer in DC. While Glen’s Garden Market in Dupont, which admittedly has a better atmosphere and sports plenty of outdoor seating, does sell all of their local drafts for $4, not all of the pours are 16 ounces. For growlers at WF Foggy Bottom, the deals are even better-64 oz. ones go for $10-12 with an additional $2 in savings during happy hour 5-7p weekdays. The bar is open from 10a-11p everyday and free parking is available in the downstairs parking garage (making it convenient for growlers). There are a few chairs around the bar and a few high tables to put your beer near the beers for retail sale, but you can also take your beer (in a glass or plastic cup, your preference) with you while you shop. I’ll still be frequenting Glen’s, but I may mix it up every once in awhile to come here. Whole Foods Market Foggy Bottom website, TwitterFacebook,  2201 I St. NW, open 10a-11p everyday, est. 2013.

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high tables to sit your beer with the plethora of PBR in background for GW bros

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Parlay Sports Lounge (Parlay’s Twitter)

Dallas Cowboys fans again have a place of their own to watch games in DC. As first reported by PoPville, Parlay Sports Lounge (the website calls it Parlay Gastropub) soft opened recently in the recently shuttered Malaysia Kopitiam space in lower Dupont/Midtown next to Sign of the Whale on M Street NW. Barred in DC has learned that this spot is from the operators of the nearby Cowboys watch spot Mezza Luna, which itself closed over two years ago. Stay tuned for more information. (1827 M St. NW)

Ceiba Set to Close September 27th

Posted: September 13, 2014 in DC Bar News
Ceiba's bar

Ceiba’s bar

Ceiba, the pan-Latin restaurant & lounge located on 14th Street downtown, will shutter its doors after Saturday, September 27th. The closing, which was announced on its Twitter and Facebook pages today, comes 11 years to the month since the popular spot opened in September 2003.

The lounge was notable for its solid food & cocktail happy hour specials and having one of the first late night happy hours in DC. No word whether its operators, the Passion Food Restaurant Group (which includes DC Coast, Acadiana, District Commons, Burger Tap & Shake, and Penn Commons), will operate a new concept in the space.