The Speak, a basement “speakeasy” bar underneath the old Tattoo Bar at 1413 K Street NW, was recently shuttered by the Alcoholic Beverage Regulation Administration (ABRA) for not having liquor license, though it had been operating quite publicly for a half year. As first reported by Borderstan, ABRA shut the bar down after an investigator, acting on an anonymous tip, visited it during “Halloween Enforcement” (big night in the liquor license biz) and found the liquor license and certificate of occupancy covered the closed Tattoo Bar and didn’t allow any people, let alone booze, in the basement. The Speak’s purported owner, Ajiboye Laosebikan, listed as the owner of the upcoming caviar bar (to replace Tattoo Bar) Odessa, claimed to the investigator that the liquor license had been transferred but in fact neither the bar’s lease with the building nor the liquor license covered the basement and the transfer was simply pending.
The investigator’s report is worth checking out: photos of the Halloween revelers (almost as crappy as Barred in DC), the fake mirrored door, social media posts from earlier this year, and pictures of the manager on duty on Halloween night as well as Seth McClelland, who claimed to be the owner in press reports earlier this year and also when Barred in DC visited in May.
This is not the first time Laosebikan has gotten accused of using the wrong documents. A former manager of Love nightclub in Ivy City, Laosebikan was working at Da Luft on H Street in March and claimed to a visiting investigator that he was the ABC Manager on Duty (bars must have either the owner or a licensed manager on premises at all times). He did not have his manager license on hand, but said he would text the investigator a copy later. When he did text the investigator a couple days later, the investigator “observed abnormal pigments on the photo copy.” The investigator and the owner of Da Luft later confirmed that the manager’s license number was actually the license number for Da Luft’s resident DJ, and Laosebikan had no current manager’s license.
Barred in DC does not foresee The Speak reopening anytime soon and the caviar bar Odessa being quite delayed. Stay tuned.