The ridiculously popular Shaw (mid-Shaw?) beer garden/bacchanalia, Dacha, has resolved, for now, the many legal issues it has with capacity and noise complaints from neighbors and DC’s alcohol regulators. Dacha engaged in some Uber-style lobbying efforts (urging patrons to complain to politicians/regulators with potentially misleading information, firing workers and threatening to sell to a conglomerate, etc.) back in October.
As widely reported earlier this month, Dacha agreed to pay a whopping $42,500 fine to DC and serve a three non-consecutive week suspension for a number of admitted violations of its listed capacity and settlement agreement. Despite some paperwork indicating an applied-for-capacity of 190 people, Dacha’s official occupancy load was only 126 people; this limit was exceeded all the time.
Dacha was shuttered Thanksgiving week (Mon. Nov, 23-Sun. Nov. 29) and will be closed, in a shrewd bit of punishment by the ABRA Board, at the prime, good-weather-is-back-again time the first weeks of March and April. Any violation of DC’s liquor regulations in the next year will result in an automatic 19-day suspension. Little noticed, but just as significantly, Dacha admitted to 3 “primary tier” violations and 9 “secondary tier” violations. If Dacha gets another primary tier violation within the next four years, its liquor license will be revoked or it will be fined $30,000 and have its license suspended for 30 days.
In exchange for accepting these punishments, the local ANC and Dacha recently entered into a settlement agreement that increases the capacity and clears the way for Dacha to open a three-story restaurant/bar in the adjacent property at 1602 7th St. NW (the first floor, a deli/market, opened recently). The agreement:
- Increases official capacity to 250 people outside and allows 250 inside, for a total of 500 (Dacha had asked for 600, so this is very much a win for the bar);
- Requires seats for 200 people outdoors by next December;
- Permits Dacha to serve booze, not just beer and wine (Dacha told me earlier this year that they wouldn’t serve hard liquor in the beer garden, but this is not part of the agreement; I’m pretty sure this can’t be part of one);
- Retains current outdoor closing times of 10:30p on weekdays and midnight on weekends (the interior will likely be open until the standard 2a/3a);
- Prohibits outdoor speakers and forbids Dacha from opening any windows;
- Withdraws Dacha’s request to build a terrace over the beer garden;
- Requires valet parking (what?) to be offered to folks eating at the restaurant;
- Mandates sound insulation including a sound-insulated fence on the west side (towards 8th St.) and sound dampeners under the bar covering; and
- Authorizes trivia nights, bingo, comedy, karaoke, and a DJ inside, but no live music after 6p (except during 12 private events each year).
ABRA approved the agreement on Thanksgiving Eve, though struck the agreement’s original requirement that Dacha maintain a vegetation buffer. Stay tuned for plans inside the bar.