Monthly Archives: April 2018

DC Snow Day Bar/Restaurant Specials a Thing of the Past? OPM Finalizes New Rules

Photo by Author of Snow

DC’s famed snow day specials (which Barred in DC frequently posts) at bars and restaurants may be less special going forward. That’s because last week OPM finally, as required by the Administrative Leave Act of 2016 (passed Dec 2016), issued its final regulations about the new “weather and safety leave.” Under the new regulations, which are effective May 10th, OPM has essentially codified existing practice for snow days. One major change, however, may lead to fewer federal employees being able to take advantage of drink & food specials during the day.

Under the new regulations, any employee who has a telework agreement will be required to telework, period, on a snow day, so long as it was “reasonably anticipated” which would allow the employee notice that he/she needs to take laptop home, etc. Previously, OPM had mandated that folks who already were on their regular telework day had to telework on snow days; many agencies required all teleworkers to do so as well but many did not (neither agency I’ve worked for did, hence the frequent posts over the years). This means that if you have a telework agreement but only actually telework a couple times a year situationally, you will be required to telework or take annual leave when there’s a snow day, though you may be in luck if your power is out at your house. OPM thinks that it will be rare that a weather day off wouldn’t be reasonably anticipated, referring to floods, fires, and earthquakes as times where you wouldn’t be prepared. It will be up to each agency to figure out what it means to be “reasonably anticipated” in the end.

So what if you still want to keep your #snowdayfundays and you’re a fed? Well, you could always terminate your telework agreement (depending on your agency, you might be able to re-up and then cancel depending on the season); an agency can’t generally force you to sign a telework agreement. OPM doesn’t believe that a significant number of employees will actually do this, but I know there will be many. Unlike employees in the private sector, the federal government generally doesn’t allow you to telework at a coffee shop or a restaurant.

A Normative Profile of Tipping at DC Bars

You’ve probably begun to hear a lot about Initiative 77, the ballot measure up for vote on the June 19th DC election put forward by some progressive groups (not DC itself, as some restaurant owners seem to think) which would eliminate the lower “tipped wage” by 2026 so restaurant/bar workers would be required to be paid the the full minimum wage by their employers. Right now, these workers get paid $3.33/hour ($5 in 2020) directly by the employer, and any difference between normal minimum wage ($15 in 2020) must be paid the employer. I have yet to hear from anyone in the restaurant/DC industry actually in favor of this.

It got me thinking: what do most folks tip in DC? Becky Krystal and Fritz Hahn posted this handy explainer in the Post about what you should do in 2016, but it’s interesting what people actually do. Those who’ve worked as bartenders were furious at poll results. Based on Twitter polls and tweet feedback, here are the norms, based on strong consensus (70%+, Majority rules: 50%, Split: No Strong:

Near Consensus

  • Tip post-tax
  • 20% for a flight of beers
  • 20% for “solid service” at restaurant
  • Tipping at least some of the time based on the level of effort involved in making drinks
  • Grabbing a beer or two is very different than posting up at a bar for a long time

Majority or Close to It


  • Growler fill tipping: 39% don’t tip on growler fills, 31% tip only if they get other beer/food, 30% tip even if getting nothing else
  • Glass of wine: $1 or 20% evenly split
  • Rounding on tip with credit card: 32% tip in whole dollars (lot of folks have trouble doing math), 22% add tip so the total is whole dollars, 40% don’t do that

Trusty’s Set For Live Music; Torai to Offer Sake (Beer and Wine Too)

[This post was cross-posted earlier to The Hill is Home, where Barred in DC sometimes contributes stories that are more focused towards the neighborhood in which he lives]

Trusty’s, 1420 Pennsylvania Avenue SE, the beloved neighborhood bar in Hill East, is on track to host live bands and other entertainment both inside and on its 2nd floor deck. On Tuesday April 10, ANC 6B concurred with the ANC’s Alcohol Beverage Control Committee recommendation to support Trusty’s request for an entertainment endorsement. (You can see Barred in DC for an explainer.)

At the committee’s meeting last Thursday, co-owner Mark Menard explained the rationale for asking for an endorsement after nearly 13 years in business, saying that patrons and neighbors have asked for a venue for schools and local organization fundraisers, as well as local musicians. Menard specifically mentioned King Bullfrog, “a high-energy acoustic duo playing folk, blues, world, and original music for children and their grown-ups,” as a musical act that would be featured. The ANC supported hours of entertainment beginning at 10 a.m. for both inside and outside, and until closing inside; at midnight Sunday through Thursday; and at 1 a.m. Friday through Saturday on the 2nd floor deck (which fits about 25-30 folks).

The request now goes to the Alcohol Beverage Regulation Administration (ABRA) for approval; we can expect the first event late to happen in the spring/early summer.

In other liquor licensing news, the ANC also supported a beer/wine license for the new Asian Barracks Row eatery, Torai. In response to customer requests (particularly for sake), Torai, which will close at 10 p.m., will serve bottled beer, wine and sake once their liquor license is approved by ABRA.