[THIS POST HAS BEEN EDITED]
Pie Shop Bar, the great bar/music venue/roof deck establishment located above the relative H Street stalwart, Dangerously Delicious Pies, posted an interesting plea on social media channels Wednesday:
We, an established DC small business, literally a mom and pop business run by a husband and wife team for over 9 years in the H St corridor, are being challenged by a neighbor who moved in just 1 year ago. We need your support! Please sign our petition: https://bit.ly/2HoZQOq
The petition itself asks:
To: ABRA, ANC6A
From: [Your Name]
I support Dangerously Delicious Pies, 1339 H st NE WDC 20002, who has been operating, contributing to, and serving the H st. NE neighborhood and The District as a whole, for nearly a decade. They have had no adverse effect of peace, order, and quiet on the community and in fact have always supported several local nonprofit organizations and charitable causes, regularly donate to several DC public schools, and have always been a champion for local artists, art and culture. Supporting local small businesses, in general, is crucial in facilitating an environment where the arts and culture of this city can thrive. #dontmutedc
This petition was linked on neighborhood blogs, my friend’s Facebook pages, and other sources all over town, but in comment sections as well as myself were perplexed regarding the obscure context of the petition and what was really meant. In response to questions posted by others, Pie Shop later posted:
The great local blog Frozen Tropics got more added context from an ANC committee member basically explaining the neighbor across the alley has raised complaints about the noise level from the bands playing on the 2nd floor and hopes to reach some negotiated settlement and if not, ABRA would impose some noise mitigation. Per the member on my local Facebok page and the HillRag – the ANC is not protesting their whole license but only seeks to get them to agree to some noise mitigation measures like heavy curtains when music is playing (there is a whole row of closed windows opposite the stage (though a whole building length away)) or a higher fence on the relatively low fenced (compared to neighboring roofdecks) patio. Note that although Dangerously Delicious points to the fact that they’ve been there almost a decade, the concept of the Pie Shop bar is brand new, just opening in August while the 2nd floor hasn’t been used for any music or bar patrons until then. Some more added context:
- Dangerously Delicious is up for renewal. Reportedly, the ANC may have been willing to support renewal but a fairly new person in the neighborhood (less than one year, though the dude DMd me in the guise of acting like someone else that he has owned for 3 years and went to Yorktown HS. I can confirm that he is a lawyer and in his mid 40s) has been upset for whatever reason with all the bars on the 1300 H Street (noise and related issues) and is now taking the opportunity to push the ANC to protest sort of a proxy for all the neighbor’s issues with the block. I’m personally surprised that one person would cause the ANC to protest (see below) but since DC changed the law and basically severely depressed the ability of non-adjacent property owners to protest there is a perverse interest to protest when it appears some neighbors might themselves There has always been residential a block away from that strip, but it is true there are more and more people moving nearby (including a bunch of renovated/new housing on the cool Linden Court directly between H and G St behind) so there is potentially a new dynamic in the neighborhood. But then again the 1300 block of H Street has been a very late night block for almost a decade or more at this point.
- So DDP has been officially protested, which isn’t necessarily stigmatizing or even a death knell for the spot. A roll call hearing is on the schedule soon. DDP, like Dacha 14th Street did before, is now asking the masses for folks to speak up in support. This is savvy on their part, because after all these years following the DC liquor license scene, ANCs and ABRA usually only hear from complainers, and although this public sentiment might be less relevant at ABRA, if DDP can get any neighbors to testify on its behalf that should be helpful.
- ANC 6A has a settlement agreement already with Dangerously Delicious Pies that was recently amended in late 2018 to allow it to open its chill rooftop patio until 2a on weekends.
- Like almost every ANC in every bar district in town, the local east-side of H Street ANC 6A has reached “settlement agreements” with bars and restaurants in its purview. ANC 6A in particular has prohibited bar crawls through the protest + settlement agreement process.
- Every restaurant liquor license, which lasts 3 years, is up for renewal this spring (you’ve seen the big ass placards on windows and doors). Every ANC and neighbors have an opportunity to challenge the renewal.
- Although a lot of people on TL and bar owners might think it’s unfair (one particular restaurant owner was quite frustrated at a recent meeting), neighbors have the right (and I think they should have the right; giving an avenue to vent reduces problems in the long run) to have a mini-Festivus with their ANC usually to speak their mind and air their grievances. At least in the ANC in which I-if-I-was-a-real-journalist-this-would-be-a-conflict-of-interest serve on its ABC advisory committee, what usually happens is the folks on the ANC and the resident members/advisors determine whether making any edits to the existing settlement agreement (and if you’re a new bar owner or a fan of a bar and they don’t have a SA, well that’s unusual) would address those issues, whether those edits would even be legal to make (for all the criticism, ABRA is really hands off when the agreement is overly prescriptive or makes it responsive for non-patrons/employees), and whether the establishment would be alright if it was included. In the overwhelming majority of the time, the establishment agrees, signs an amendment OR there is no change in the SA, and the ANC agrees to support the renewal. Every once in a while, the establishment and the neighbors do not agree on a resolution, the ANC protests and then there are several status conferences and then a hearing, and then finally a decision in which almost never the ABRA Board denies renewal (this may have happened less than 3 times in recorded DC history) though occasionally they will add the same conditions on the license that many settlement agreements already have. In the meantime, many ANCs will reach an agreement with the establishment and cancel the rest of the proceedings.