Author Archives: Barred in DC

A Running List of Restaurants and Bars Have Been Shut Down (Temporarily or Not) By DC Authorities During Phase 2

Image by Mr.TinDC licensed under Creative Commons.

Bars and restaurants in DC must comply with a host of rules issued by Mayor Bowser and her administration in normal pre-pandemic times and now must follow even more in order to stay open during Phase 2. Those enforced by ABRA relatively more harshly (per policy) include: 1) being open past midnight, 2) selling alcohol without offering food or requiring food purchase per table 3) having entertainment including live bands and DJs, 4) mandatory staff masking, and 5) patrons seated at the bar or ordering at the bar where a bartender is working (I explain the rationale here).  In addition, DC Health has enforced some of these prohibitions sporadically, including the prohibition against hookah/cigar bars can (note that most hookah smoking indoors in DC bars is generally illegal pre-pandemic but DC Health has never enforced).

The alcohol investigators in ABRA have made tons of visits, either routine inspections or in response to complaints, to most open establishments since beginning of Phase 2 in mid June, formally dinging nearly 130 spots (as of 10/5; roughly 10% of DC’s bars and restaurants with liquor licenses) with verbal or written warnings, $1000 or $2000 fines, and referrals to the ABC Board or the DC Office of Attorney General for action. A little over 30 of these spots (as of 10/5) have received a fine or worse so far, including some that have been shut down. Generally, the ABC’s current resolution of punishment is to allow all those suspended to get their license back after serving a 15 day suspension (10 days held in abeyance for another year triggered if more violations) and explicitly agreeing to all of the Phase 2 restrictions (see example here). The list below includes those shut down at least temporarily.

Note: It must be noted that (as of 10/5) out of the ~32 spots that have been fined, suspended, or potentially face stricter punishment from ABRA, roughly at least 75% serve a mostly Black or Latino clientele, and many are also owned/operated by people of color.  Many have argued these statistics clearly show racially biased enforcement by ABRA, given that DC’s population is less than 40% non-Hispanic white. In an enforcement system driven a great deal by complaints (not all, I know the investigators / inspectors make the rounds regularly in nightlife areas and do proactive monitoring where they can), this is unfortunately not an unexpected outcome. People who live in neighborhoods where bars are, now often majority white, may think twice about complaining about an establishment they frequent (or will reach out to management to give them a heads up to note their complaints). But if the bar’s clientele or management comes mostly from outside the immediate neighborhood, neighbors lack affinity to the bar (or worse, are openly hostile already due to racism, subconscious or not) and, thus won’t try to resolve these informally. In addition, the types of rules that ABRA emphasized enforcement on, though I don’t want to generalize too much here, may also disproportionately end up affecting spots that generally cater to people of color. Beer gardens (frequented disproportionately by white people), though many have drawn long lines and big crowds, are often not as focused on standing at bars and DJs, and are geared to daytime drinking; since violations like the 6 feet rule are not punished as harshly, spots like these don’t get dinged badly. Finally, due to structural racism, in general (although most bars/restaurants don’t have much of a financial cushion), there may be less capital, financial support, and connection to networks that make people either take risks or not be aware of the rules.  That all being said, almost all spots being fined are either being warned before or are committing exceptionally egregious violations of the more important Phase 2 restrictions to help keep the community safe. Most of these spots are operating like a full-on bar/lounge/club with DJs and drinking at the bar- things that the bar have full control of and have been hammered home since late June that are not allowed because of their documented harm in other parts of U.S. which have liberalized bar rules. I think you should take all of this into context as you take a look at this list.

Last Updated: Oct 28, 2020

Shut Down (Temporarily unless otherwise noted; still can be open but cannot serve alcohol);

  • Charcoal Town Hookah (Georgetown)
    • Closed by DC Health for hookah smoking & not enforcing patron mask rule June 30-July 2
    • Closed by DC Health for hookah smoking September 17-September 18
  • District Soul Food (Barracks Row)
    • Closed by DC Health for unspecified Mayor’s Order public health emergency violation (possibly hookah smoking) July 16-17
    • ABC Board issued summary indefinite suspension Oct 8th, effective on Oct 10th
    • Violations (6 times early July to late Sept): employees not wearing masks, patrons not wearing masks, open after midnight,  music not at conversational level, patrons not socially distant, interference with investigation, allowed DJ
    • Will be reinstated after serving 30 day liquor license suspension Oct 10-Nov 8, with additional 30 days in abeyance for a year
  • Cafe 8 (Barracks Row)
    • Closed by DC Health for hookah smoking July 21-22
  • SIP Lounge (Woodridge)
    • Closed by DC Health for hookah smoking July 24-31
  • Lyve at U (U Street)
    • ABC Board issued summary suspension August 5th effective August 7th
    • Violations (once on 7/31): patrons not socially distant, patrons not seated, DJ
    • Appears to be still suspended.
  • Elevate Lounge (NoMa)
    • ABC Board issued summary suspension August 12th effective August 14th
    • Violations (3 before settlement, 1 after): music not at a conversation level, employees not wearing masks, patrons not seated, DJ, patrons not social distant
    • Reinstated after agreeing in legal settlement agreement to adhere to Phase 2 restrictions in exchange for a14 day suspension (Aug 14-Aug 27) and $1000 fine. Another $2000 fine incurred a month after reinstatement
  • Empire Lounge (Shaw)
    • ABC Board issued summary suspension effective September 4th AND again on September 30th
    • Violations (5 before settlement, 1 after): music not at a conversational level, patrons not seated, afterhours service, no prepared food sold with alcohol, employees not waring masks, patrons not socially distant, DJ
    • Reinstated for first time after agreeing in legal settlement agreement to adhere to Phase 2 restrictions in exchange for a 15 day suspension (Sept 4-Sept 17) and $1000 fine. $2000 fine incurred a month after reinstatement
    • Appears to be still suspended.
  • Luna Restaurant (Brightwood Park/16th St Heights)
    • ABC Board issued summary suspension effective September 11th (appears to be a combination of other issues as well)
    • Violations (2): after hours service, interference with investigation, patrons seated at staffed bar, patrons not socially distant, DJ
    • Reinstated after agreeing in legal settlement effective Agreement to adhere to Phase 2 restrictions (and other security related issues since this dealt with other issues) in exchange for a 30 day suspension (Sept 11th-October 12)
  • MK Lounge (Shaw)
    • Suspended by ABC Board on September 16th effective September 18th
    • Violations (5): patrons not socially distant, music not at a conversational level, patrons standing at staffed bar, patrons not seated, indoor occupancy over 50%, after hours service
    • Reinstated after agreeing in legal settlement agreement to adhere to Phase 2 restrictions in exchange for 15 day suspension starting (September 18th-October 4th). Additional 10 suspension days held in abeyance for another year.
  • Booeymonger Restaurant (Georgetown) –
    • Suspended by ABC Board on September 23th effective September 25th
    • Violations (2): patrons not seated, patrons not socially distant, music not at a conversational level, patrons not wearing masks, no prepared food with alcohol, table spacing insufficient, no reservation system
    • Appears to be still suspended.
  • Felicity Lounge (H Street)
    • Suspended by ABC Board on September 30th effective October 2nd
    • Violations (4): Music not at a conversational level, patrons not seated, DJ, patrons standing at a staffed bar, no reservation system, patrons not social distant, patrons not wearing masks, indoor occupancy more than 50%,
    • Reinstated after agreeing in legal settlement agreement to adhere to Phase 2 restrictions in exchange for a 15 day suspension (Oct 2nd-October 17th). Additional 10 suspension days held in abeyance for another year.

Barred in DC – At-Large Councilmember 2020 General Election Guide

Image by Mr.TinDC licensed under Creative Commons.

Thirteen people sit on the Council of the District of Columbia (don’t call it the “City Council,” please), including five at-large members who represent all of DC rather than one of the eight wards specifically. Two at-large seats are up for grabs in the 2020 General Election. Twenty-three (!) (plus 1 person who’s dropped out) are vying for these seats: 1 Democrat (incumbent), 1 Republican, 1 Statehood Green party member, 1 Libertarian party member, and 19 Independents (reportedly majority of these 19 were previously registered Democrat at some point).

To help make your choice (you can vote for ZERO, ONE, or TWO of the candidates), I sent a questionnaire out at 8am on Thursday, Oct 1st with a pretty unreasonable 84 hour turnaround time of 8pm Sunday, October 4th, so I wouldn’t hold it too against those whose answers are not listed below. But given that the mail ballot drop boxes begin accepting ballots on Monday, October 5th, I felt it was imperative to get this information out there. I’ve also asked my Twitter followers to send me why they are supporting certain candidates. Donation information comes from DC Geekery and it appears to reflect donations in reports submitted by October 1st). Fair Elections participants can accept only $100 max contributions outside their family from individuals only (no corporations or PACs) but can get a solid amount of public money.

Not necessarily a recommendation, but personally I will be voting for Chander Jayaraman and Christina Henderson (see this Twitter thread for rationale).

But first, here a few helpful links (thanks to followers and Google who connected me to these; send any more to barredindc@gmail.com or @barredindc on Twitter):

Obligatory:

Other Great Guides:

At-Large Candidate Questionnaire Responses

Listed in Order of Submission

Chander Jayaraman (I) – Fair Elections, 502 donors (412 DC), Ward 6 Resident

  • Q: What did you think of the Council repealing the results of Initiative 77?
    • Was against Initiative 77 and did not have a problem with the repeal (multiple choice)
  • Q: If you were a councilmember in July 2020, would you have voted for the proposed tax increase on DC incomes above $250,000? ($250-350K 8.5 to 8.75%, $350k-$1 million 8.75 to 8.95%, over $1 million 8.95% to 9%)
    • No
  • Q: What is your top proposal that DC government can enact to help prevent more DC bars/restaurants from permanently closing, resulting in the loss of jobs in DC’s hospitality industry?
    • We need to look to the fees that businesses pay to the Business Improvement Districts, which are spending less on certain programs now due to the pandemic. Let’s pool a portion of those taxes citywide and use them to make additional grants and/or low-interest loans to restaurants, bars, and other small businesses, which in turn benefits workers who can then be rehired.
  • Q: On a scale of 1 to 10, (1 being worst, 10 being great) how do your rate Mayor Bowser’s overall job performance this year?
    • 7
  • Q: The surrounding states of Virginia and Maryland have reopened restaurants/bars to a greater extent than DC. Should DC follow suit now or should they follow the announced metrics relating to cases/spread/contact tracing?
    • Follow the metrics
  • Q: In 280 characters or less, why should DC voters choose you as an At-Large Councilman? I will publish this with first 280 characters only (fit in one tweet)
    • I am a small biz owner & ANC commissioner with a track record of helping restaurants & bars in ANC6B succeed. I am a True Independent who has a pragmatic approach to legislation, & I’m committed to making it easier for small businesses to succeed in DC.
  • Q: What is your favorite restaurant in DC?
    • Rose’s Luxury
  • Q: What is your favorite bar in DC?
    • The Pug
  • Quote from Barred in DC reader/follower
    • “I’m voting for him because as a Hill resident I’ve seen him successfully bridge the divide between businesses and residents in a respectful manner that satisfy most”

Marya Pickering (R) – 80 donors (64 DC), Ward 3 Resident

  • Q: What did you think of the Council repealing the results of Initiative 77?
    • Good idea; as a former waitress, I always made more than the minimum wage in tips.  Initiative 77 — like many liberal ideas — is well-intentioned but will hurt small restaurants and their staff in the long run. [entered own info]
  • Q: If you were a councilmember in July 2020, would you have voted for the proposed tax increase on DC incomes above $250,000? ($250-350K 8.5 to 8.75%, $350k-$1 million 8.75 to 8.95%, over $1 million 8.95% to 9%)
    • No
  • Q: What is your top proposal that DC government can enact to help prevent more DC bars/restaurants from permanently closing, resulting in the loss of jobs in DC’s hospitality industry?
    • (1) Follow lead of neighboring jurisdictions to re-open as quickly as possible; (2) insurance relief from COVID-19 related liabilities; (3) increased payouts from business interruption insurance; (4) rent moratorium/tax abatement/delay in sales tax payments; (5) new long-term recovery loans
  • Q: On a scale of 1 to 10, (1 being worst, 10 being great) how do your rate Mayor Bowser’s overall job performance this year?
    • 3
  • Q: The surrounding states of Virginia and Maryland have reopened restaurants/bars to a greater extent than DC. Should DC follow suit now or should they follow the announced metrics relating to cases/spread/contact tracing?
    • Follow lead of neighboring jurisdictions
  • Q: In 280 characters or less, why should DC voters choose you as an At-Large Councilman? I will publish this with first 280 characters only (fit in one tweet)
    • No more business as usual.” Let’s bring true diversity of ideas and prudent management to the DC Council. As a former small business owner, contract management professional with an MBA degree, and government employee, I am the best qualified candidate to effect positive change
  • Q: What is your favorite restaurant in DC?
    • DeCarlo’s and the cafe at the Museum of the American Indian
  • Q: What is your favorite bar in DC?
    • Hawk & Dove

Monica Palacio (I) – Fair Elections, 504 donors (419 DC), Ward 4 Resident

  • Q: What did you think of the Council repealing the results of Initiative 77?
    • Was for I 77 and thought that was wrong (multiple choice)
  • Q: If you were a councilmember in July 2020, would you have voted for the proposed tax increase on DC incomes above $250,000? ($250-350K 8.5 to 8.75%, $350k-$1 million 8.75 to 8.95%, over $1 million 8.95% to 9%)
    • No
  • Q: What is your top proposal that DC government can enact to help prevent more DC bars/restaurants from permanently closing, resulting in the loss of jobs in DC’s hospitality industry?
    • I propose providing long-term assistance to the restaurant and bar industry through grants and loans so that businesses survive extended closures and adapt and reinvent services. I will ensure funds are timely and accessible to businesses and delivery safety net services that will help all workers in the industry have a place to live, keep food on the table and pay their bills.
  • Q: On a scale of 1 to 10, (1 being worst, 10 being great) how do your rate Mayor Bowser’s overall job performance this year?
    • 8
  • Q: The surrounding states of Virginia and Maryland have reopened restaurants/bars to a greater extent than DC. Should DC follow suit now or should they follow the announced metrics relating to cases/spread/contact tracing?
    • Follow the metrics
  • In 280 characters or less, why should DC voters choose you as an At-Large Councilman? I will publish this with first 280 characters only (fit in one tweet)
    • I am a Civil Rights lawyer, community organizer, advocate and mom who has dedicated 30 years to public service in DC. A vote for me is a vote to help save lives and protect families, and to elect the first Latina to the DC Council. Together, we can build stronger communities all over the District.
  • Q: What is your favorite restaurant in DC?
    • Mezcalero
  • Q: What is your favorite bar in DC?
    • DC Reynolds, I was sad to hear of their closure, so Jojo R&B is 2nd
  • Quote from Barred in DC reader/follower
    • I support Mónica Palacio because I have seen how much she has worked for the rights of some of the most vulnerable communities in DC, like the LGBTQ and immigrant communities. We need a leader like her in Council.

Marcus Goodwin (I) – 1,527 Donors (1,011 DC), Ward 4 Resident

  • Q: What did you think of the Council repealing the results of Initiative 77?
    • Was against Initiative 77 and did not have a problem with the repeal (multiple choice)
  • Q: If you were a councilmember in July 2020, would you have voted for the proposed tax increase on DC incomes above $250,000? ($250-350K 8.5 to 8.75%, $350k-$1 million 8.75 to 8.95%, over $1 million 8.95% to 9%)
    • No
  • Q: What is your top proposal that DC government can enact to help prevent more DC bars/restaurants from permanently closing, resulting in the loss of jobs in DC’s hospitality industry?
    • A rent and lease District-backed bond assistance program. One part to help with business operators who are struggling to make rent payments. And one for service workers displaced by the pandemic. Both aspects to be repaid at a graduated rate over time with low interest rates.
  • Q: On a scale of 1 to 10, (1 being worst, 10 being great) how do your rate Mayor Bowser’s overall job performance this year?
    • 8
  • Q: The surrounding states of Virginia and Maryland have reopened restaurants/bars to a greater extent than DC. Should DC follow suit now or should they follow the announced metrics relating to cases/spread/contact tracing?
    • Follow the metrics
  • In 280 characters or less, why should DC voters choose you as an At-Large Councilman? I will publish this with first 280 characters only (fit in one tweet)
    • I will fight to increase home ownership opportunities for historically disenfranchised residents, expand vocational training to create more good-paying jobs, support our local businesses, and create universal after school programs for DC students.
  • Q: What is your favorite restaurant in DC?
    • HalfSmoke
  • Q: What is your favorite bar in DC?
    • Marvin
  • Quote from Barred in DC reader/follower
    • In a time when DC’s small businesses are in danger of being forced to close and may never return, strong business leadership is needed in the Council to help our beloved local economy. The success of the District’s social community is built on small businesses. Marcus Goodwin is best suited to save them.”

Ed Lazere (I) – Fair Elections, 2,077 Donors (1,700 DC), Ward 5 Resident

  • Q: What did you think of the Council repealing the results of Initiative 77?
    • Was for Initiative 77 and thought the repeal was wrong (multiple choice)
  • Q: If you were a councilmember in July 2020, would you have voted for the proposed tax increase on DC incomes above $250,000? ($250-350K 8.5 to 8.75%, $350k-$1 million 8.75 to 8.95%, over $1 million 8.95% to 9%)
    • Yes
  • Q: What is your top proposal that DC government can enact to help prevent more DC bars/restaurants from permanently closing, resulting in the loss of jobs in DC’s hospitality industry?
    • I’m eager to keep restaurants and other small businesses that serve our neighborhoods and communities. When I talk with small business owners the largest issue I hear about is paying rent. Some landlords are negotiating and some are not. I would permanently prohibit landlords from evicting small business tenants if they lost income in the pandemic. That would force all commercial landlords to negotiate reduced rents with their tenants. I would back that up with a landlord relief fund to support any small landlord who can show they are suffering extreme hardship as a result.
  • Q: On a scale of 1 to 10, (1 being worst, 10 being great) how do your rate Mayor Bowser’s overall job performance this year?
    • 4
  • Q: The surrounding states of Virginia and Maryland have reopened restaurants/bars to a greater extent than DC. Should DC follow suit now or should they follow the announced metrics relating to cases/spread/contact tracing?
    • Follow the metrics
  • In 280 characters or less, why should DC voters choose you as an At-Large Councilman? I will publish this with first 280 characters only (fit in one tweet)
    • I spent 20 yrs at @dcfpi digging into DC’s budget & building coalitions across DC to fight for big wins, like more $ for high-poverty schools & paid sick time for all workers in DC. I’ve been endorsed by AGKarl Racine, 3 councilmembers & 30 progressive orgs. See dcvoterguide.com
  • Q: What is your favorite restaurant in DC?
    • Masala Story – Great Indian food in Brookland
  • Q: What is your favorite bar in DC?
    • Brookland Pint
  • Quotes from Barred in DC readers/followers
    • he’s doing the work to get the grassroots support behind and modeling a different type of male leadership: humble, thoughtful, and gentle strength. He fights for the will of the people and including working folks in the political conversation. He believes that no one is free until everyone is free, and he puts money where his mouth is.
    • As the Director of DC’s top progressive think tank, he helped lead and win fights for a $15 minimum wage, paid family and medical leave, investments in affordable housing, expanded access to health care, ethics reforms, and more.
    • I am supporting Ed Lazere because he’s running a campaign dedicated to improving the lives of everyday DC residents — not wealthy real estate developers and special interests. His policies would make it easier for us to succeed and thrive. He’s the true pro-worker candidate.

Christina Henderson (I), Fair Elections, 1,043 Donors (748 DC), Ward 4 Resident

  • Q: What did you think of the Council repealing the results of Initiative 77?
    • Was for Initiative 77 and thought the repeal was wrong (multiple choice)
  • Q: If you were a councilmember in July 2020, would you have voted for the proposed tax increase on DC incomes above $250,000? ($250-350K 8.5 to 8.75%, $350k-$1 million 8.75 to 8.95%, over $1 million 8.95% to 9%)
    • Yes
  • Q: What is your top proposal that DC government can enact to help prevent more DC bars/restaurants from permanently closing, resulting in the loss of jobs in DC’s hospitality industry?
    • I’d like to see DC create a local version of the Paycheck Protection Program until we’re able to get to Phase 4 in the reopening plan. Under the program, loans are forgiven if employee retention criteria are met by the business. We know that many businesses in the District, especially minority-owned businesses were unable to benefit from the federal PPP program. By creating a local version, we can be targeted and intentional in providing support to our businesses.
  • Q: On a scale of 1 to 10, (1 being worst, 10 being great) how do your rate Mayor Bowser’s overall job performance this year?
    • 5
  • Q: The surrounding states of Virginia and Maryland have reopened restaurants/bars to a greater extent than DC. Should DC follow suit now or should they follow the announced metrics relating to cases/spread/contact tracing?
    • Follow the metrics
  • In 280 characters or less, why should DC voters choose you as an At-Large Councilman? I will publish this with first 280 characters only (fit in one tweet)
    • I have a commonsense approach to policymaking, embrace collaboration, & posses a tireless commitment to equity. If you’re looking for an innovative voice with experience getting things done — I’m your candidate.
  • Q: What is your favorite restaurant in DC?
    • Marvin
  • Q: What is your favorite bar in DC?
    • Satellite Room [ed. note, closed before the pandemic]
  • Quotes from Barred in DC readers/followers
    • I support Christina Henderson, who has the long and varied experience in governing that a good candidate needs, thoughtful positions that she develops based on discussions and data, and a good heart. She will get things done and look out for the whole city, not just those with means.

Jeanné Lewis (I) – Fair Elections, 502 donors (332 DC), Ward 7 Resident

  • Q: What did you think of the Council repealing the results of Initiative 77?
    • Was for Initiative 77 and thought the repeal was wrong (multiple choice)
  • Q: If you were a councilmember in July 2020, would you have voted for the proposed tax increase on DC incomes above $250,000? ($250-350K 8.5 to 8.75%, $350k-$1 million 8.75 to 8.95%, over $1 million 8.95% to 9%)
    • Yes
  • Q: What is your top proposal that DC government can enact to help prevent more DC bars/restaurants from permanently closing, resulting in the loss of jobs in DC’s hospitality industry?
    • We can the economy going but we must implement a stronger and more consistent contact tracing infrastructure. Every eatery is not collecting information or being strict about masks. Increasing the number of volunteer testing sites and participation will also be important to ensure asymptomatic people are aware they have the virus and remain vigilant.
  • Q: On a scale of 1 to 10, (1 being worst, 10 being great) how do your rate Mayor Bowser’s overall job performance this year?
    • 6
  • Q: The surrounding states of Virginia and Maryland have reopened restaurants/bars to a greater extent than DC. Should DC follow suit now or should they follow the announced metrics relating to cases/spread/contact tracing?
    • Follow the metrics
  • In 280 characters or less, why should DC voters choose you as an At-Large Councilman? I will publish this with first 280 characters only (fit in one tweet)
    • I want to center the experiences of people, not numbers on the spreadsheet, and offer creative solutions that hold to our vision for a DC that works for everyone. It’s time we make decisions that make a difference. That’s why I’m asking for your vote on Nov 3rd.
  • Q: What is your favorite restaurant in DC?
    • Masala Art
  • Q: What is your favorite bar in DC?
    • JoJo’s

Alexander M. Padro (I)  – 104 donors (84 DC), Ward 6 Resident

  • Q: What did you think of the Council repealing the results of Initiative 77?
    • Was against Initiative 77 and did not have a problem with the repeal (multiple choice)
  • Q: If you were a councilmember in July 2020, would you have voted for the proposed tax increase on DC incomes above $250,000? ($250-350K 8.5 to 8.75%, $350k-$1 million 8.75 to 8.95%, over $1 million 8.95% to 9%)
    • No
  • Q: What is your top proposal that DC government can enact to help prevent more DC bars/restaurants from permanently closing, resulting in the loss of jobs in DC’s hospitality industry?
    • I am proposing reducing the collectible amount of commercial property taxes for all retail spaces that have capacity limitations during the COVID-19 pandemic. As a Ward 2 ANC Commissioner, I was an early advocate for the residential property tax cap, which initially only applied to Ward 2, but subsequently was expanded citywide. I believe that trying to collect 100% of commercial property taxes from triple net tenants is totally irresponsible and will result in a significant number of business closures. Reducing the collectible portion of commercial property taxes to the same percentage as the square footage that is allowed to be occupied during the pandemic health emergency would reduce short term property tax collections for the city, but would provide a lifeline to struggling tenants, especially retailers and restaurants. It is better to collect a lower percentage of these taxes now than to have to have no tenants to pay any taxes later, forcing property owners to shoulder the burden of paying these taxes without revenue.Without significant action on the part of the District and federal governments, I anticipate that 50% or more of current retail tenants in DC will no longer be in operation a year from now. As a Main Street district executive director, I am in daily contact with the small, independent retailers and restaurateurs that represent the vast majority of our city’s retail tenants. I see daily the challenges these entrepreneurs, even well capitalized operators, are facing as they struggle to try to keep their doors open long enough to “get to the other side” of the pandemic. I also speak to commercial property owners struggling to strike a balance between supporting tenants they have carefully curated and paying their mortgages. As a result, I would make one of my three top priorities as an At-Large Councilmember providing relief and support to our city’s retailers and commercial property owners to ensure that post-COVID-19, DC remains a viable, sustainable and attractive place for local customers, visitors, entrepreneurs and property owners alike. The alternative, a city of neighborhoods devoid of the types of unique, independent businesses that give DC the character that attracts residents and visitors would be lost, along with the substantial commensurate tax revenue that allows the District to thrive and support its citizens
  • Q: On a scale of 1 to 10, (1 being worst, 10 being great) how do your rate Mayor Bowser’s overall job performance this year?
    • 6
  • Q: The surrounding states of Virginia and Maryland have reopened restaurants/bars to a greater extent than DC. Should DC follow suit now or should they follow the announced metrics relating to cases/spread/contact tracing?
    • Follow the metrics
  • In 280 characters or less, why should DC voters choose you as an At-Large Councilman? I will publish this with first 280 characters only (fit in one tweet)
    • During 20 years as an ANC and 16 years leading Shaw Main Streets, I have been an agent of change. My campaign’s slogan is Dreams Come True, because I want to help make every DC neighborhood’s dreams come true. I want to focus on affordable housing, equitable development, and helping our small businesses survive the COVID-19 pandemic.
       
  • Q: What is your favorite restaurant in DC?
    • Recenty, I have most often taken out from Unconventional Diner. But other favorites include The Dabney, Convivial. Espita, Tiger Fork, and Kinship.
       
  • Q: What is your favorite bar in DC?
    • Columbia Room and Service Bar are two of my favorites.
  • Quote from Barred in DC reader/follower
    • “I think you’ll find that Alex Padro has a proven, effective track record on all these issues, over his many years of leadership in the community… I’ve seen him do that over & over again; he’s been a tireless advocate for small businesses throughout Shaw— but also, as our ANC Commish, for housing, seniors, arts, culture, and our library and parks. He seems to know DC govt inside and out, and *actually makes things happen*”
    • “110%. Nobody knows this space like Alex Padro. We need someone with experience bridging the gap between government and the realities people are facing to help navigate these crazy times.”

Joe Bishop-Henchman (L) – Ward 5 Resident

  • Q: What did you think of the Council repealing the results of Initiative 77?
    • Supported because the ballot description misleadingly said it was a minimum wage increase for everyone
  • Q: If you were a councilmember in July 2020, would you have voted for the proposed tax increase on DC incomes above $250,000? ($250-350K 8.5 to 8.75%, $350k-$1 million 8.75 to 8.95%, over $1 million 8.95% to 9%)
    • No
  • Q: What is your top proposal that DC government can enact to help prevent more DC bars/restaurants from permanently closing, resulting in the loss of jobs in DC’s hospitality industry?
    • The temporary alcohol-to-go and sidewalk dining rules should be made permanent, and the permitting process should be greatly eased.
  • Q: On a scale of 1 to 10, (1 being worst, 10 being great) how do your rate Mayor Bowser’s overall job performance this year?
    • 6
  • Q: The surrounding states of Virginia and Maryland have reopened restaurants/bars to a greater extent than DC. Should DC follow suit now or should they follow the announced metrics relating to cases/spread/contact tracing?
    • Follow the metrics
  • In 280 characters or less, why should DC voters choose you as an At-Large Councilman? I will publish this with first 280 characters only (fit in one tweet)
    • If elected DC Council At-Large, I promise to hold WMATA accountable for their mistakes, be a watchdog on our $16 billion dollar budget, and clear obstacles out of the way of job creation and new housing. Vote Joe Bishop-Henchman for an independent voice on the Council.
  • Q: What is your favorite restaurant in DC?
    • Farmers & Distillers
  • Q: What is your favorite bar in DC?
    • Nellie’s

Will Merrifield (I) – Fair Elections, 623 donors (495 DC), Ward 7 Resident

  • Q: What did you think of the Council repealing the results of Initiative 77?
    • I do not agree with the Council overturning the will of the people. We voted, the initiative passed, and the votes should have stood as the last word on the issue.
  • Q: If you were a councilmember in July 2020, would you have voted for the proposed tax increase on DC incomes above $250,000? ($250-350K 8.5 to 8.75%, $350k-$1 million 8.75 to 8.95%, over $1 million 8.95% to 9%)
    • Yes.
      • He further added “I am a firm believer in making sure every DC resident can participate in our local economy, not just certain people. That means ensuring every person in the District can access safe, affordable housing; quality, neighborhood education; free, local preventative and emergency healthcare; and stable, living-wage jobs. That means we must raise taxes on those who can afford it in order to take care of all residents.”
  • Q: What is your top proposal that DC government can enact to help prevent more DC bars/restaurants from permanently closing, resulting in the loss of jobs in DC’s hospitality industry?
    • DC should provide direct capital injections for small businesses and fund a job program post pandemic. The capital injections would help stabilize small businesses and a jobs program would employ people who have lost work during the the pandemic, stabilize them and put money in their pockets that they would then spend in the local economy to jumpstart things post-pandemic.
  • Q: On a scale of 1 to 10, (1 being worst, 10 being great) how do your rate Mayor Bowser’s overall job performance this year?
    • I rate her performance as a 3.
      • He further added ” Each year the Mayor and Council give away hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars to private  developers to build luxury apartments that are
        displacing working class DC residents, driving up rents for small businesses and making DC too expensive to live in generally. This policy of trickle down economics has led to vast inequality in our local schools and segregated the DC. If elected, I will focus on building non-means test truly affordable housing through a social housing model, invest in strong neighborhood schools, and focus implementing a jobs program post pandemic.”
  • Q: The surrounding states of Virginia and Maryland have reopened restaurants/bars to a greater extent than DC. Should DC follow suit now or should they follow the announced metrics relating to cases/spread/contact tracing?
    • I believe DC should focus on itself instead of worrying about what surrounding states have done in response to the Coronavirus. Both Virginia and Maryland have very rural areas within their states, and have to consider different factors when making their decisions to reopen businesses. I agree with the announced metrics, and am personally very cautious when it comes to protecting the health and well-being of Washingtonians.
  • In 280 characters or less, why should DC voters choose you as an At-Large Councilman? I will publish this with first 280 characters only (fit in one tweet)
    • I have been a frontline fighter with people facing displacement my entire career. I have fought, and will continue to fight, with you to make sure EVERYONE has a human right to stable and safe housing, world-class local education, and accessible local healthcare. willfordc.com
  • Q: What is your favorite restaurant in DC?
    • Meze
  • Q: What is your favorite bar in DC?
    • Solly’s
  • Quotes from Barred in DC readers/followers
    • “Merrifield’s social housing plan is transformational – it challenges segregation of DC’s neighborhoods and schools in a truly novel way. White’s winning. He doesn’t need your vote. So vote for Lazere, but help demonstrate an appetite for profound change by also voting for Will.”

Robert White (D) – 1,069 donors (766 DC), Ward 4 Resident

Voting for DC’s ANC Candidates

Image by Mr.TinDC licensed under Creative Commons.

DC has nearly unpaid 300 Advisory Neighborhood Commissioner positions, making up 40 separate ANCs comprising all of DC. ANCs have been in place since 1976; their role is mostly legally advisory, but in many cases, both in practice or actuality, they can serve as an effective veto or sign-off on development and bars/restaurants. It can be hard to follow ANC work as a resident but they can have a significant impact on your lives.

To that end, if you have no idea to vote for in the 2020 election which has started, I’ve asked people to reach out to me if they support nightlife as well as making it easier for bikers and pedestrians to live in DC. A number did,  who are listed below with verbatim quotes (excerpts if lengthy). I also reached out to people on my own to get their pulse on who would be probably candidates that they know of. Check out Open ANC  for more information and figure out your ANC. If you’re running for ANC in a competitive race and your SMD is not listed (or if you are a strong support of a candidate in a competitive race), email barredindc@gmail.com or Twitter DM @barredindc with a short statement.

Greater Greater Washington did a Herculean job soliciting statements and endorsing candidates. You should read here for more info but also for competitive races not listed below.

Those bolded mean that candidate or a voter proactively reached out. I did not do a full background check or study all their issues, so I’m sure there’s someone I regret here, this shouldn’t be considered an “endorsement.”

* means that GGWash also endorsed candidate
+ means GGWash endorsed another candidate in race

Competitive Races (more than 1 candidate) (NOTE – there are way more competitive races than these; these are just the ones I received feedback on)

  • 1C03: Peter Wood*
  • 1C04: Meghan Faulkner*
  • 1C08: FIona Clem*
  • 2A03: Trupti “Trip” J. Patel*
  • 2B01: Matthew H Sampson*
    • “I supported Anju, Pupatella, and Assets through their opening in my district. There was lots of blowback but I’m proud to have supported a diverse amount of restaurants and nightlife in my district. I’ve also voted in support of 20th and 17th protected bike lanes, and I recently got pedestrian safety infrastructure installed at 19th and S, 20th and S, and 19th and T intersections.”
  • 2B03: Robin Nunn*
    • “Having grown up in the DMV area, and living in Dupont Circle on 17th Street and R Street NW for many years, I’m devoted to ensuring that our community improves upon what came before, and that collectively we thrive.  My life’s work has been dedicated to this task and, as an ANC, I promise to help the Dupont Circle commission create change we all deserve for a neighborhood we can proudly call home.  This means addressing the bigger issues – like encouraging the District to enact transit-oriented development to increase the number of people who can shop in our businesses without driving to them– but it also requires addressing the day-to-day matters that affect us all here: transportation, rats!, liquor licenses.  As a representative to local government, I’ll encourage the DC Government to invest in start-ups and credits for small businesses and support nightlife.”
  • 2B04: Mo Pasternak*
  • 2B06: Mike Silverstein*
  • 2B09: Kyle Mulhall*
  • 2D01: Ashley Warren*
  • 2E02: Christopher “Topher” Mathews*
    • Fellow blogger, runs The Georgetown Metropolitan
  • 2F05: Sherene Joseph*
  • 2507: Rehenna Mohammed*
  • 3C05: Sauleh Siddiqui*
  • 3D08: Ben Bergmann*
  • 4A02: Stacey Lincoln
    • From frequent Twitter interactor: “Had one license matter with him and found him to be smart, committed and fair. Shepherd Park is always a challenge for ABC licensees, but he was great to deal with.”
  • 4C02: Maria Berry*
  • 4C07: Jacob Mason*
    • ” I’m a strong supporter of walking, cycling, and public transportation, both professionally and as an advocate. I live with my wife and 4-year-old without a car and travel mostly by bike and bus. I contributed to the Vision Zero Omnibus bill that recently passed the council. Upshur Street is in my single member district, and I strongly support the businesses there, and want to make my area a model of how businesses can succeed alongside residences. ANC 4C has already done a lot of proactive work to set clear guidelines for businesses, in terms of expectations, but to also protect those businesses operating within those guidelines from frivolous complaints, so they can focus on operating. In these challenging times for businesses, I want to push for more creative outdoor solutions to enable safe dining, as has been done successfully in other parts of DC.”
  • 4C08: Clara Haskell Bolstein+
    • “1) I’m definitely in favor of pedestrian and bike-friendly policies. As someone who doesn’t have a car or a license, I’m personally invested in this issue and in supporting public transit more generally. 🙂 .. 2) We don’t have a ton of nightlife in our SMD, but I definitely want to help local businesses, several of which are restaurants and bars, during this difficult time. The ANC has limited power, but can advocate for city resources and promote businesses through events and campaigns.”
  • 4D04: Zachary Israel*
  • 5A08: Gordon-Andrew Fletcher*
  • 5C01: Michael Triebwasser*
  • 5D03: Sean Barry*
    • From frequent Twitter interactor/voter: “I like his community engagement, The fact he has healthcare work on his resume (especially during a pandemic) and his focus on helping our with neighborhood trash cleanup and traffic issues.”
  • 5D05: Sydelle Moore*
  • 5D06: Zachary Hoffman+
    • DC bartender who’s been a longtime follower and has always been very transparent about the personal and business side. Working with an org called THIRSTExecutive VP of DC Bar and Restaurant Workers Alliance
    • Note that another voter recommended Marina Budimir* as she is sustainable planner for DC.
  • 6A01: Keya Chatterjee*
    • Followed me for awhile. Robb Dooling submitted statement for both of them
    • “2) Keya and I are champions of car-free living. We have a track record of getting DDOT projects done, especially in our successful campaigns for #GreenKSt (that brought bike lanes to K St NE and Florida Ave NE) – and #DCStreets4People, the precursor to DDOT’s current Slow Streets pilot. Neither of these are perfect yet but we’re eager to continue advocating at the ANC level. We also passed Greater Greater Washington’s “bus priority” resolution through ANC 6C to our west. 3) Keya and I absolutely support vibrant nightlife on H St NE. We’re currently pushing for more outdoor space for H Street’s small businesses and in touch with our districts’ business owners to advocate for them as well as we can. We particularly want to support rent relief and similar assistance for these small businesses if we become commissioners.”
  • 6A04: Amber Gove*
  • 6A05: Laura Gentile*
  • 6A06: Robb Dooling*
    • Followed me for awhile. I’m voting for him.
    • “2) Keya and I are champions of car-free living. We have a track record of getting DDOT projects done, especially in our successful campaigns for #GreenKSt (that brought bike lanes to K St NE and Florida Ave NE) – and #DCStreets4People, the precursor to DDOT’s current Slow Streets pilot. Neither of these are perfect yet but we’re eager to continue advocating at the ANC level. We also passed Greater Greater Washington’s “bus priority” resolution through ANC 6C to our west. 3) Keya and I absolutely support vibrant nightlife on H St NE. We’re currently pushing for more outdoor space for H Street’s small businesses and in touch with our districts’ business owners to advocate for them as well as we can. We particularly want to support rent relief and similar assistance for these small businesses if we become commissioners.”
  • 6A07: Dan Lee*
  • 6B03: Brian Ready+
    • Worked with him on ANC Alcohol committee. Seemed like an effective advocate for Barracks Row with good liaison
  • 6B07: Edward Ryder (write-in)
  • 6B08: Peter Wright*
  • 6B09: Alison Horn*
    • ” I hear a lot from my neighbors about the need to make our district more bike and pedestrian-friendly and I would hope to keep up the good work of my predecessor and residents of my SMD who have been pushing the 6B transpiration committee to improve bike safety with protected bike lanes on Pennsylvania Ave SE, 17th Street, and adding more bike path connections to the Anacostia Riverfront Trail. Neighbors also want traffic calming measures on Potomac Ave between 17th and 19th and I would advocate for that as well. 3) currently, nightlife in my SMD is non-existent, unless you count movie nights and activities in congressional cemetery. I’d like to see more nightlife within walking distance of my district, which is entirely residential. In neighboring SMDs, there are some old staples like Trusty’s, and some new arrivals like the bars/restaurants in the Roost, and I would be excited to see more of that in areas walkable from my SMD, as well as in Reservation 13, which is in Ward 7, but borders my SMD.”
  • 6C04: Mark Eckenweiler*
    • Entertaining/informative Twitter account though we don’t follow each other
  • 6D07: Edward Daniels
    • Excerpt of long statement “…I have remained honest, transparent, and have worked tirelessly to hold myself, my colleagues, and others in positions of power as accountable as possible for both their actions and their inaction in regards to making our community one of the most amazing places to live. …The fight for my second term and my goals remain rather simple. Life is short, efficiency is key, and accountability is a must.  The past two years have revealed so many flaws in the system of politics and the people who continue to break and slow down that system. The death of George Floyd and subsequent protests really sparked my thoughts and frustrations with failed systems and has really informed my mode of operation as I enter this second term.”
  • 6E02: Alex Lopez*
    • Frequent Twitter interactor: “basically forced the ANC to start a transportation committee as a resident and has pushed some pretty great projects (K street NW notably) and has made it his #1 issue to get 9th street lanes built.
  • 6E04: Rachelle Nigro*
    • Longtime follower, seems like doing solid work
  • 8A07: Steven Tiller
    • Frequent Twitter interactor/Voter: “In our area of ward 8 (Hillsdale) we’re experiencing a changing of the guards if you will between the elders and the younger people. Steven is equipped to bridge the gap between the young and old. He’s also someone who supports growth and development but not at the risk of our most vulnerable neighbors.”

Only One Candidate, But Person Reached Out Anyways

  • 2F01: Brian Romanowski
    • “2. Yes, I support actions that make it easier for people to walk, bike, and take public transportation. I am a member of the Washington Area Bicyclist Assocation and their Ward 1 & 2 Safe Streets Advocacy Committee. I represent Ward 2 on the Mayor’s Recreational Trails Advisory Committee. I do not have and do not plan to get a car while I live in the District. I bike, walk, run, scooter, bus, Metro, or Uber/Lyft anywhere that I go, primarily walking and biking.”
  • 5D07: Stephen Cobb
    • Long-time follower, met him once at Last Call. Had a long thoughtful comment so will just post part.
    • “I am strongly in support of actions that make it easier for people to exclusively travel via bike or walking. Biking is my main mode of transportation throughout the District, especially now in the era of social distancing. We have several street redesigns coming to my ANC, and I am very excited about them. … I support a vibrant nightlife scene in my ANC. While it sometimes feels like H Street is the primary nightlife area near 5D, my ANC has great potential for its own vibrant nightlife scene in two types of areas: (1) the mixed-use areas of Union Market and Ivy City; and (2) the commercial corridors of Bladensburg and Benning Roads….”

Where to Get Draft Beer To Go in DC

Draft beer

One of the things people have said they missed most about closed bars was drinking draft beer. Even most breweries stopped filling growlers and selling draft beer to consumers directly earlier in the pandemic. While a majority of spots have reopened, many people are not dining/drinking on premises (or not that often). So, to get your draft beer fix, and in honor of DC Beer Week, here’s an incomplete (send me your updates) list of spots that do sell draft beer to go. I”m mostly focusing on spot you can order online or call. beer brands offered as representative at of Sept 2020]

Last Updated: Sept 27, 2020

  • H Street/NoMa
    • Fresca: 16 oz.: $7.50 Solace Double IPA, Ocelot Pilsner , $5.50 Port City Porter/Dos Equis
    • The Big Board: 20 oz, 32 oz BYO growler, 64 oz BYO growler (might be able to purchase glass):
    • Haymaker Bar: $10 32 oz (Kona, Blue Point, Goose Island, Victory, Hoegaarden) Sierra Nevada Oktoberfest, Deschutes Black Butte Porter, Solace Partly Cloudy, New Belgium Bohemian Pils, New Belgium Voodoo Ranger, Anderson Valley Blood Orange Gose, Jailbreak Feed The Monkey, Union Duckpin
    • Biergarten Haus: $10 32 oz mason jars (around 12 German beers)
    • Duffy’s: $16-24 32 oz growlers (Miller Lite, Bold Rock Cider, Hellbender Red Line)
    • Fare Well: 64 oz growlers. $25 Appalachian Divide Blonde Ale, RAR Groove City; $35 Union Divine IPA
    • The Queen Vic: $32 64 oz growlers (15% discount for pickup), $18 32 oz growlers. Several British and Irish beers.
    • Red Bear Brewing: $12-13 32 oz crowler cans or BYO growlers, mostly $16.50-18.50 64 oz BYO growlers ($9 for glass)
    • CR NoMa: $8-9 16 oz, $16 32 oz growler, $32 64 oz growler. Includes Atlas Bullpen Pilsner, Upland Petal to the Kettle, Diamondback Green Machine
  • Capitol Hill/Barracks Row/Navy Yard
    • Cafe Berlin: $5-8 12 oz (3 varieties of German beer), $25-30 64 oz growler fills ($5 for glass) (7 varieties of German beer
    • Shelter at The Roost: roughly 20 beers on draft. Can get $3 tasters and $7-9 full size.
    • Valor Brew Pub: growlers of in-house brewed
    • Atlas Brew Works: (Mostly $12) 32 oz crowlers.
  • Adams Morgan/Dupont/Shaw/Logan/U Street/Bloomingdale/Woodley Park
    • The Blaguard: $4 16 oz, $8 32 oz (Bud Light, Guinness, Bold Rock Cider, Port City Optimal Wit Bell’s Oberon, Great Lakes Porter, Red Bear Sour, PBR, Brau Pils, Hellbender Red Line Ale, Right Proper Raised by Wolves)
    • Grand Central:  16 oz drafts to go
    • Franklin Hall:  Mostly $12.50-15.50 32 oz Franklin Hall branded growlers (bring it back for $2 off). Includes rice krispy treat. About 22 brands.
    • Right Proper Shaw$8 1L BYO growler fill (select in-house beers), $17 64 oz BYO growler fill (+$5 for screw top growler)
    • Service Bar: Possibly $6-8 pints
    • Boundary Stone: mostly $7-8 pints, $12 32 oz BYO growler, $27 64 oz BYO growler (add $5 for 32 or 64 oz glass. Guinness, Optimal Wit, Raised by Wolves, Corruption, Old Pro, Manor Hill Pilsner
    • Macintyre’s (Woodley Park): Mostly $7-8 pints. Mostly $28-30 64 oz growlers. 14 beers
    • Logan Tavern: $3-$3.50 pints, $6 32 oz. BYO growler, $12 64 oz BYO growler (+$6 for glass) (DB Vienna Lager, FD Snake Dog IPA, Optimal Wit)
    • Commissary: $4 pints, $7 32 oz. BYO growler, $14(?) 64 oz BYO growler (+$6 for glass) (Allagash White, Goose IPA, Great Lakes Dortmunder, Hellbender Koslch
    • The Pig: $12 BYO 32 oz growler, $18 BYO 64 oz growler (+$6 for glass) (RP Lil Wit, Sly Fox Saison, Peak HH Pils, Lost Rhino Finale Gilde, Brau Session IPA, FD Bloodline IPA, Union Craft Rye Baby IPA 
    • Lost and Found: Mostly $10-11 32 oz growlers. Also pints
  • Columbia Heights/Park VIew/Petworth/Manor Park/Takoma/Brightwood Park
    • Lou’s City Bar: Pints to go
    • Homestead: $4 16 oz, $8 32 oz (Flying Dog The Truth, RP Raised by Wolves, Optimal Wit, RP Haxan, Red Bear Mystic Storm, Bold Rock, Oliver Oatmeal Stout, Atlas Blood Orange, 3 Stars Peppercorn Saison, Denizens Big Red Norm, DC Brau Joint Resolution)
    • Midlands: Mostly $18 32 oz growlers, mostly $28 64 oz growlers (about 8-9 options)
    • Moreland’s Tavern: $25 BYO 64 oz growlers (+$5 for glass) (Sloop Juice Bomb, Corruption, Dance of Days, Founders Porter, Allagash White, Magners Cider, Denizen’s Born Bohemian, Union Oktoberfest). Pints available to go apparently.
    • 3 Stars Brewing: $12 32 oz crowlers
    • Hellbender: $11-15 crowlers available
  • PQ/Chinatown/Downtown
  • Brookland/Ivy City/Woodridge

Liquor/Beer Stores:

Most grocery/liquor stores have discontinued growlers for the time being but it looks like these spots may be offering.

  • Sherry’s (Woodley Park): 5 options for $9-13 32/ $19-23 64
  • World Wine (Hill East)

DC to Award $6,000 Grants to DC Restaurants/Bars to Winterize Outdoor Spaces – Application Open September 21st

Today, at the Restaurant Association Metropolitan Washington (RAMW) awards (the RAMMY’s), Shawn Townsend, the Director of the Mayor’s Office of Nightlife & Culture (DCMONC) along with Deputy Mayor John Falcicchio, announced the “Streatery Winter Ready Grant Program.”

Under the $4 million program, DCMONC will issue $6,000 grants to “help businesses defray outdoor dining winterization costs.” These one-time grants will be provided to establishments that are offering outdoor dining in the District for future costs only for outdoor dining winterization purposes and to maintain outdoor dining operations to include tents, heaters, propane, lighting, furniture, advertising/marketing of business, and outdoor dining operational costs. The FAQ provides helpful information.

Only independent and locally-owned businesses can apply. “Non-local franchises” are ineligible (such as IHOP, Denny’s, or McDonald’s). There are also requirements for EITHER 1) 50% ownership by DC residents 2) 50% gross receipts originated in DC OR 3) 50% employees are DC residents, but prong #2 should mean 99.9% of restaurants can qualify. I can only speculate about why non-local spots (who admittedly contribute some tax revenue and employee DC residents) were not included but here are some ideas 1) limited amount of funds and want to focus on businesses who don’t potentially have a parent company who could provide support and 2) the whole point for supporting local businesses is so DC isn’t exclusively chain restaurants or out-of-town owners in a few years. Townsend supported this explanation saying, “Although we appreciate the non-locals, the focus of this grant-with the limited resources we have, was to support the locally-owned estabs.”

Before applying, the establishment will need to either make sure it has an active patio (summer garden or sidewalk cafe permit/endorsement) or approved streatery application. If the business is operating via a BID/Main Street parklet/application, then it will need to get a copy of the temporary permit from the BID/Main Street and submit with applicaiton.

The application goes live, tomorrow, Monday, September 21st. Significantly, businesses who seek the funds have to provide a budget how the funds will be utilized, if awarded, and will be required to show the funds are spent no later than November 30th, including receipts and paid invoices (quotes are not enough).

Funds disbursement will begin on October 1st on a rolling basis. If all awardees receive $6,000, there will be 666/667 awards made.

Note, as of May there were approximately 800 open establishments that serve alcohol permitted to serve booze outdoors in DC (plus other non-alcohol serving spots like a Cava). Out of the roughly 600 approved “streateries,” only about 1/3 (around 200) don’t already have approved outdoor space. I don’t expect that many non-alcohol serving spots (most of which already just cater to takeout) to apply, so let’s say there are potentially 900 spots who are eligible to apply. I would be surprised if there isn’t enough money for all applicants

My reaction is that this more than I expected. I had argued last week that DC needs to do something, and I was hoping just for bulk purchase pricing on heaters and reduced fire permit fees. The grant program doesn’t include reduced or waived fees, but I’ve been told that news of that should be coming soon. Although for many (most?) spots, this won’t pay for full winterization (heaters that restaurants use can cost $1500/each, portable heaters you may use for your own patio are a few hundred), $6000 is meaningful and will allow spots to get some revenue this winter for on-premises dining/drinking and may cause some spots to decide not to close for the winter (or permanently).

But still, every single restaurant owner would tell you: just like if their spot has filled their outdoor/streatery tables doesn’t mean they are not losing a ton of $$, same goes if they receive this grant from DC. For most indoor revenue >>>>>outdoor revenue (not to mention loss of holiday party revenue, which is massive in many neighborhoods in DC) and even a heated outdoor space isn’t going to replace that money. So keep hoping Federal government/Congress will provide financial support (there’s only limited, targeted funds from DC like this otherwise), and keep supporting the spots you want to make it to the other side.

Also, if your favorite restaurant isn’t on social media and/or has language barriers or other issues, try to alert them to existence of this program. 

 

Best Chinese Food in DC

ChiKo on Barracks Row made this list, though it’s a different style than most on the list

Next in the series of Barred in DC food guides is where to find the best Chinese food (or Chinese American food in many instances) in DC.

Again, most of these guides are generated  from an open Twitter threads-they are based on what my Twitter followers believe is the best in the District of Columbia proper rather than my personal experience, as I’ve not had all them. “Alcohol” available doesn’t mean alcohol is necessarily available for pickup/delivery, but generally shows whether it’s more sit-down or not.

Last Updated: Oct 11, 2020

Mentioned Most

  • Panda Gourmet (Ivy City):
    • No in-house delivery but order direct via DoorDash partnership
    • 3rd-Party: UberEats
    • No alcohol anymore.
  • Great Wall (14th/Logan):
    • No in-house Delivery.
    • 3rd Party: DoorDash (slightly pricier)
    • Alcohol available
  • Dumplings & Beyond (Glover Park)
    • In-house Delivery appears available-$25 min. Free. 2 miles
    • 3rd Party (possibly via in-house drivers): Grubhub, DoorDash
    • 10 types of dumplings and other traditional Chinese food

Mentioned 2nd Most

  • City Lights of China (Dupont)
    • Call 202-265-6688 (online ordering down)
    • In-House Delivery – $15 min to Dupont Circle area. Free.
    • 3rd Party (possibly via in-house drivers): DoorDash, Grubhub, UberEats, Postmates
    • Alcohol available.
  • 14th Street Café Asian Bistro (14th/Logan)
    • Also available for pickup via BeyondMenu
    • No In-House delivery
    • 3rd Party: Grubhub
    • Alcohol available

Mentioned 3rd Most

  • China Boy (Chinatown)
    • Ritual or call 202-371-1661
    • No Delivery. Barely any seats. Open only 9a-4:30p
    • Tight menu, known for rice noodles
  • New Big Wong (Chinatown)
    • Currently not open for lunch.
    • Call 202-628-0491
    • No in-house delivery.
    • 3rd party: Grubhub, DoorDash
    • Favorite of late night chefs Alcohol available

Mentioned 4th Most

  • China Town Carryout (Mt Pleasant)
    • Call 202-332-8955
    • No In-House Delivery. Barely any seats
    • 3rd Party: Postmates
  • ChiKo (Dupont/Barracks Row)
    • Toast for pickup
    • 3rd Party: Caviar (recommended), DoorDash
    • Korean/Chinese. Higher end. Alcohol available.
  • Wok and Roll (Chinatown)
    • Call 202-347-4656 or order online (takes you to Grubhub
    • In-House Delivery (via Grubhub). $15 min. $1. 2 miles.
    • 3rd Part (possibly via in-house drivers): Grubhub, UberEats, DoorDash
    • Also sushi, karaoke. Alcohol available. Same building as the Mary Surratt Boarding House where John Wilkes Booth and other conspirators met to assassinate Lincoln.

Mentioned 5th Most

  • Chen’s Organic Chinese (Cleveland Park)
    • In-House Delivery. Online or BeyondMenu. $15 min. Free delivery. 2 miles
    • 3rd Party (possibly via in-house drivers): DoorDash, Caviar, UberEats, Postmates,
  • Young Chow (Capitol Hill)
    • In-House Delivery. Online or BeyondMenu. $13 min. $0.50. 2 miles
    • 3rd Party (possibly via in-house drivers): Grubhub, Post
    • Sushi available. Alcohol available.
  • Da Hong Pao (14th/Logan Circle)
    • Call 202-846-7229 (no Online ordering)
    • No-In House Delivery
    • 3rd Party: Postmates (but unclear if partner)
    • Cantonese/Dim sum. Alcohol available
  • Chinatown Express (Chinatown)
    • Call 202-638-0424
    • In-House delivery at night
    • 3rd Party: DoorDash, Postmates
    • Known for noodles, dumplings, steamed pork buns

Mentioned 6th Most

  • Szechuan House (Barracks Row)
    • In-House delivery. Online or BeyondMenu. $15 min. $1.10. 2.5 miles
    • 3rd Party (possibly via in-house drivers): Grubhub
    • Alcohol available
  • Hong Kong Carryout (Hill East)
    • Basically carryout only. Call 202-546-5528
    • 3rd Party Delivery: not recommended but DoorDash, Postmates will order and pickup
  • New Dynasty (Dupont)
    • In-house Delivery. Online or BeyondMenu. $15 min. Free within 1 mile.
    • 3rd Party Delivery (possibly via in-house drivers): Grubhub, Uber Eats
  • Jackey Café (Chinatown)
    • In-house delivery. Online/BeyondMenu. $15 min. $3.95. 2 miles
    • 3rd party delivery (possibly via in-house drivers): Grubhub, DoorDash, UberEats
    • Alcohol available
  • Eddies’ Café (Woodley Park)
    • In-House Delivery. Online/BeyondMenu. $12 min. $1. 3 miles.
    • 3rd party delivery (possibly via in-house drivers): Grubhub,
    • Normally Outdoor seating only
  • Shanghai Lounge (Georgetown/Burleith)
    • No in-house delivery (at least right not now). Online/BeyondMenu for pickup
    • 3rd Party: Grubhub, DoorDash UberEats (slightly pricier)
    • More pan-Asian, soup dumplings, ramen. Alcohol availaBle
  • Twin Dragon (Brightwood Park/Petworth)
    • No in-house delivery. Call 202-545-0033 for Pickup
    • 3rd Party: Grubhub UberEats
  • Tsim Yung (Brookland)
    • In-House Delivery: Online/BeyondMenu. $12 min. $1. 2 miles.
    • 3rd party: Grubhub, UberEats
  • Reren Lamen & Bar (Chinatown)
    • Does not appear to have in-house delivery. Online ordering may be available.
    • 3rd Party: DoorDash, UberEats
    • Lamen (like ramen), soup dumplings. Alcohol available

Sorted By Neighborhood (including other spots mentioned)

  • Penn Quarter/Chinatown
    • China Boy
    • New Big Wong
    • Wok and Roll
    • Chinatown Express
    • Jackey Cafe
    • Reren Lamen & Bar
    • Joy Luck House
    • Full Kee
  • Georgetown/Glover Park/Palisades
    • Dumplings & Beyond
    • Shanghai Lounge
    • Harmony Café
    • Kitchen No. 1
    • Chen’s Gourmet
    • Little China Cafe
  • Capitol Hill
    • ChiKo
    • Young Chow
    • Szechuan House
    • Hong Kong Carryout
    • Hunan Dynasty
    • Mandarin
  • Park View/Petworth/Brightwood Park/16th St Heights
    • Twin Dragon
    • Fahrenheit
    • Fortune Express
    • Dannie’s Carry Out
    • Simon’s Wok
    • Howard China
  • H Street/Kingman Park
    • Majors Carryout
    • Toki Underground
    • Copycat
    • Wings & More Wings
  • 14th/U/Logan
    • Great Wall
    • 14th Street Cafe Asian Bistro
    • Da Hong Pao
    • Yum on 14
  • Friendship Heights/Tenleytown/Cleveland Park/Woodley Park
    • Chen’s Organic Chinese
    • Eddie’s Cafe
    • Spring Garden
    • Spices
  • Adams Morgan/Mt Pleasant/Columbia Heights
    • China Town Carryout
    • Peking Garden 
    • Shanghai Tokyo Cafe
    • Queen’s English
  • Dupont
    • City Lights of China
    • ChiKo
    • New Dynasty
    • Astoria
  • Bloomingdale/Eckington
    • Big China
    • Yeung Fong
    • Jerry’s Carryout
  • Trinidad/Ivy City
    • Panda Gourmet
    • Panda Chinese
  • Shaw
    • Tiger Fork
    • Dragon Express
  • Brookland
    • Tsim Yung
    • Sammy’s Carryout
  • Navy Yard/Southwest/Anacostia
    • Grand China
    • Good Hope Carryout

Guest Post – Trying to Clear Up Confusion Surrounding Tips and Service Charges

A couple lawyers/Barred in DC followers at Veritas Law Firm wrote this guest post

Guest posters Scott Rome and Dan Koffman are attorneys with The Veritas Law Firm, a general practice DC business law firm with a specialty in hospitality law. Scott is the head of the litigation team at Veritas, has handled numerous employer-employee claims, and has partnered with Andrew J. Kline for over a decade as owners of Veritas. Dan advises hospitality clients on corporate transactional/compliance issues, particularly commercial leasing issues.

[First, let’s get the disclaimers out of the way.  This post is for informational purposes only and not in any way meant to provide legal advice.  If you have specific legal concerns, be sure to contact a lawyer. Also, we apologize in advance for this post being less entertaining than you have come to expect from this blog.  Law firm lawyers can be extremely boring, but if you need one, we believe we are of the less boring variety.]

By Scott Rome & Dan Koffman

We were asked to contribute to this blog, due to the never-ending confusion surrounding tips, service charges, how restaurants can treat tips, and where your money goes when you leave a tip. We will try to provide some information, so that you know where your money might be going, but we are accustomed to tedious legal writing, so maybe Barred can drop a twitter poll about Nashville hot chicken or something in the middle of our post.

Here are some common questions we have seen and the law’s take on each.

Service charges seem to be popping up everywhere during Covid. What is the difference between a service charge, an automatic gratuity, auto-grat, and a standard tip?  How are they treated differently by restaurants and what should I know about these charges?

What everyone thinks of as a standard tip or gratuity is treated differently from all other money that comes into a restaurant or bar, because it is discretionary, and considered as a gift from the customer to the employees.

  • If the customer determines the amount, it’s a tip.
  • If the amount is pre-set on the bill or elsewhere, it’s not a tip, and is revenue of the restaurant.

This simple test determines who can and cannot receive the money, but confusion still exists.  Some people believe that if a line item on your check is called a GRATUITY then even if the percentage is set by the business, it has to go, at least in part, to the servers.  This is not true.  A bar could call this line the “20% Help My People Out Gratuity Fund” and the bar would still be legal obligated to treat it as a service charge, tax it, and be entitled to keep all of it. This does not mean that the owners will often keep it, and sometimes a fund like this is used to make sure that the kitchen staff and others can share in what used to be only for tipped employees.

In DC, there’s no distinction between so-called automatic/mandatory gratuities and service charges.  A mandatory gratuity is not discretionary and thus is treated as a service charge.  The IRS treats them the same as well, and restaurants must pay sales taxes on these amounts just like any other income.  We have had clients suffer an unpleasant OTR audit because they did not pay sales taxes on service charges for large parties. (Some states, like NY, may not tax mandatory gratuities if certain conditions are met, but this is not BarredinNYC, so we will spare you that information).

Tips, on the other hand, are not the property of the business, cannot be kept by the business or managers, and are not considered wages paid by the employer (this affects things like the withholding and payment of Social Security and Medicare tax).

A restaurant/bar has to pay sales tax on service charges and automatic gratuities, but can they charge sales tax to the customer on a service charge / automatic gratuity? 

Yes, while a company owes no sales tax on tips, service charges/automatic gratuity are considered the property of the employer, sales tax is required to be paid on such amounts, and thus these charges are often included above the tax calculation line on a bill. People can argue for days about whether to tip pre-tax or post-tax, but with a service charge the restaurant has the right to tax you on top of the charge.

What do you mean that the service charge is the property of the employer?  Doesn’t it have to go to the employees?

Nope, there is no requirement that these service charges or Covid-fees go directly or indirectly to any staff.  In practice, these are often passed along, and many establishments are requiring service charges right now to make up for employees receiving less in tips, but this remains business income like any other non-tip income.  This gives restaurants a lot of flexibility to use the money towards the back of the house and others who don’t get to share in standard tips, but can also be used by the establishment for any other purpose (rent, legal fees, bank loan, legal fees, owner draw, legal fees, anything, legal fees).  Restaurants should not use misleading language though, we have seen the AG’s office sniff around when fees are labeled as though they are going to the employees, but kept by the house.

If a business does pay out a portion of the service charge to its employees, how are those payments taxed?

Any portion of the service charge paid out to employees would be treated as wages, not tips.  This means the employer must withhold and pay Social Security and Medicare tax on these amounts, may not claim a credit against its tax obligations for these amounts (as it can for tips).

Going back to tips, in the typical dine-in situation where I’m served by a server or bartender, does my tip always go to that server/bartender?

Not necessarily, but it needs to go to “tipped “employees.  The business can choose to pool/share tips, with certain restrictions as to how such tips can be pooled: (1) An establishment can mandate the use of a tip pool for all who are allowed to share one by law, provided that all employees are notified of any required contribution amount; (2) Ownership and management cannot share in any tip pool; and (3) Tips can only be shared by employees considered to be tipped employees, unless the employer does not take the tip credit (an employer does not take the tip credit if it pays everyone including servers/bartenders/etc. at least the (non-tipped) minimum wage).  In our experience, management dipping into the tip pool has led to many lawsuits, and likely many fistfights.

Why can’t everyone, including cooks, just be deemed a tipped employee?

Well, in a bit of circular reasoning (which is very popular in the law), a tipped employee is defined as an employee who customarily and regularly receives tips AND receives more than $30/month in tips.  Those who customarily receive tips are often defined as those who have significant customer interaction, including servers, bartenders and bussers.  This gets trickier when employees are serving dual roles, but in order to get more nuanced you should probably contact a lawyer for a consultation (contact us, it’s free).  We have had cases where employees were asked to perform dual roles but paid the tipped minimum for all time worked, and this gets you into legal questions like the 80/20 rule, where employees can only be paid the tipped minimum if they spend 80% of their time doing the job of a tipped employee.  Either way, the back of the house is left out of standard tip formulations, and this is another reason some places are exploring the service charge model.

Can employers deduct anything from a tip?

Yes, but not much. If a tip is paid by credit card, an employer can deduct a percentage of the tip to use to pay the credit card charge, provided that (i) the employer previously provided notice to the employee of what percentage would be taken out, and (ii) per the Department of Labor, the charge deducted can be no larger than the one taken by the credit card company.  In practice, establishments should note this deduction in the paperwork signed by new employees or in the handbook.

I’ve seen a lot of skeleton staffing at establishments due to COVID.  What if the only three people working are owners/managers of the establishment?  Can they share in the tips since there are no non-owner employees?

These types of hypotheticals are where things start to get more confusing, but we think the better answer is – yes.  The restrictions on owners/managers sharing in tip pools stem from federal regulations.  Such regulations are most often enforced through employee lawsuits against the employer for improperly paid wages/tips.  However, if COVID has led to a business having no employees who can share in a tip pool, then there is no employee present whose rights have been violated by any tip pooling with ownership.  So if no non-owner/managers are present, then such laws wouldn’t be applicable/enforceable and such tips could be shared among the owners/managers working by themselves.

OK, I know who can receive the tip left if I do dine-in, but what about takeout tips?  Who receives those?  I’m not even sure if tipped workers are even present at some of these takeout-only restaurants. 

This is where things get even more tricky.  For an establishment using the tip credit, the rule is clearly that only tipped employees can share in tips, but it gets harder to follow with takeout.  If, for example, there is only one server for outdoor diners and 80% of sales are carryout – is the lone server supposed to get all of the takeout tips?  Does the rest of the staff alternate bringing the bags to carry-out customers to ensure they all qualify as those interacting?  There is no clear guidance from the IRS or DC, and creative solutions may be necessary to make sure many can share equitably in tips.

The easier scenario comes about when there are either no tipped workers or there is no one receiving the tip credit – then it’s clear that the tips can be shared among all (non-owner/manager) employees.  This would be the same as tips left for a barista. A coffee shop usually has no one living off the tipped minimum wage + tips, and there is no back of the house, so the tip splitting is a lot easier.

One last thing to keep in mind is that this area of the law will likely continue to evolve.  Looking back over the past decade, both the IRS and the Department of Labor have made significant regulatory changes as to how they treat tips and service charges, so further change isn’t just possible, it’s probably likely.  Federal regulations could greatly differ in the next few years depending on the results of November’s election. This was written in 2020, if you’re somehow reading this post in 2032 (congrats on having paid your domain name fees for 12 additional years, Barred!), don’t assume this information is up-to-date.

What Can DC Do To Prevent Even More Bars and Restaurants From Closing?

Statement from Ian and Eric Hilton (The Hilton Brothers)

In news that stunned many in DC (though should not be shocking if you’ve been following what’s been going or saw some tweets), Eric and Ian Hilton announced (via Laura Hayes) yesterday that U Street area spots American Ice Co., Brixton, Echo Park, El Rey, and Gibson would only remain open until October 31st, and, along with Marvin and Players Club which never reopened after closing mid-March, would close “for the foreseeable future” after that. Whether they come back in the spring will likely depend on a number of factors including any breaks landlord gives (I imagine one reason closing is because they feel they are in better negotiating strength being completely closed vs limping along), customer demand in next 6 weeks, and of course how the pandemic/treatment is going at the time.

Many on social media lamented the potential loss of these spots; others also pointed blame at Republicans in Congress vindictively shortchanging DC in the CARES Act $750 million by treating it as a territory that doesn’t pay Federal income taxes instead as state like it almost always does in funding issues. Many correctly realize that DC’s best shot at money that could help struggling hospitality and other businesses (and their underemployed and unemployed staff) is another round of funding appropriated by Congress.

But what if, which is looking increasingly likely, no more substantial federal relief is coming?  Again, as I did back in May, I urge DC to act creatively, decisively, and publicly. Mayor Bowser, her administration, and the Council of DC must think of creative solutions, make decisions quickly, and announce them to the public so businesses and the public can see that their government is doing something, anything to prevent DC from becoming devoid of the places that make it an energetic place to live, as well as provide some sort of hope to businesses to weather this terrible times.

As a starting point, here are some of my ideas that I hope the DC Government can explore.

1. Figure Out if There is Any Way to Find More Funds to Support Struggling Bars and Restaurants, and Explain to Public If/Why There Isn’t.

Many say DC needs to provide more funding to these struggling bars and restaurants to survive. However, the budget for Fiscal Year 2021 (starting October 1st) has already been sent to Congress and it will become law. DC also faces reduced tax revenue (in part due to struggling bars and restaurants). Unlike the Federal government, DC has no real legal ability to deficit spend (i.e., spend money it doesn’t have) and faces a real risk of being taken over by a Federal control board (like it did in the 90s) if it does.

But the Mayor, her administration, and council members (and the local media to be honest) have completely failed to explain to the public either 1) why there is no additional funding possible or 2) it would be impossible (if true) to now change the budget for the upcoming fiscal year to provide additional relief.

In the meantime, DC should continue to use its regulatory flexibility to not collect and charge fees (like late fees) that aren’t connected to any increased costs or wouldn’t have been incurred without the pandemic

2. Continue to Create Additional Outdoor Space for Bars and Restaurants.

People will continue to feel much more comfortable eating and drinking outdoors, even when the temperature gets cooler. Since I first proposed this back in May, there have been successes including a couple fully closed blocks in Dupont, large streateries in Georgetown, 14th Street, Adams Morgan, and Dupont (among others), and some huge failures (the 18th Street full closure lasting one weekend, an utter lack of streateries on H Street (so far just one)). Based on what I’ve heard, DC relied too heavily on some BID and Main Street organizations to wrangle businesses which contributed to delays.

DOOT has recently become more proactive in visiting businesses, but the Mayor’s office and DDOT need to continue be more aggressive and quickly open up more public space to restaurants so they can capture revenue in the next couple months before the weather gets too cold in DC to drink/eat outside (without heaters, see below though). This should include trying the 18th Street closure again and closing other streets around the city to attract diners (in a socially distant manner.

3. Facilitate Heating of Outdoor Spaces.

The average high in DC goes under 60 degrees November 12th; under 50 degrees December 7th. Although I fully expect some DC residents to bundle up eat outside in the 40s and 50s (don’t forget these are just high temperatures, when drinking/dining even in early evening when sun goes down the temperatures will be even lower) like they do in Europe, the numbers of cusotmers will surely go down drastically. Heaters (typically propane) will be high in demand.

DC (or BIDs or Main Streets) can facilitate this in a number of ways. Perhaps they can procure heaters or at least allow bulk discounts ti be available to restaurants and bars. Most importantly, DC needs to streamline DC Fire Department permits for outdoor heaters (for tents or otherwise), including regulating only what is strictly necessary for safety and waiving fees like public space fees were waived this summer. The Mayor’s office should immediately begin developing a strategy so that no one is waiting for approval (or in jeopardy of being fined for noncompliance) to get heaters.

4. Mayor Bowser Should Designate A High-Level Official In Charge of Pandemic Recovery.

Dr. Nesbitt, Director of DC Health, focuses on the health aspect of the pandemic. But other than Mayor Bowser herself, there is an explicitly publicly designated one single person who is clearly responsible for facilitating all DC government can do to help small business. It may be best for one official to be designated with helping unemployed/struggling individuals (including facilitating fixes to the unemployment process), while another would be responsible for assisting small business struggles (including hospitality) in DC. Such a person (you could call them a “czar”) would have authority to wrangle all of the different departments as well as quickly gauge feedback from small businesses and bars.

Newly confirmed Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development John Falcicchio appears to be filling this role, and has been pretty responsive to concerns, but the public and businesses don’t generally understand the Mayor’s Cabinet and their roles so it would best to create a new temporary title/role so this is clear to all.

5. Announce What Phase 3 Would Look Like.

I don’t think moving to Phase 3 is the panacea that many feel it is. Recall that May’s ReOpenDC plan said that Phase 3 should include  some unspecified additional indoor capacity for restaurants (above 50%) on a case by case basis “consistent with physical distancing requirements and allow bars and nightclubs to open at an extremely limited capacity (10 people per 1000 square feet). Given that bars ended up opening in Phase 1 (though having to operate as restaurants) anyways, and restaurant capacity is already limited under 50% due to physical distancing requirements, the loosened restrictions would be possibly limited to 1) allowing bar seating/standing (except there have even been more concerns about bars since May) 2) no or increased group size limitation and 3) no longer requiring purchase of prepared food per table (though all indications is that this is not adhered to).

Then again, I don’t expect more people to feel comfortable dining/drinking inside than already is the case just because it becomes Phase 3, as the Mayor has noted. 

But this is based on the ReOpenDC plan which is nearly 5 months old. DC should tell businesses what they believe a Phase 3 would look like after all this experience, to manage expectations. 

It may be that without additional Federal government help, widespread closures will be inevitable, but that does not mean DC government shouldn’t stop trying to think outside the box and proactively. The future vibrancy of DC’s great neighborhoods depends on it.

Granville Moore’s To Close

Granville Moore’s was one of the last spots Mrs. Barred and I went to before the pandemic. This is from March 4, 2020.

 

Granville Moore’s, the great Belgian food/beer H Street spot, will permanently close, co-owner Ryan Gordon confirmed to me today. He stated via Twitter:

We think we will have to shut down … for good by the end of this month…We will keep Granville Moore’s Pasta Place open for as long as we can afford it, but we imagine that will only be for the next few weeks.

The spot originally closed to dine-in with the pandemic-related closures in mid-March. Because its signature moules and frites do not travel well, it reopened in a new format for  take out May 26th as Granville Moore’s Pasta Place. Business was soft when Phases 1 and 2 in DC begun, and by mid-July it had closed again until reopening in early September.  But the sales from takeout/delivery (as well as the “ghost kitchen” Freshly Tossed DC also available on the apps) have not been sufficient to cover basic expenses and it’s costing more money just to be open as the pandemic has hit them very hard. The owners also own the nearby The Queen Vic, which recently opened a patio a few doors down on the Nomad Hookah patio, and will focus on keeping it viable during these impossible times for the hospitality industry in DC.

A source had alerted to me originally on Friday that a real estate agent had posted a listing noting the 1865-square foot, 79 max occupancy space was for rent (see listing below) for $6,217/month (Triple net). Gordon confirmed that they were only 2 years into their lease so they are looking for someone to take over the lease for the great space/location. The listing, appropriately for these times, notes that given its tight size, it would be an “Excellent location for a down-sizing restaurant refocusing on the delivery and app-based food businesses.”


Dr. Granville Moore’s Brickyard opened in August 2007 from the late Joe Englert and managing partner Chris Surrusco. It was one of the first sit-down restaurants of the so-called “Atlas District.” After the opening chef quit after two weeks, Teddy Folkman took over the kitchen, later becoming an owner and dueling victoriously over celebrity Chef Bobby Flay. The folks behind Queen Vic bought it in October 2017, connected with Folkman’s move to South Carolina, where as of this spring he was the “culinary helm of the Timbers Kiawah Ocean Club & Residences, serving as the exclusive food & beverage manager”

The full statement below leaves some sort of possible hope if sales pick up. The Pasta Place is open Tue-Sun 6-9p for pickup/delivery online or via most of the main apps.

Sadly, it’s true.  We think we will have to shut down Granville Moore’s for good by the end of this month.

This pandemic hit us really hard.  People loved Granvillle’s for the moules frites, so not being able to offer them as a take-out option has been catastrophic for us.

We had to change the concept a few months ago in the hopes that the sales from the temporary concept could tide us over to help pay rent, insurance and utilities until we could re-open as Granville Moore’s with the original Belgian menu.   

However, the sales from the new concepts have not been high enough to cover even basic expenses and every day we are losing more money and getting more into debt.

If we had more time and resources, I think we could have made it work, but between trying to keep The Vic open, as well as working side jobs to be able to pay our personal bills, we simply don’t have anything left to give to Granville’s.

We are only two years into our lease, so hopefully between the great location, the ABRA license and the equipment, someone else can take over the lease and make a success of it.

We will keep Granville Moore’s Pasta Place open for as long as we can afford it, but we imagine that will only be for the next few weeks.

Guest Post – Tony T Remembers Capitol Lounge

   

[This is a guest post from Tony Tomelden. You may know him by Tony T, who owns (solo or w/ others) The Pug, Union Trust, and Brookland’s Finest. Before these joints opened, he managed Capitol Hill’s Capitol Lounge for years, which announced yesterday on social media (Twitter (post went viral), Facebook, and Instagram) that it was closing after Sunday, September 20th, saddening former and current customers and staff all over DC and beyond. The current owner Jimmy Silk explained to Jessica Sidman of Washingtonian that its revenues of about 10% of average normal revenues weren’t sustainable but he was keeping the decor/memorabilia for future possible reopening at a different location in the future.]

By Tony T

I dated the server in this pic above while I was at the Lounge. More on that later.

The Lounge opened mid April 1996 I think (someone will look it up and give the correct date; Editor’s Note: appears to be May 15, 1996). Like that first U2 show in the states, everybody was there. Not me. I wasn’t even there the first fucking night. I was still at 15 Min Club and Planet Fred.  I was gonna be a shift manager at the Lounge. As often happens, there were pretty quick shake ups and Little Joe and I ended up managers. Big Joe Englert was hoping for a cocktail/martini friendly bar with a cigar lounge in the basement.  Little Joe and I were probably not the best choices in that regard. Unlike his other spots, Big Joe was pretty hands on at the Lounge. Pretty quickly though he ceded control of the jukebox to me. (pre-internet jukebox you heathens).

It was pretty touch and go, summer is never busy and on the Hill, campaign years are tough. Easter weekend that first year we did $0.25 drafts Good Friday and maybe 20 people came through (Way less than opening night).  Joe and I worked for tips alone. At one point Austin Grill expressed an interest in taking over, and Big Joe was stoked, but it fell through and we kept at it.

The $2 Cap Amber was Dominion. We offered Guinness, Newcastle, Sierra, and the usual fare for the mid 90s. We finally started getting crowds. I worked Sunday, Monday, Thursday and Friday. Happy Hour on Fridays was really getting to be a thing. For whatever reason, one of our beer deliveries was every Friday. They were always late. After the 3rd or 4th happy hour delivery in a row, I told the driver if he came during happy hour again, I would drop Miller Lite. “No you won’t.” So now you know that bit.

The MLS started in 96 as well. Big Joe hired Old Town Trolley to run back and forth between the lounge and RFK. We sold tickets to section 232 at the bar. The Capitol Lounge Choir. Along with Summers and Lucky Bar, we were it for soccer. The DC Belfast supporters club spent a season there arguing with Lavo. Joe worked on the odd hour waivers for the World Cups.

Big Joe was from some dusty ass suburb of dusty ass Pittsburgh. As soon as it was available, he had the NFL package going. I had to listen to polka every time the Stillers scored. For two awful years before Politiki, we were the Steelers bar. Bunch of the Steelers regulars brought Jerome Bettis in one night for drinks. Course I had no idea who he was.  After the fire, DirecTV gave us no break on fees, so yeah, they can go fuck.

The MPD first district substation is around the corner. A lot of LEO [ed. note: law enforcement officers] regulars. The IMF World bank demonstrations/disturbances from so long ago were organised by some folks working in an office above the Chinese restaurant a few doors down.  On a walk through one night all of the anarchists were shooting pool with the MPD bomb squad. No one ever knew. No Politics. Tough in DC, but we did alright. Those last couple Sundays in an NFL season, after a campaign cycle, there were more often than not opposing campaigns drinking together.

Yep, I DJed Saturday nights. It was good fun.

I met a huge crowd of people at the Lounge who have meant an awful lot to me over the years. When my kids started school, there were three types of parents, 1. “hey, why do i recognize you?” 2.  “TonyT!!! What’s up?!” and inevitably, 3. the ones who looked away. Mostly, I had chucked them out one night or another

Yes, Big Joe made me fire the server I started dating. Stephanie and I have been married 17 years.

Never saw lobbyists pick up big tabs, even after the rules changed. Never got prominent politicians drunk. I always made kamikazes, cosmos and appletinis when asked. Was never treated like shit by an elected official. We did not consume a case of Jamesons my final shift.

I hated that place and I will miss it terribly. For a bit, it was the best bar on the planet, and DC will be worse off after all this shit is over and all the little places are fucking gone.