Category Archives: Barred in DC Overview

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.

Where to Get In-House Restaurant Delivery in DC

Bluejacket delivers.

A lot of ink/pixels have been spilled on the drawbacks of third-party delivery apps (Caviar/DoorDash, Grubhub, UberEats, and Postmates specifically), including

  • high commissions (temporarily capped at 15% in DC during pandemic)
  • predatory behavior (like setting up phone numbers/websites deceiving customers that they’re ordering directly from restaurant, or including restaurants w/o consent)
  • customer service issues (misplaced anger/blame towards restaurants)

Still, many restaurants consider them a necessary evil and believe there’s a positive to be on the apps to allow people who don’t live nearby to easily find and order delivery. That being said, I’ve received many questions about spots in DC who do their own in-house delivery as people want to support those establishments who’ve made the difficult decision to do so.

So here’s a (incomplete) list of those who appear to be doing in-house delivery

To more easily support in-house delivery, download Chownow, Toast (though not all who use Toast are on the app), DC To Go-Go, and Beyond Menu apps.

Note that most of these will deliver outside their neighborhoods but their range is usually 1-3 miles max (if its 2 miles or shorter I’ve noted it if information is available). In most situations, spots (particularly those that use BeyondMenu or are low-key pizza spots) will accept phone orders and may prefer it. For several of those on the list (particularly those who use Chownow or BeyondMenu), I made an educated guess that the spots are doing in-house delivery. If you know that is not the case, or want to add more, please respond in comments, email, or @ or DM @barredindc on Twitter.

Last Updated: Sept 4, 2020


Right Proper, Atlas, Hellbender, Bluejacket, 3 Stars, DC Brau, Red Bear, AnxoCapitol Cider House, Republic Restoratives; Don Ciccio & Figli (no food purchase for delivery required for all except Capitol Cider House).

Multiple Locations

  • Manny & Olga’s Pizza (Petworth/Park View, Georgetown, 14th/U, H Street, Tenleytown,  Woodridge) Online / BeyondMenu / DCToGoGo. $3.50 fee. $10-15 min
  • Pizza Boli’s (Adams Morgan, Hillcrest, Congress Heights, Brookland, Barracks Row, : Online/BeyondMenu. $10 min. $2 fee.
  • Angelico La Pizzeria: (Tenleytown, Shepherd Park, Glover Park, Mt. Pleasant): $10-11 min. $3 fee
  • &pizza (all over): Online/App. $3 fee.
  • New York Pizza (Cap Hill, Eckington): Online/BeyondMenu. $15 min. $3 fee.
  • Bethesda Bagels (Navy Yard, Dupont): Online. Next day, order by 8p previous day. $25 min, $5 delivery fee
  • Firehook Bakery: (Dupont, Cap Hill, Judiciary Square, Farragut Square) $35 min. morning or early afternoon delivery windows. Free Delivery.
  • Neighborhood Provisions (Neighborhood Restaurant Group spots like Churchkey, Red Apron): $35 min. $7 fee.

H Street/NoMa

  • Fresca: Online. Free.
  • The Haymaker: Online/Chownow or call 202 399 0020, $20 min 1 mile radius. Free delivery
  • Copycat: Online, $28 min, $5 delivery fee
  • Cusbah: Online/Chownow. $15 min. $2 delivery fee
  • Masseria a Casa: Tock. $85 (tax/delivery inclusive) 3 course meal. Delivery window 4-7p daily within Beltway. Reheat.
  • Imm Thai on H: Online/Toast. $15 min. $3 delivery fee. 15% off using IMMLOVER as code
  • Sicilian Pizza: Online/Beyond Menu/Slice: $12 min. $3 fee.

Capitol Hill/Eastern Market/Barracks Row/Navy Yard/Southwest Waterfront

  • Trattoria Alberto: Call 202-544-2007. Delivery to Capitol Hill and Navy Yard neighbors
  • Nooshi: Online/Chownow. $20 min. Free delivery.
  • Trusty’s: Not advertised but may do bike delivery if you call to Hill East neighbors.
  • La Plaza: Online/BeyondMenu. $4 fee w/in 1 mile, $5 w/in 2 miles, $10 w/in 3 miles. $20 min
  • We the Pizza: Online. $9.99 min. $2 fee
  • Aatish on the Hill: Online/BeyondMenu. $4 fee. $15 min
  • Sushi Hachi: Online/Chownow. $7.55 min. $5 fee
  • Shilling Canning Company: Online/Toast. Free delivery to most if not all of 20003 zip code (Navy Yard and southern part of the Hill)
  • Station 4: Online/Toast. $50 min. Free delivery.
  • Young Chow: Online/Beyond Menu. $13 min. $0.50 fee.
  • Mandarin Carryout: Online/Beyond Menu. $12 min. $2 fee. 1.5 miles.
  • Szechuan House: Online/Beyond Menu. $15 min. $1.10 fee.
  • Sanphan Thai: Online/Beyond Menu. $25 min. Free within 1.2 miles
  • Pizza Iole: Online/Beyond Menu/Slice. $15 min. $2.50 fee.

PQ/Chinatown/Downtown/Mt Vernon Square


  • Bua Thai: Online/Chownow: $18 min. Free delivery. 1 mile radius
  • Agora: Call 202-332-6767. Possibly via DoorDash
  • Ankara: 202-293-6301 202-286-9808 (text/WhatsApp) or $90 min, within 5 miles. 1 hour advance. Reheat
  • Astoria: Online. Min delivery $28, $5 fee.
  • Nooshi: Online/Chownow. $20 min. Free delivery.
  • Thaiphoon: Online/Chownow, $16 min, Free Delivery.
  • Banana Leaves: Online/Toast. $20 min. $1 fee.
  • Luna Grill & Diner: Online/Beyond Menu. $20 min. $2 fee.
  • Recessions: Online/Beyond Menu. $30 min. Free delivery within 3 miles.
  • Asia 54: Online/Beyond Menu. $15 min, $2 delivery fee.
  • India Gate: : Online/Beyond Menu/ $22 min. Free Delivery w/in 1 mile
  • Bangkok Thai: Online/Beyond Menu. $25 min. $2 fee.
  • New Dynasty: Online/Beyond Menu. $15 min. Free w/in 1 miles.
  • Flippin’ Pizza: Online/Beyond Menu. $20 min. Free w/in 2 miles.
  • City Lights of China: Call 202-265-6688. $15 min. Free to Dupont Circle area

Logan Circle/U Street/Shaw/Bloomingdale

Adams Morgan/Mt Pleasant/Columbia Heights

Park View/Petworth/Brightwood Park

Woodley Park/Tenleytown/Van Ness/Upper NW

Foggy Bottom/West End/Georgetown/Glover Park/Palisades

Eckington/Ivy City/Brentwood/Brookland/Fort Totten/Other NE

Anacostia/Other SE

DC To-GoGo

Owners of Ivy and Coney introduced local delivery platform. Read more here. More spots added every week.

Quasi In-House Delivery

A few alternatives should be mentioned. Several restaurants in DC use services like Chownow, Toast, or Tock to accept pickup orders. Many of those spots also offer delivery; most of the time (this may show up in web version of Toast not app) these are not delivered in-house but in partnership with DoorDash. However, DoorDash does not charge a % commission on orders through these services (often don’t even show up on DoorDash app), instead, they charge the business a flat fee (around $7 plus sometimes extra for mileage). The business can in turn charge the customer whatever amount they want to recoup part or all of the fee, and/or set a minimum order so it makes economic sense for a flat fee order. This is a better deal for the businesses than using a third party delivery service so try use these if you can.


  • Sol
  • Fare Well
  • Lavagna
  • Sette Osteria
  • Supra
  • Toku
  • Taylor Gourmet
  • Poki DC
  • Sushi Aoi
  • Retro Bottega
  • RPM Italian
  • Al Volo
  • Circa
  • Mai Thai
  • Lucky Buns Union Marlet
  • Somtam
  • Georgetown Gourmet
  • Po Boy Jim
  • Al Volo
  • Choong Man
  • Sticky Rice
  • Pow Pow
  • Pie Shop
  • El Bebe
  • Little Red Fox


  • Chef Geoff’s
  • Astro Doughnuts
  • Tryst
  • Busboys and Poets
  • Colada Shop
  • Sospeso
  • Rasa
  • DC Pizza
  • The Diner
  • Chaia Tacos
  • Mason’s Famous Lobster Rolls
  • TaKorean
  • Café Fili
  • Eat Brgz
  • The Red Hen
  • Boundary Stone
  • All Purpose
  • Fig & Olive
  • RedRocks Columbia Heights
  • Thunder Burger
  • Tico
  • Alta Strada/Nama
  • Mi Vida
  • The Grill
  • Hook Hall
  • Makan


For Tock, the DoorDash fee is charged to the guest.

  • Rooster and Owl
  • Maydan
  • Compass Rose
  • Bistro Bis
  • Seven Reasons
  • Slate
  • Columbia Room

Skip The Line

​The service SkipTheLine, used by many higher-end DC restaurants, has a different setup. In this service, a customer reaches out to SkipTheLine to schedule a pickup with a restaurant. The customer then orders directly with the restaurant, indicating SkipTheLine will pick up the food at the scheduled time. SkipTheLine charges the customer directly with no fee/commission paid by the restaurant. They’ve partnered with the below spots but you can use to order from any restaurant. Fee is $12 w/in 2 miles, $15 2-6, $18 6-11, $22 11-16.

  • Little Serow
  • Happy Gyro
  • Albi
  • The Dabney
  • Bresca
  • Chaia Tacos
  • Little Pearl
  • Convivial
  • Bar Charley
  • Flight Wine Bar
  • Reverie
  • Thip Khao
  • Gravitas
  • Rose’s Luxury
  • Rooster & Owl
  • Taqueria Xochi
  • Izakaya Seki
  • Thamee
  • ​Sushi Taro

Favorite DC Bars of PoPville Readers – 2019 Edition

DC Reynolds, the top bar as nominated by PoPville readers.

PoPville recently reprised (ok, 3 months ago in March, but I’ve been busy, uh, tweeting) his Friday question of the day:

Just like Barred in DC analyzed 5 years ago when basically the same question was asked, I’m doing it again.

Around 110 bars made the cut (not counting some useless reminiscing about great defunct Adams Morgan bars). DC Reynolds edged out Solly’s in the mentions for the best bar; it should be noted that 5 years ago neither made the top 16 and Red Derby took the top nod. The number two spot in 2014, Boundary Stone, surprisingly had few mentions. Barred in DC’s two favorite bars currently, Hill Prince and All Souls, were mentioned but did not get that many votes (note that 10 of 16 are on U Street or north and 15 are in NW).

All the spots that received 4+ votes are listed below. Not surprisingly based on where PoPville got started and where most people have been moving to, most bars are on U Street or further north and all but five are dives or have strong dive-like qualities. Bars that were on the list in 2014 are bolded; ones that aren’t  divey are italicized. With 16 bars, there is almost certainly a poll coming. If you’re looking for a list of bars to visit to get the essential great DC bar experience, you won’t go wrong here.

Top 16 Most Popular PoPville Bars – 2019

1. DC Reynolds (Park View)
2. Solly’s (U Street)
3. Red Derby (Columbia Heights)

4. Ivy & Coney (Shaw)
4. The Midlands (Park View)
4. Lost and Found (Shaw)
4. The Raven (Mt. Pleasant)
4. The Big Hunt (Dupont)

9. Jackie Lee’s (Brightwood Park)
9. The Passenger (Shaw)
9. Bravo Bar (Pleasant Plains)
9. Jimmy Valentine’s (Trinidad)
9. The Green Zone (Adams Morgan)

14. Looking Glass Lounge (Park View)
14. Jack Rose (Adams Morgan)
14. Dacha (Shaw)

Others Receiving Multiple Votes: Nanny O’Briens, The Pug, Copycat, Lyman’s, All Souls, Right Proper, The Crown and Crow, 600T, Barmini, Saint Ex, Bar Charley, Room 11, Grady’s, Reliable Tavern, Kingfisher, Colum bia Room, Cotton & Reed, Service Bar, Trusty’s, Showtime, Dew Drop, The Blaguard, Bottom Line, Bar Pilar, Capitol Lounge, Jackpot, American Ice, Wisdom, Dan’s Cafe, Madams Organ, Wild Days, Churchkey, Off the Record, Boundary Stone, Stan’s Rose’s Luxury, Songbyrd

See the #FOIACakes Documents; Court Hearing Set for Wednesday

[Note: My earlier post in May 2016 on this topic engendered indifference and/or hostility from the few who cared, though it led to one Capitol Hill-area ANC commissioner to refer to me as a jackass, which is now part of my Twitter bio. Krepp, the only ANC commissioner to be opposed in ANC 6B, easily won re-election 59%-24%. Also, this has nothing really to do with DC bars. Even in light of all this, I’m writing this post anyways.]
[12/13 Note: This article has been updated to include responses from Krepp]

The #FOIACakes lawsuit finally has its day in court: Wednesday, December 14th, although it’s unclear exactly why. Since at least mid-August (if not earlier), Capitol Hill East ANC commissioner Denise Rucker Krepp has possessed the very DC prosecution data she originally sought and sued to get, but her lawsuit against the Department of Justice still continues. Barred in DC has obtained (this sounds dramatic but I just signed up for a PACER account and paid $15 or so to download the documents) this data and is posting it here for the public (including Krepp’s neighbors and local businesses who contributed nearly $1900 to cover FOIA fees that never existed in the first place). The data includes prosecution statistics (including convictions and guilty pleas) for various crimes from 2010-2015, overall and sorted by the seven DC police districts (maps of DC police districts can be found here). Analyze yourself to draw your own conclusions about DC’s prosecutions (or lack of). Krepp apparently received the data after DOJ provided it to the Senate Judiciary Committee on July 15th (The Committee requested it in May and June after the lawsuit was filed). Krepp says she’s still in court because DOJ has yet to give documents directly to her, and that Barred in DC could have asked for the statistics directly from her.

Krepp sued DOJ in May when DOJ failed to release detailed statistics about arrests and prosecutions in DC in response to Krepp’s FOIA request and appeal. Because Krepp asked for the data by ward, and DOJ only maintains the info by police service area or district, DOJ said it didn’t have the data she asked for, but suggested that she file another request for data it actually had. Wednesday’s hearing is regarding DOJ’s motion for summary judgment (essentially that the facts aren’t in dispute and the judge just needs to make a legal ruling); most, if not all, FOIA lawsuits are settled by motions for summary judgment, not a full blown trial. DOJ filed this motion on August 4th, Krepp’s attorneys opposed on August 17th, and DOJ responded on October 3rd.

Documents filed as part of the case do show that DOJ acted like jerks in responding to Krepp’s FOIA request. Last December, the DOJ employee tasked to search for the data suggested that DOJ ask Krepp if she wanted data by the way it was actually organized (district/service area) rather than ward (see below). DOJ never did, waiting until the appeal was adjudicated months later and telling her she could file a new request then. (Barred in DC filed his own request as suggested by DOJ in May and has not heard back himself.)


Indeed, Krepp’s lawyer, Jay Williams (chair of the ANC alcohol subcommittee covering most H Street bars-see there is a connection to DC bars after all,) forcefully argues (and rightfully, in my opinion) that DOJ failed to reasonably interpret Krepp’s request in the first place, contrary to judicial precedent, DOJ FOIA policy, and President’s own proclamations.

DOJ argues that Krepp clearly only wanted information about wards so it reasonably interpreted the request. I don’t buy it.


Less convincing is Williams’ contentions that DOJ treated the request from the Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, the “powerful” Senator Grassley, differently than an average citizen (Krepp), primarily to ingratiate itself with Congress to push through the confirmation of the nominee for DC US Attorney, Channing D. Phillips.


Although DOJ for some reason did not argue this in its filings, the requests from Committee and the replies from DOJ aren’t even covered by FOIA. Although individual Congressmen must be treated like any other FOIA requester, FOIA doesn’t apply to requests made by Congressional committees acting through its chairman, as was done here. Federal agencies provide information to Congress (but not necessarily individual Congressmen) all the time outside FOIA, and it’s totally legal.

Again, given that Krepp now has the information she’s asked for and DOJ might get a judicial opinion restricting its ability to narrowly construe requests, it’s not clear why the lawsuit continues (perhaps attorney’s fees, the principle of the whole case-how to interpret FOIA requests, and/or the optics of being able to say that you fought the law and you won are all reasons). Barred in DC will keep you updated, whether you like it or care or not.

Filings (mostly linked already)

In the interests of some disclosure, a significant part of my job at the federal agency I work at involves FOIA, so the results of any litigation could theoretically affect the work I do. The views stated above are, of course, my own personal views and do not constitute the views of the U.S. Government. I’m also a resident member of the ANC6B alcohol subcommittee.

Shake-Up on Barracks Row – Say Hello to Finn McCool’s (Again) & Tio Javier

Molly Malone's has been renamed Finn McCool's

Molly Malone’s has been renamed Finn McCool’s

Pacifico Cantina is now Tio Javier

Pacifico Cantina is now Tio Javier

Visitors to Barracks Row will see some changes to a few of the eateries/bars on the 8th Street SE strip owned by Xavier Cervera’s group.  Molly Malone’s is now called Finn McCool’s, which was the name of the bar that previously occupied the space before Molly’s opened in 2009. Pacifico Cantina is now Tio Javier.

In addition, Chesapeake Room closed for renovations (a similar fate befell Lola’s earlier this year) [UPDATE-This reopened with name Ophelia’s Fish House]. Even Senart’s Oyster House changed its last part of its name to Grille Room (from Chop House). So far, these name changes, which are not surprising after Cervera recently took back control of these restaurants, have included new menus and more changes are forthcoming. However, Barred in DC has not seen any recent trade name change applications approved by the ABRA Board for these spots, so stay tuned on that issue [UPDATE-ABRA approved the bar name changes on 11/30]


New menu at Finn McCool’s

Barred in DC’s Hot Takes

A list of hot take opinions that Barred in DC actually holds, with varying levels of rational thinking or time spent considering the implications or impact on others. I’m guessing many will not be popular (particularly the last one). Subtweets are encouraged.

  1. Adams Morgan is the best neighborhood in DC 150 hours of the week.
  2. Brunch sucks.
  3. Visiting Georgetown feels like you’re on vacation.
  4. Dan Silverman is the man (I stole these list ideas from him).
  5. Calling someone the “man” is still cool.
  6. Comcast/Xfinity isn’t terrible.
  7. DC politics/neighborhood developments are infinitely more interesting than national politics.
  8. There are fun people and places to visit in the suburbs.
  9. Clarendon is nice.
  10. Retrocession > statehood.
  11. The DC Streetcar is/will be a success.
  12. 14th Street, Shaw, meh.
  13. It’s fun to be around DC tourists sometimes.
  14. Having a car in DC isn’t all that hard/expensive.
  15. Strict parking enforcement in DC is a good thing.
  16. NPR is terrible.
  17. Churchkey is an incredible place to drink beer and fall asleep of boredom.
  18. People who stand on the left side of the Metro escalator are fine.
  19. Barred in DC is an amazing blog/Twitter account.

Bardo River Brewery Approved – Kind Of, Sort Of

[UPDATE: Bardo is appealing order to DC courts, claiming that ABRA engaged in illegal ex parte communications with ANC and Nationals. See Bardawg’s comment below:]

Yesterday, ABRA issued an unusual preliminary decision regarding the proposed new Bardo brewery just south of Nationals Park. Basically, ABRA is allowing Bardo to operate a brewery on the Anacostia River site but says it can only serve customers on-premises if it agrees to close at 10p everyday of the week. If Bardo doesn’t accept this condition the Board basically says they’ll have a hearing and may deny the ability for Bardo to serve beer on-premises at any time. Concerns that plagued previous Bardo applications-noise, parking, and pedestrian safety-still remain.


Where to Watch the Presidential Debates in DC – 2016


Because it’s DC, plenty of bars will be hosting Presidential (and VP) debate watch parties in the lead up to the 2016 general election. Whether this is terrible or “This Is Why I Love DC” is debatable (as someone who cares more about my local ANC and ABRA decisions than Congress, it’s clear where I stand). That being said, these parties are usually fun times and it’s nice to have the shared bar experiences that sports towns have. So whether you’re a Hillary Clinton fan (reluctant or not) or a rare DC breed (a closeted Trump voter), here’s a list spots that are hosting parties for at least the first debate on Monday, September 26th and will likely host parties for the others (Oct 4th-VP, Oct 9th-perfect for many gov’t workers since it’s Columbus Day eve-and Oct 19th). Expect most bars in DC that have TVs to show the debate

Best bets (for both fun and crowds) are highlighted.

  • Capitol Hill/Eastern Market/Barracks Row
    • The Ugly Mug 
      • hosted by comedian
      • bingo
      • prizes
    • Capitol Lounge
      • Clinton/Trump impersonators
      • drink specials
    • The 201 Bar
      • Cloture Club debate drinking game
    • Union Pub
      • Cloture Club debate drinking game
  • Adams Morgan
  • 14th Street/U Street
    • Bar Pilar
      • 4 Election cocktails
      • bingo
    • Sudhouse
      • $3 PBR, $5 Drafts, and $5 Rail drinks
      • $4 Corn Dogs with fries or pork sliders for $6
    • Busboys and Poets
      • Post-Debate Community Discussion with Panelists:  Bill Ayers, Jared Ball, Medea Benjamin, and Fatemeh Keshavarz.
      • Also at Brookland & Mt Vernon Square
    • Local 16
      • DC Young Democrats
  • Dupont Circle
    • Teddy and Bully Bar
      • $5 Clinton BBQ Sliders and Trump Steak Bites
      • $11 Hillary/Trump-themed cocktails
  • Downtown
    • Lincoln Restaurant
      • $5 Clinton BBQ Sliders and Trump Steak Bites
      • $11 Hillary/Trump-themed cocktails