Attention DC Local Journalists: Include Cross Streets With Addresses

As a reader of every legitimate news source about DC local news (real estate development, crime, and of course, bars/restaurants), Barred in DC has observed great reporting by legitimate journalists and full-time(ish) bloggers alike. Folks have found their own voices as well as collectively comprehensively covering the scene. That being said, /rant begins/ could y’all include cross streets once in a while? It’s not needed when the cross street is obvious (for example, an address on a letter street like 2100 P St. NW), but not many people know off the top of their heads where, say 2204 14th St. NW is (more on this later).

In fact, a whopping 77% of those polled on Twitter said they wouldn’t know the address without Googling. More information might be necessary for addresses avenues named after states (See Lucky Bar at 1221 Connecticut Ave. NW, which is near 18th and M/N Streets) or those outside the numbered/lettered streets. The writer would have to add a few more words, but doing so provides a wealth of information that allows the reader to know exactly where the author is talking about.

A recent example shows how widespread this shortcoming is. There was wall-to-wall  coverage (kudos to their PR rep) for the new Sakerum Latin-Asian fusion bar featuring the sushi cocktail. Among others, The Washington Post, the Washingtonian, Washington City Paper, and Zagat all covered the opening with gusto. At best, the outlets mentioned the old Mova, the “hill” on 14th, or being near 14th and U. Not even the press release (yes PR should do that too) mentioned that Sakerum is at 14th and W, which one could only figure out if they’re one out of four people in DC who can ID non-obvious addresses. Of course, Google or Apple Maps isn’t far away for most, but why make the reader add the extra step? Barred in DC has tried to include cross streets from the very beginning, but then again, I’m a fake journalist.

From the corner of 1st and 1st /rant over/

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ABRA Tweaks New Bar Crawl Regulations – “Vomit” Cleanup Included

ABRA has announced revisions to the bar crawl regulations it issued on an emergency basis in January. The regulations,which many predicted would lead to the end of the bar crawl as we know it, were open for public comment this spring. After many hiccups and rejected bar crawls, organizers have figured out the system and bar crawls have not been completely eliminated, but there are certainly fewer than in years past.

ABRA issued revised regulations in response to comments from:

  • the bar Madhatter (a frequent bar crawl stop)
  • Lindy’s Promotions (longtime biggest player on the bar crawl scene)
  • ANCs representing U Street and Dupont
  • the Dupont Circle Citizens Association
  • the DC police, fire, and trash departments
  • the Golden Triangle BID
  • the Restaurant Association Metropolitan Washington (RAMW),

Interestingly, although the ANCs, the Golden Triangle BID, and even Madhatter urged ABRA to create a rule prohibiting more than one bar crawl at a time in the same neighborhood, ABRA declined to include this in the revised regulations (although so far ABRA has generally only approved on bar crawl in each hood in practice). The revisions to the regulations include:

  • Detailing what must be included in the  litter management plan, including
    • “the cleaning of human waste (e.g. vomit);”
    • litter removal by 10a the next day;
    • removal of litter on both sides of street (including tree boxes/planters) on the route between bars on crawl;
    • Extend the deadline for pub crawl applications to 60 days (up from 45) before event);
  • Allowing crawls on St. Paddy’s Day and Cinco de Mayo (pub crawls on July 4th, Halloween, and NYE are still prohibited); and
  • Explicitly making it a secondary liquor license violation to participate in an unlicensed pub crawl.

These emergency regulations are still not permanent until approved by the DC Council.

Fundraiser for West Virginia Flood Victims – Thursday, June 30th at Smoke & Barrel

Barred in DC’s home state, West by God Virginia, has suffered horrendous widespread flooding over the past week, costing over numerous lives and millions of dollars in destruction. Two WV natives in the DC area, Elliotte McGraw and Cartney Renn McCracken, have quickly put together a fundraiser  downstairs at the great beer and bbq joint Smoke & Barrel (2471 18th St. NW) in Adams Morgan this Thursday, June 30th, from 6-9pm. 

The event will feature drink specials and prizes will be raffled off. Nick Rahall, who served nearly four decades in Congress representing WV, will be in attendance. Money raised will be donated to United Way of Central WV, while Smoke & Barrel will generously donate $1 for each of the featured beers & food items sold. If you can’t be in attendance, please consider donating on their website  (entering “DC” in the description): http://www.unitedwaycwv.org/

These #FOIACakes Taste Funny

foiacakes

[Note: This Post Was Updated 5/25 Evening to Include Clarification about Use of Funds]
The famous Eastern Market bake sale held to pay for Capitol Hill ANC commissioner Denise Rucker Krepp’s FOIA request for data about prosecution rates in DC raised nearly $2,000 supposedly to cover fees to process her request. What Krepp or the numerous news articles covering the bake sale neglected to mention was that these FOIA fees never existed in the first place, according to a letter from the Department of Justice. The correspondence, sent to Krepp before December’s bake sale (which garnered its own social media hashtag #FOIAcakes), was attached to Krepp’s lawsuit filed against DOJ last week. Krepp, concerned about crime in her neighborhood, is challenging DOJ’s failure to find any responsive records; the agency said it didn’t have the records in the form requested.

Krepp has characterized DOJ’s letter as including an unwarranted assessment of FOIA processing fees, as well as a rejection of her request for a fee waiver. Media reports have similarly repeatedly referred to the government charging a $1000 FOIA processing fee for her request. None of which is true. Instead, DOJ simply explained (see excerpt below) that there “may be certain costs associated” with Krepp’s FOIA request, in addition to the standard fee schedule for all FOIA requests received by DOJ. The agency also generally suggested that a modification of the request could reduce potential fees and that it would “notify [Krepp] in writing at a later date” if it determines that fees will be more than $25. Although DOJ did not acknowledge Krepp’s fee waiver in the letter, her waiver request was not rejected.

DOJ letter

In other words, DOJ never said that Krepp’s request would incur any fees at all, let alone $1,000. In fact, the $1,000 figure was completely made up by her based on “her own experience managing FOIA requests in a former job,” according to one report. Krepp, who previously served as Chief Counsel for the U.S Maritime Administration, seems to have had what charitably may be referred to as an issue with reading comprehension.

Barred in DC privately reached out to Krepp after she went public with the $1000 FOIA fee and suggested that she partner with a local blog, which can get reduced or waived FOIA processing fees, and warned her that she might not get any information based on the wording of her request. That didn’t seem to make a difference, as we never received a response and the fundraising bake sale for the fictitious FOIA processing fees took place.

In the end, the $1,867 raised from #FOIAcakes, which includes money from a raffle for basketball tickets donated by Events DC and $350 from Dangerously Delicious Pies, never went to pay FOIA processing fees at all; which makes sense because DOJ never said there would be fees. Krepp said she would donate the excess money to either “a local organization that advocates for transparency in local government” or to “charity, such as groups that help crime victims.” None of the various articles in the local media have identified the organization or charity which received the funds raised from Krepp’s neighbors earmarked for the non-existent FOIA processing fees. [5/25 PM Update:] Apparently the funds are being retained for certain litigation costs and will be donated if funds remain.

Krepp filed her lawsuit despite the fact that DOJ even suggested to her when ruling on her appeal that although DOJ didn’t keep the records in the form she requested, she “might wish to make a new request to [DOJ] for prosecutions and convictions by crime and or by [police service area or] district” (see excerpt below). Instead of processing a new request, DOJ will need to divert resources to answer this litigation instead of processing requests by others. Barred in DC has made a FOIA request for the same data as Krepp is seeking following DOJ’s suggestion; we’ll see who gets it first (new hashtag: #FOIARace).

appeal part 2

Krepp is represented in her lawsuit by Jay Williams (a former Capitol Hill ANC Commissioner), along with a partner and other attorneys from the law firm BuckleySandler. Presumably this representation is pro bono; if not, will there be another bake sale? #FOIAcakestastefunny

In the interests of some disclosure, a significant part of Barred in DC’s job at the federal agency he works at involves processing FOIA requests, so the results of any litigation could theoretically affect the work he does. The views stated above are, of course, Barred in DC’s own personal views and do not constitute the views of the U.S. Government. 

Marble Alley, Trevor Frye’s Upcoming Bar, Slated for Bardia’s Old Space

Marble Alley, the upcoming laid-back spot from the beverage director of Jack Rose (and co-creator of Dram & Grain underneath), Trevor Frye, hopes to take over the space previously occupied by Bardia’s New Orleans Cafe, as well as the adjacent salon, Barred in DC has learned, although a lease may not been finalized yet. The ground level at 2412 18th St. NW is cozy-no more than 1500 square feet.

Bardia’s, a neighborhood favorite, shuttered in 2015 after more than two decades in that space and an ill-fated move to 9th and U. Marble Alley will move away from an emphasis on cocktails and aim to be a “comfortable” spot for neighborhood folks, according to the Washington Post Express, and ambitiously hopes to open by late fall. Frye will be stepping away from Jack Rose in early June to focus on this spot.

Where to Fill a Growler in DC

Barred in DC's rather sad collection of growlers
Barred in DC’s rather sad collection of growlers

Although there are many naysayers out there about the terrible value (and sometimes taste) of growler-filled beer, they are still very popular and the majority of you have a half-gallon sitting around somewhere. There are a number of spots to fill a growler in DC-breweries and brewpubs of course, but also grocery stores, corner liquor stores and other markets-all are listed below. I’ve also tried to approximate the cheapest price for a 64 oz. growler fill, though some stores with higher prices may have more expensive beer generally and many lists fluctuate regularly. Links included to current list of growlers, if available. If I’m missing any, please let Barred in DC know.

Cheapest: World Wine & Spirits ($8), d’vines ($8 Thurs. specials)
Most # of Taps: d’vines (19-20), 3 Stars (13),  YES! Organic Petworth (12)

Grocery Stores/Liquor Stores/Markets

  • Dupont
    • Whole Foods P Street
      • 1440 P St. NW
      • 9a-9p everyday
      • 5 taps
      • $12
    • Glen’s Garden Market
      • 2001 S St. NW
      • 10a-10p weekdays / 9a-10p weekends
      • 7 taps
      • $14
    • One West Dupont Liquors
      • 2012 P St. NW
      • 10a-9:30p Mon-Sat, 11a-7:30p Sun
      • 3-4 taps
      • $18
  • Shaw
    • Giant – City Market at O Street
      • 1400 7th St. NW (at O)
      • 10-8p Sun-Thurs, 10-9p Fri-Sat
      • 4 taps
      • $16
    • Glen’s Garden Market
      • 1924 8th St. NW (at Florida near U)
      • 11a-10p weekdays / 10a-10p weeknds
      • 8 taps
      • $14
  • Columbia Heights / Petworth
    • d’vines
      • 3103 14th St. NW (at Irving or Park)
      • 12:30a-9:30p Mon-Thurs / 11:30a-10:30p Fri-Sat / 11:30a-8:30p Su
      • 19-20 taps
      • $10 (2 for 1 certain days and $8 specials on Thursday)
    • YES! Organic Market – Petworth
      • 4100 Georgia Ave. NW
      • 7a-10p Mon-Sat, 7a-9p Sun
      • 12 taps
      • $13
  • Foggy Bottom / Georgetown / Glover Park
  • Eastern Market/Capitol Hill
    • World Wine and Spirits
      • 1453 Pennsylvania Ave. SE (near I St.)
      • 10a-10p Mon-Thurs / 10a-11p Fri-Sat / Noon-8p Sun
      • 6 taps
      • $8
    • YES! Organic Market – Capitol Hill
      • 410 8th St. SE (near D St.)
      • 1-2 taps
      • $17
  • Woodley Park / Cleveland Park / Tenleytown / Upper NW
    • Sherry’s Wine and Spirits
      • 2627 Connecticut Ave. NW (at Calvert)
      • 10a-10p Mon-Sat, 11a-9p Sun
      • 5 taps
      • $11
    • Little Red Fox
      • 5035 Connecticut Ave. NW (at Nebraska)
      • 7:30a-7:30p Tues-Sun (closed Mon)
      • 2 taps
      • $20
    • Broad Branch Market
      • 5608 Broad Branch Rd. NW
      • 9a-8p Mon-Sat, 9a-7p Sun
      • 3 taps
      • $14
    • Giant – Cathedral Commons
      • 3336 Wisconsin Ave. NW (at Macomb)
      • 10a-10p
      • 8 taps
      • $15
    • Whole Foods Tenley
      • 4530 40th St. NW (off Wisconsin and Albermarle)
      • 8a-10p
      • 5-6 taps
      • $14?

Breweries/Brewpubs

ABRA Denies Liquor License for Bardo Big River by Nationals Park

[This post has been updated]

Barred in DC has learned that the ABRA Board has denied in full a liquor license for Bardo Big River, the riverfront beer garden across from Nationals Park. The Bardo folks already had started construction and hiring – hoping to start in April or May for the baseball season. Bardo can file a motion for the Board to reconsider (it decides very quickly) and a judicial appeal may follow, but there’s no chance this will be open anytime soon.

A copy of ABRA’s unanimous decision an be found here. In its decision, the Board relied on issues related to noise, parking, pedestrian safety, and egress from Nats games discussed in the February hearing Barred in DC wrote about earlier.Specifically, the board said it was “still not convinced” that

  • Bardo is capable of preventing noise disturbances to nearby residents (who don’t yet exist)
  • the neighborhood has a sufficient parking;
  • Bardo can coexist or be included in the neighborhood’s official traffic plan;
  • encouraging stadium attendees to across Potomac Ave. is safe; and
  • that Bardo can exist without delaying or interfering with people and cars leaving Nats Park after games.

The fact that Bullpen exists a few blocks away was not considered by the Board, since no one ever protested it and as a result it had no findings about it  (“the Bullpen’s appropriateness is deemed presumed as a matter of law”). The importance of not disrupting the Nationals logistics was clearly an important part of the decision, though the parking concerns are to me ridiculous as I wouldn’t expect many people to drive to Bardo specifically.