Category Archives: Barred in DC Overview

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

Bardo Plans to Shutter Trinidad Location and Sell Cans if Nats Park Location Approved

At a contentious ABRA fact-finding hearing on August 10th, Bill Stewart, the owner of Bardo, told the board that he would close the Trinidad/Bladensburg Rd. location if the ABRA approves his manufacturer’s license application for Bardo River Brewery just south of Nationals Park on the Anacostia in the Capitol Riverfront neighborhood. The owner also expects to brew 5000 barrels of beer in the first year of operation, with 7000 barrels to follow (note Bardo in Arlington never brewed more than 2500). He also plans to set up shop like the famous Mcmenamins in Oregon, establishing satellite bars in Virginia and Maryland that Bardo would sell its cans through, as well as selling cans in retailers throughout the DC Metro area. The 150-page transcript is worth a read, including

  • Bardo’s lawyer strongly objecting to ABRA inviting the ANC representative to sort of testify, calling it “illegal”
  • an ABRA Commissioner telling Bardo’s lawyer to basically “Come at me bro” and inviting him to sue him
  • Bardawg officially becoming part of the security plan
  • a discussion about how open air tanks can be targets of shootings and terrorist attacks

Barred in DC will have more on the transcript later. A week earlier, Stewart stormed out of the originally-scheduled fact finding meeting because ABRA had invited folks from the Nationals and the ANC to participate, saying that he’ll lawyer up.

Despite all this, Barred in DC predicts that ABRA will grant the manufacturer’s license to Bardo, and if it doesn’t, its denial will be overturned on appeal.

[9/1 PM Update: Transcript excerpts from DCBeerBill and Aaron Morrissey saved below]




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/

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):

These #FOIACakes Taste Funny


[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.