Category Archives: DC Bar News

Right Proper Brewing Releasing SAY THEIR NAMES on Friday to Support Black Lives Matter

 

DC’s own Right Proper Brewing Co., which collaborated with Barred in DC to brew the still-available, popular Beered in DC, is doing something way more awesome.

On Friday, June 5th, the brewery will be releasing SAY THEIR NAMES, a limited release kellerbier. 100% of profits will be going to BLACK LIVES MATTER DC. At the risk of stating the obvious, this is based on the #SAYTHEIRNAMES hashtag to make sure people say and remember the names of black people who are murder victims of police brutality and other racial violence. Several of these names are on the label of the 750mL bottle.

The 5.0% ABV kellerbier (which is a German lager) will be available for sale from the Shaw brewpub and the Brookland production facility (not available at bars or in retailers).

SAY THEIR NAMES will be available in draft form pints to go/on patio ($6), 750mL flip-top bottles ($12), and 64 oz. growler fills ($17 + $15 for flip-top growler glass if you want one). Due to limited supplies, only 144 750mL bottles were produced, and they’re asking you to limit your purchase to 1 bottle per order.

Expect the bottles to be sold out in first day or two and the beer to gone pretty soon after. Note that originally RP was going to donate some of the profits to ACLU of DC but ACLU asked that all the donations goto BLM. Employees working will be donating 100% of their tips to BLM as well.

How To Buy

  • Shaw
    • Open Noon-9p F-Sat (Noon-7p Sun-Thurs)
    • order on Toast Tab for pickup or limited delivery
    • Walk-in will be available as supplies last
    • Can drink pints on-site on patio, space permitting
  • Brookland 
    • Open Noon-6p F-Sun
    • Online orders already sold out
    • Walk-in will be available as supplies last
    • Can drink pints on-site on patio, space permitting

DC law still prohibits breweries from shipping their beer directly to consumers in other states even where that is allowed. 

 

Which Restaurants and Bars are Eligible to Open on Friday? Plus ABRA Regulations and Info On Street Closures

Image by Mr.TinDC licensed under Creative Commons.

As reported here earlier today, Mayor Bowser lifted the stay-at-home order and is allowing restaurants and other food establishments to reopen on Friday, May 29th. Many are not planning on opening immediately but many are eligible. My reading of the order and a clarification that Gabe Hiatt of Eater received allows the following outdoor spaces to open immediately for table service/seated “outdoor dining” on Friday, May 29th:

  1. non-booze serving restaurant/fast food outdoor space (DDOT approved sidewalk cafes and any other outdoor space on private property)
  2. booze serving restaurants/bars/taverns/nightclubs/multipurpose facilities “that serve food” (or just have a license to serve food, and their outdoor spaces that have DDOT/ABRA approved sidewalk cafe OR ABRA summer garden endorsements.

What is a summer garden?? It is outdoor space that is not a sidewalk cafe or otherwise in public space. This refers to most beer gardens, back patios, side patios, rooftops, roof deck, gardens, and courtyard.

Also, because all if not all bars/restaurants in DC can technically serve food (my understanding is that DCRA requires any bar to get a restaurant basic business license) I don’t think this is a huge issue.

What does this mean? Barred in DC “exclusively” obtained (“under deadline”) a list of all ABRA-licensed establishments with at least one of these endorsements. Out of the 1450+ licensed establishments in DC, around 850 have one of these endorsements, meaning the other 600 would not be able to open until Phase 3. An incomplete list of beer gardens and other outdoor bars are below, A reader created a map here using this data.

Twitter account Eat DC has the best ongoing list of spots opening.

ABRA Regulations

[ADDED]. I located a copy of the draft regulations ABRA  has now adopted and are final.

On-Premises Outdoor Dining

  • Prohibit dancing, darts, video games, or other outdoor games
  • no BYOB (not allowed anyways)
  • Menu must contain a minimum of 3 “prepared food items”
    • Based on previous guidance prepared food items is not a bag of chips unless housemade or spices added)
  • Require purchase of 1+ prepared food items per table
  • Prepared item can be prepared on site or at another entity that has a DOH food license (i.e. food truck or other restaurant)
    • Bar/restaurant staff have to deliver food, not the food truck
  • Can only be open outside 8a-midnight (or earlier if settlement agreement/Board has said so)
  • No live music or entertainment (only background/recorded music)
  • No alcohol advertising (except menus) on outdoor space
  • Wait staff wear masks
  • Masks required except when “seated and eating or drinking”
  • Requires reservations system by phone or on-line. Suggests keeping customer logs.
    • This doesn’t appear to actually require reservations, just to have a reservation system.
  • Can’t share tables/chairs with another business

Outdoor Dining Expansion

ABRA wants to “allow as many qualifying ABC-licensed establishments to return to operation as possible”. It will allow serving in “new or expanded temporary ground floor or street level outdoor public and private space not listed on its existing license” (No new rooftops or elevated) if:

    • Registers with ABRA and gets written authorization
    • Registers with DDOT for public space OR Gets written approval from property owner for any outdoor private sapace
    • Space must be delineated/marked

Awnings or tents that no more than 1 side are considered outdoor space. And retractable glass walls make something indoor dining. Unclear if this applies to existing enclosed sidewalk patios.

Street Closures

Street closures are also being considered by the Mayor’s special events task force. Right now it appears the following streets will be closed to traffic to (more to come hopefully) starting on the following dates (likely to extend past that weekend if all goes well):

  • 18th Street in Adams Morgan (weekend of June 4-7)
  • 800 Block of Upshur Street in Petworth (weekend of June 11-14)
  • Eastern Market-200 and 300 blocks of 7th St SE between Penn & NC Ave (weekend of June 18-21).

The expanded outdoor space would be used for extended outdoor seating for restaurants and there would likely be a 20 foot interior space/lane unused in the event of an emergency vehicle needing to pass through. It’s like the closures would be evenings Thurs-Sun, but in some areas the closures would occur during the day on weekends.

There is apparently opposition to closing Barracks Row from the local Barracks Row main street. Stay tuned about other details on closures in other areas of town.

Beer Gardens

  • Scheduled to Open Friday
    • Dacha Beer Garden Shaw
    • The Brig
    • Dacha Navy Yard
    • The Bullpen
    • Biergarten Haus
  • Not Opening this Friday
    • The Midlands
  • No announcement
    • Bardo
    • Garden District
    • Wundergarten

Mayor Bowser Lifts Stay-at-Home-Order and Allows Establishments to Reopen Outdoors – An Analysis

[New Post here: Which Restaurants and Bars Are Allowed to Open on Friday?]

This morning, Mayor Bowser announced that the stay-at-home order, which was in effect starting April 1st, would end at midnight May 28th. Beginning May 29th, restaurants and other establishments can reopen for outdoor seating only, which marks the first time they’ve been open since March 16th.

The order (posted first by Mark Segraves, NBC4), which echoes some of what I discussed in my open letter as well as my proposal from last week, with respect to restaurants/bars:

Allows ALL of the following to open for outdoor dining:

    • Restaurants
    • Other licensed food establishments
    • Taverns, nightclubs and mixed-use facilities that serve food (other part of order says “licensed to serve food”) and already have a summer garden (rooftop/courtyard) or sidewalk cafe ABRA endorsement

Bars/nightclubs/taverns that are not licensed to serve food (I think most if not all are licensed) and don’t have a summer garden or sidewalk license (a lot don’t) cannot open.

Mayor Bowser announced that there will be a process to open outdoor seating to let other restaurants be allowed to expand into. Hopefully, bars/nightclubs/taverns will be allowed to participate in this expansion and receive an expedited ABRA endorsement.

Outdoor dining must occur in DDOT and ABRA approved areas:

  • Outdoor dining customers must be seated while placing orders and be served at tables only
  • 6 people at each table
  • Tables serving parties at least 6 feet apart.

Mayor Bowser and the DOH director Nebsitt weren’t clear if this allows restaurants to serve on rooftops or in back patios or other areas that are not in DDOT-governed public space.

Reservations “encouraged” via online or telephone. They are also encouraged (not required) to keep customer logs to facilitate contact tracing by Department of Health.

GUIDANCE

Department of Health also released guidance. Via the Mayor’s Order these are required. Select requirements:

Guests:

  • Standing or sitting at an outdoor bar is prohibited
  • Reservations are encouraged and dining records will be saved for at least 30 days.
  • Customers should provide names and contact information and record time of arrival.
    • This appears not to be mandatory but do it.
  • Masks required while not eating or drinking. When ordering food and prior to being served

Employees:

  • Wear Masks when working
  • Where gloves when handling ready-to-eat foods
  • Clean and disinfect surfaces used at least every 4-6 hours, and tables/receipt trays between uses
  • Sick or symptoms should immediately stop working and leave.

Employers:

  • Employees must be assessed with questionnaire before shift
  • Must tell 3rd party delivery/suppliers about requirements
  • Post signage that nobody with a fever or symptoms are allowed and everyone has to wear a mask
  • Try to have separate entrance/exit
  • Don’t allow congregation
  • Paper menus strongly encouraged and discarded. Reusable menus have to be cleaned and disinfected between each use
  • Buffets and salad bars are prohibited
  • No self service drink stations, condiments stations, and utensil/napkin stations
  • Single use items strongly encouraged.
  • Flush water systems
  • Tables, chairs, check presenters must be disinfected after each seating

Other restrictions non-restaurants

  • Everyone must continue to maintain a distance of at least six feet from person not in their household, except if such distance is impossible to maintain (e.g obtaining medical services, haircut)
  • Large gatherings of more than 10 people continue to be prohibited
  • Nonessential retail business open for advance order OUTDOOR pickup only or delivery
  • Barbershops and hair salons allowed appointment only
    • “encouraged to keep customer information related to these appointments including which barber or stylist saw that customer”
    • No waiting
    • 1 customer per barber/stylist
    • No waxing, electrolysis, threading, and nail care
    • 6 feet from each other
  • Healthcare providers can offer services including outpatient or other surgery
  • Workers open must tell employees if come to work if sick
  • Plan required that includes all employees about testing locations in DC and CDC guidance
  • Parks, dog parks, tennis courts, tracks, and fields (not playground or pools) will be open.

Where to Find Best Bagels in DC

Bagel prepared in the Barred in DC-style (butter cut into quarters)

Someone (not from NY) posted something about a terrible DC bagel yesterday and it got all the likes. So I thought it would be best to make a list of all the DC proper (that is within the limits of the District of Columbia for the complainers out there) spots that you can get a great bagel. Here are details (hours of operation subject to change). Not in any kind of order

Bagel Spots (Bagels is in the Name)

  • Bagels, etc. (Dupont)
    • 6a-4p M-Sat, 6a-3p Sun
    • Pickup only (may be able to call ahead 202-466-7171)
  • Bethesda Bagels (Dupont, Navy Yard in DC)
    • 7:30a-2p daily
    • Pickup: Online preorder preferred, walk-in accepted
    • Delivery: Place by 8p for next day using form ($25 min, $5 fee)  OR UberEats
  • Bullfrog Bagels (Eastern Market, H Street, Brookland, Tenleytown Food Truck)
    • EM: 7a-2p M-F, 8a-2p Sat-Sun; H St: 7a-2p Tue-Sun; Brookland: 7a-1p Fri-Sun; Tenley Truck: 8a-1p W-F, 9a-2p Sat-Sun
    • Pickup: Chownow/Onlne, Text 33733 on Mobile Phone, Online for next day orders
    • Delivery: Doordash, Online for next day/future orders.

Not Necessarily Just Bagel Spots/Bakery/Deli

  • Baked by Yael (CP/Woodley Park across from zoo, Satellite location in Dupont at JCCC, Farmer’s Markets)
    • 8a-4p daily at main location, 7:30a-noon M-F at JCCC
    • Pickup: Walk-in, Online ($5 min)
    • Delivery: Online ($15 min; shipping available w/ $20 min), possibly UberEats
    • Known for cakepops but bagels are reportedly great
  • Buffalo & Bergen (Capitol Hill, Union Market)
    • 8a-3p W-Sun,  (currently only Capitol Hill
    • Pickup: Online/ToastTab, Call 202-525-3350
    • Delivery: UberEats
  • Call Your Mother (Park View, Barracks Row, soon to Georgetown)
    • 8a-1p Tue-Sun
    • Pickup: ToastTab/Online
    • Shyne Bagel and challah sandwiches popular
  • So’s Your Mom (Adams Morgan)
    •  7a-4p daily
    • Pickup: Walk-in, call (maybe) 202-462-3666
    • Deli/Cash only
  • GW Deli (Foggy Bottom)
    • 6:30a-4p M-F, 8a-3p Sat
    • Pickup: Walk-in, Online/Ritual
    • Delivery: UberEats
    • Reportedly DC’s best trad’l bacon egg and cheese
  • Sweet Crimes (Logan Circle/U Street)
    • 9a-3p W-F, 10a-2p
    • Pickup: Online (Pickup at Ice Cream Jubilee)
    • Delivery: Online for Next Day/Future, DoorDash, GrubHub, Uber Eats, Postmates, Shipping Available
    • GLUTEN FREE!

Support a Charity – If You Can

[The following is an unrolled version of a Twitter thread]

A lot of people are hurting out there in the DC area, the U.S. and around the world. Unemployment benefits are not going to last forever and many people (e.g., undocumented individuals) are ineligible for unemployment or the federal stimulus funds. But the majority of you, like myself, have not been financially affected, and at least some of us likely received stimulus money in our bank accounts that we are just going to add to savings. Also, although it has been barely reported on, the CARES Act creates a $300 above-the-line charitable deduction in 2020 (and likely going forward though experts disagree)) federal income taxes, which means you can deduct up to $300 of donations to charities from your taxable income EVEN if you don’t itemize (which is 85%+ of filers).

So, if you are able to and can spare, I hope you can donate to one of these non-profit/charities listed below. Many of these I’ve supported for years but most were suggested by you and are new to me. We are personally supporting the most of them but all seem worthy. I encourage you to support any charity, even those not listed.

As an added show of my appreciation, I’ll send a Barred in DC koozie to anyone who has donated $25 to any of these organizations listed in 2020 (if you want to spread the love, aggregate $25 is ok). I’m not affiliated with any of these. Just DM me on Twitter or Instagram or email barredindc@gmail.com w/ some proof/mailing address. Those with * appear to have a focus on supporting immigrants.

DC Organizations 

National/International Organizations

DC

ATTN MAYOR BOWSER – Define Restaurant, Bar and Nightclub in a Way that Makes Sense for Reopening of DC

Image by Mr.TinDC licensed under Creative Commons.

[Edited to fix typos and clarify ReOpen DC Committee’s recommendation/big idea re: changing license types]

Today, Mayor Boswer’s ReOpen DC Advisory Group issued a relatively detailed 80 page plan to guide DC as it lifts the stay-at-home order (likely this Tuesday for Friday, May 29th) and “reopens” DC in a four stage process (Stage 1: declining virus transmission; Stage 2: only localized transmission; Stage 3: Sporadic transmission; Stage 4: vaccine/cure). Read a four-byline WAMU/DCist article for more details.

In addition to the incredibly important safety issues (predominant), most relevant for this website was the recommendations for restaurants, bars, and nightclubs.

Restaurants: 1) Open outdoors w/ distancing; 2) Indoor seating up to 50% 3) More than 50% with case-by-case approval; 4) open 100%

Bars and Nightclubs: 1) Closed; 2) Closed; 3) 5 people per 1000 square feet w/ no more than 50% capacity (meaning 20 people max at even bigger spots) 4) open 100%

BUT, as noted in detail by Laura Hayes in an article today, THERE IS NO LEGAL DISTINCTION BETWEEN A BAR AND RESTAURANT in DC (I’ve been saying this for years pedantically but now it makes a difference). Noted liquor license attorney Andrew Kline, who was on a ReOpen DC committee, told me and Laura and that their expectation was that a “restaurant” would generally include any business with a substantial food component. Well, you can throw out a definition that makes a hot dog a sandwich, but there is no way to objectively determine which businesses have a substantial food component and those who do not. Clearly, the 850+ businesses with “restaurant” liquor licenses who are required to provide documentation to ABRA that they sell 40% of their revenue in food (or a certain $$/seat), would qualify, but what about 1) a coffee shop or other establishment that but doesn’t have a liquor license, or 2) holders of tavern (400 spots), multipurpose (45) , and nightclub (35) licenses, majority(?) of which are authorized by DCRA and Department of Health to sell food to eat on premises? These businesses may sell a substantial amount of food and meals but do not have to certify or even keep track of  their food sales to anyone, even themselves. How would a business or DC itself objectively determine what establishments have a “substantial food component”? Look at their menus?  Check Yelp reviews and count how many talk about food v. drinks?

This seems unworkable and untenable for the businesses who could be able to safely open (for staff and customers) but otherwise will be on the brink of ruin if they don’t have the same shot as similar establishments. This dooms literally 1/3 of the spots in DC to likely extinction. In many parts of DC (such as H Street) with a concentration of tavern licenses, not allowing these to open if they have the ability to serve food would leave neighborhoods with massive closures. Mayor Bowser and her Administration need to clearly define the distinction in an objective manner. Kline tells Laura that the first two phases that health officials are emphasizing allowing people to go and sit “to eat food, not necessarily where you go to drink alcohol and socialize.” But you can still goto a restaurant (which most of them serve alcohol) to drink alcohol and socialize, so I’m not sure this actually does anything.

So,here is my attempt to provide my own recommendations for Mayor Bowser:

1. Restaurant should be defined as any establishment that has received a license from DCRA (e.g. restaurant) to serve food on premises

This is clear, already-existing legal definition of restaurant. It includes both spots that don’t or do serve alcohol. It requires no subjective determination of what is a “substantial food component.”

2. All establishments allowed to open for customers to drink and eat should be held to the same standards.

If DC is worried about risky behavior happening, there is no guarantee that this will happen in a restaurant but not in a tavern. Most Sunday Funday Brunchday start (and sometimes end) at restaurant licensees. All places that are open will be closely scrutinized not only by DCRA, DOH, and ABRA, but they will be scrutinized by the general public.

If you are banning dance floors, standing, live music, etc., there’s no reason why bars and even nightclubs that have food be allowed the same ability to stay viable with outdoor seating and eventual 50% capacity as those with restaurant licenses if all operate under the same restrictions. It’s clear to me that’s why many states have banned bars in early phases, but that ignores that many bars in DC have tables and serve really good food.

Although many people will not like me even suggesting this, if it’s really a concern that you don’t want people just going out to drink with friends, do what several states have already done and require that food be purchased if alcohol is served to a customer. This would be consistent with the takeout/delivery alcohol flexibility but would allow taverns, nightclubs (DC9), and multipurpose facilities (The Hamilton) the ability to stay viable.

3. If you find a workable standard for “substantial food component,” that excludes swath of licensees, allow liberal reclassification of licenses.

If somehow you are able to RBG a workable standard for “substantial food component” and for some reason restrict this to only restaurants and maybe some taverns on a case by case basis,  you must allow all liquor-serving establishments the ability to reclassify themselves temporarily to a restaurant liquor license, even if that means they will have to partner with a food truck or ghost kitchen to provide meals. The ReOpen DC committee suggested “Flexibility for food service establishments to change the type of license they hold within the food service category” but the  term “food service” is a DCRA basic business license term which seems to imply it’s suggesting that other types of licenses like caterers, deli’s, and food products can switch to restaurant; this should clarify that ABRA licensees can move to another license if it’s necessary to be open as a “restaurant.”

You still have time to make the guidelines and the order right. Make good use of it.

Mayor Bowser Proposes More Hours and Take-Out/Delivery Alcohol For Bars and Restaurants Permanently

Image by Mr.TinDC licensed under Creative Commons.

Mayor Bowser introduced her Fiscal Year 2021 proposed budget today (Mon. 5/18) and buried in the Fiscal Impact Statement from DC’s CFO (see page 33-34) that I found after some serious Googling are some smart proposals in the Alcoholic Beverage Sales and Delivery Amendment Act of 2020:

  • Permanently allow registered bars and restaurants to provide take-out and delivery alcohol (likely accompanied with prepared food item, existing registered licensees would be grandfathered by April 1, 2021, new ones would have to request endorsement. Basic $200/annual fee required).
  • Allow bars and restaurants to start serving alcohol at 6a daily (great for soccer or just getting off the clock) instead of 8a (2a weekday and 3a weekend closure still in effect)
  • Allow liquor stores, grocery stores, convenience stores, breweries, distilleries to sell between 6a-1a instead of current 7a-midnight
  • Expand 4a last call around inauguration from current Jan 15-21st to Jan 9th-24th and a few more Fri/Sat nights around a mid-week holiday (already allowed around all federal/DC holidays). Expands from about 27 days year to about 33 days (depending on calendar)

The law will still have to be considered by the Council but these are solid, easy ideas to implement. Note that the hours in particular could still be limited by settlement agreement but I don’t expect indoor hours to be restricted before 8a except maybe when a bar is adjacent to a house and a rowdy neighbor.

For the next four years, DC expects to generate additional sales tax revenues of $635k/year (6a bars/restaurants including food), $140k/year (extra 4a), and $8k/year (iquor stores being open longer). An assumption has been made that additional delivery/takeout alcohol will be a substitute for other sales.