Restaurants yes, bars…

I got an email about Be Bar sometime ago. It too is on 9th Street and is facing opposition from a church. Yet, unlike the Vegetate Queen of Sheba vs Shiloh fight, I really haven’t had much interest. Mainly because it isn’t a restaurant. I like restaurants. You come in, someone seats you, they give you menus and people bring you food. I like those kinds of places. I’m not a bar person. Unless dragged to one, I tend not to go to them. So I’m very lukewarm if not slightly cool on the topic of non-restaurants and ABC licenses.
Be Bar is to be an “upscale tavern/lounge”, so food may be served there but it is not the main attraction. As a restaurant, for the definition of an ABC license is a place where at least 45% of its gross annual receipts are from the sale of food. A tavern sells both food and alcohol and may have entertainment of some sort and there is a limit on the size of the dance floor. Then there are nightclubs and they tend to get shot down by residential groups so I’m not going to bother to define that.
The fight between Be Bar and Cathedral Baptist Church…. Baptist Churches… ABC license fights… on 9th St… I sense a theme there. Anyway, where was I? The fight between Be Bar and Cathedral Baptist has been written up in the Washington Blade. I have really nothing new to add. Well except that the hearing for the Be Bar license will be this Wednesday, at 10am, 941 North Cap, 7th floor.

6 thoughts on “Restaurants yes, bars…”

  1. From the Blade article, the Rev. Evans says:

    “I suggested they open that bar in Ward 3,” he said. “That’s a wonderful area in which to open that bar. But not in the Shaw community where there is a solid family situation, a solid church situation in the community that has existed for hundreds of years.”

    Do I live in this same “Shaw” to which he refers? I get confused, what with the abandoned property blight, ubiqutous liquor stores and drug dealing.

    Rev. Evans says something like this would “undermine the moral character of the community”. Right….

  2. Whether or not one intends to patronize BeBar, the principle is what’s important here. Do we want churches, with Maryland/VA congregations, deciding license issues within DC? Do we want the homophobia of the Baptist community dictating the type of business that’s allowed to open in our neighborhoods?

    Its actually a civil rights issue, although I doubt Rev. Evans would see it that way.

    I suspect BeBar won’t make the cut. What’s important is to *throw out* the current ANC and city council representatives who support these churches. Let’s have our own litmus test: “Do you, running for office, agree that churches should have no greater or lesser voice in licensing decisions than any other citizen group?”

    – JM

  3. Watch out for “restaurants” like H20 that are really nightclubs. H20 operates under the Hogates restaurant licence and has a cover charge to cover a really nice free buffet. They give away more than enough food to meet the definition.


  4. JM,

    While I totally agree with everything that you are saying…well except one point…we need to throw out the current ANC. Leroy Thorpe, while a total homophobe and a bit brash, has done alot for our neighborhood. Alex Padro is another one that has done a ton for the ‘hood as well.

    I do think the other two, Doris Brooks and Barbara Curtis, are nothing more than a rubber stamp to whatever longtime Shaw entity comes in to complain (i.e. Shiloh complaining about Vegetate). With Doris and Barbara clearly in the camp of Chairman Thorpe, but I think if the two of them go…it is a much more managable ANC.

    Now here is the problem…Doris and Barbara represent two areas that business owners have no natural constituency (i.e. new folks looking to raise their proprty values and bring businesses into the ‘hood) in their areas of the ANC.

    So how do you defeat them? We need to support more and more development in Shaw. We need to dilute the ANC so much that eventually they have to redraw the lines.

    Soon the Shiloh “political powerhouse” myth will be exposed but until then how do the folks who support projects like, QoS, Vegetate and BeBar get their voices heard as the people who actually live there?

    The answer is…we show up enmass. Every ANC meeting should be packed to the rafters with Yuppies, Buppies and others who want to see this neighborhood achieve the next level. When someone from outside the neighborhood comes in saying that they represent the true “voice” of the ‘hood…we question it. When Shiloh flexes it’s political “muscle” we ask to see exactly how many of their parishoners actually live and pay taxes in DC…and when they refuse we exploit this.

    My point is now it is time to “go to the matresses” if we want change. I am guilty of sitting on my arse the last 6-10 months…but I have an excuse I am rarely in DC as I travel for work…alot. But that changes now. The first Wednesday of each month should be blocked from 6:30 to 9:30 as a must attend event…

    As a political idol of mine once said…”all politics is local” and it is time that we realize this.

    To the BeBar guys…keep the faith! My wife and I (and most of the neighbors) support you.

  5. I think bars are nice places to hang out and talk to friends and i would love to see a nice bar on 9th street. It would certainly be a lot nicer than the nearly complete set of vacant boarded up decaying historic buildings lining the 1200-1600 block of 9th. I’ve been kicking myself for missing the last ANC 2C meeting. I’ll definately be at the next one.

    Additionally having previously lived just off of 17th for many years, it is possible to have churches and bars in close proximity without the world ending. Certainly in New York where I also lived this was par for the course.

    Talk of the demon drink when practically the only businesses operating on 9th are liquor stores is just silly. People drinking with friends while sitting in a bar or restaurant is a lot less objectionable than people sitting on sidewalk drinking out of a brown paper bag then urinating on the aforementioned sidewalk.

    (Hmm, I think I’m rambling. Best drink more coffee)

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