A popular local hangout is at risk of losing its liquor license.
McFadden’s Restaurant and Saloon’s license expires this year, and must be renewed if the establishment is to continue serving alcoholic beverages. However, a resolution from the local Advisory Neighborhood Commission may thwart a license renewal.
The resolution, which was passed in June, argues that McFadden’s clients are a disturbance to local residents. McFadden’s, located at 2401 Pennsylvania Ave., closes at 2 a.m. during the week and a half-hour later on weekends.
The bar is one of the most popular hotspots for GW’s 21 and over crowd.
“The bottom line is there was raucous behavior and late night noise and other problems associated with bar life just generally,” ANC member Jim Lewis said.
ANCs, set up throughout D.C., are six-member committees that advise city officials on residential and zoning issues; while they have no power to enact laws, their resolutions often influence the opinions of city decision-makers. Such was the case last summer, when a Foggy Bottom 7-Eleven on New Hampshire Avenue failed to secure approval to stay open past 11 p.m. after ANC members came out against extending the store’s hours.
Commission member and GW senior Graham Long said five ANC members and Foggy Bottom residents spoke out against the renewal at the June meeting for about 15 minutes. Grievances included customers trespassing on neighbors’ property, vandalism and disorderly conduct.
Long, who abstained from voting, said he was unsure whether there have been any documented cases of disturbances from McFadden’s customers. Dorothy Miller, who heads the ANC, refused to comment about the issue.
“Given the really tense relations between the community and the students, I don’t know how much of this is truth and how much is allegations,” he said.
Long added that McFadden’s did not send a representative to speak at the June ANC meeting.
“I’m tempted to look poorly on an establishment when something comes up for a vote and they’re not there to voice their opinion,” Long said.
But a McFadden’s manager said the allegations against the bar are baseless and that it was “pointless” to engage in a debate with the ANC.
“We have residents above us that don’t have problems with us but people five or six blocks away who do,” said Brian Westlye, general manager of McFadden’s.
The Alcoholic Beverage Regulation Administration will hold a hearing between the two parties on Sept. 15 to bring the ANC’s complaints “to the table,” said Cynthia Simms, the department’s community resource officer. Simms said McFadden’s and the ANC could enter into a voluntary agreement at that time, such as closing at an earlier hour.
Simms said only the ABRA can determine whether McFadden’s license will be revoked, but she does not know when a decision will be made.
“All of the factors will be taken into consideration,” she said.
Long said whether McFadden’s gets its liquor license renewed is “out of the ANC’s hands now.”
“The (ABRA) more likely than the ANC is going to want specific information,” he said. “I think you can take their decision with a lot more weight than ours.”
-Michael Barnett and Ryan
Holeywell contributed to this report.