TONIC liquor license decision indefinitely delayed

D.C. officials announced Wednesday that the liquor license application for TONIC, a restaurant and bar set to replace Quigley’s on 21st and G streets, is delayed indefinitely.

TONIC, co-owned by GW alumnus Jeremy Pollak, faced zoning difficulties earlier this year. The Hatchet reported that permission for construction was delayed while permits were reviewed in April.

TONIC faced opposition from nearby apartment buildings at the Alcoholic Beverage Regulation Administration hearing Wednesday morning. Michael Kimmel, a lawyer representing the Statesman and the Letterman House, fought the food venue’s alcohol permit.

The board looked at two regulations causing concern over the license: one requiring at least 400 feet between a liquor license establishment and a school, and another stating that only a hotel can hold a liquor license in a residentially zoned area. Last week, ABRA spokesperson Jeff Coudriet said the residential restriction was the real issue since another liquor license exists within 400 feet of the School Without Walls.

In their rebuttal, lawyers representing the community argued that the other liquor law-licensed property within 400 feet of the School Without Walls, Lisner Auditorium, was irrelevant to the situation since the license was granted before a newer law was enacted.

TONIC’s lawyer, Dimitri Mallios, said the zoning regulation for residentially zoned areas has been overlooked in previous cases involving on-campus venues at American, Georgetown, Catholic and Gallaudet universities.

Kimmel also questioned the necessity of a bar on campus. “Most GW students are under 21, so I don’t see how it could affect them” he said.

Aster Tessema, a member of the Statesman board, was present to support her petition to deny TONIC its liquor license. The Statesman and Letterman House are both located at on F Street between 20th and 21st streets – about a block away from TONIC.

“The students are lovely here, but we’re up until 3 a.m. with the parties on the corner,” Tessema said. “The issue is the noise. We want students to know we’re not against them.”

ABRA Chair Charles Burger, a GW alumnus, closed the hearing and announced that the board would need to review the legal information before making a decision.

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