PANGEA on track for liquor license

The Foggy Bottom/West End Advisory Neighborhood Commission unanimously supported granting a liquor license to PANGEA artisan market and caf? Wednesday night at their monthly meeting.

The ANC advises D.C. government officials and agencies on community concerns. The elected commissioners’ support allows the shop to operate with a stipulated license as soon as this week as long as there are no complaints filed, a PANGEA official said. If a complaint is filed against the shop for they will have their privileges revoked until the Alcoholic Beverage Control Board grants the full license.

The store will be able to serve beer and wine at periodic cultural events if the license is granted. For PANGEA’s 10 months of operation, the ABC Board granted 18 one-day liquor licenses for such events.

ANC Commissioners had positive things to say about the venue and did not believe there would be any problems.

“I think it will have a positive impact on the neighborhood,” said Commissioner Vince Micone. “I can’t imagine a reason why the ABC (Board) will not look favorably on the stipulated license or the full-blown application.”

PANGEA artisan market and caf? opened in the International Finance Corporation building at the corner of Pennsylvania Avenue and 21st Street last May to exhibit and sell crafts and goods made in developing countries throughout the world. Along with the market aspect, the store encourages learning about artisans through interactive consoles that display videos from the artisans. They also encourage learning about Third-World countries at cultural events featuring performers and speakers.

Sunil Shrestha, president of World Craft and Caf?, Inc., the company running PANGEA, said he does not believe the stipulated license or the permanent license will have trouble getting through the ABC Board’s approval process.

“I don’t see any problem (in the future),” Shrestha said. “In the past everything went smoothly.”

A permanent beer and wine license would have helped for a past event involving an artisan from Turkey, Shrestha said. He said serving Turkish wine to the customers to accompany the Turkish pieces of art would have heightened the experience, but there was not enough time to apply for a one-day license beforehand.

Shrestha, who received an M.D. and a Ph.D. in engineering and management from GW, is planning to showcase his caf? to the local area by hosting a neighborhood appreciation day in April and possibly hosting a GW alumni dinner.

Jacqueline Den Otter, who works in the IFC and is a frequent attendee of the caf? and its cultural events, thought a permanent liquor license will be a great addition to the caf?.

“It’s very neat and appropriate for the cultural background of the events,” she said. “It will fit in well with the ambiance and you’ll be able to drink something you won’t find at Brickskellers.”

Brickskellers is a bar east of Dupont Circle that claims to serve over 300 varieties of beer.

Den Otter said she often meets at the caf? because it is different from your average Starbucks and that the events she has attended – some of which featured speakers from Bolivia and dance troupes from Guatemala – fit in well with the market’s environment.

While sophomore Priyam Chockshi has never attended an event at PANGEA, she said she frequently patronizes the caf? for its service and student discounts.

“I think it’s a good idea (to serve beer and wine),” she said. “I personally wouldn’t go for the alcohol – I’d go for the event – but alcohol would be a plus.”

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