City approves Tonic’s liquor license

Web Update

Thursday, Jan. 10, 5:15 p.m.

A city agency approved Tonic’s liquor license Wednesday, ending a yearlong legal and community debate over serving alcohol in a residential area.

The Alcoholic Beverage Control Board, which oversees liquor licenses in the District, approved the restaurant’s license at their first meeting of 2008. The license was issued on Thursday morning, and a spokesperson for the ABC said Tonic is clear to serve alcohol.

Jeremy Pollok, co-owner of Tonic, said he plans to be serving alcohol by Thursday night. He added they would also have a daily “Happy Hour” from 5 to 7 p.m., consisting of half-price draft beers, $5 wine and 50-cent Buffalo wings.

Most of the alcohol will consist of beer and wine, though there will also be Bloody Mary specials on weekend mornings.

“We knew it was coming, so we were able to get ourselves ready and we just need to get the license to our vendors and wholesalers,” Pollok said.

The restaurant will be open until 1 a.m. Monday to Thursday and 2 a.m. Friday to Sunday. They will not serve pitchers of beer or have drink specials past 7 p.m., in accordance with the ABC order.

The ABC denied Tonic’s first application in the fall of 2006 due to a District law preventing retailers from serving alcohol in residential neighborhood unless there is already another establishment with the same license. Last summer, the D.C. City Council amended the law, allowing Tonic to apply.

The University and several community groups criticized the second application, but the sole official protestor was Michael Kimmel – a lawyer representing several dozen residents of the Letterman House and The Statesman. Kimmel unsuccessfully tried to lessen Tonic’s hours of operation. Kimmel said at a hearing in December that residents were concerned about loud activity in the area that might result from Tonic having a liquor license.

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