Inauguration hours may not apply to local bars

Many Foggy Bottom bars and restaurants may not be able to extend their hours during inauguration weekend because of previously signed agreements – despite actions from the D.C. City Council to allow venues to remain open longer.

Bars, nightclubs and restaurants will not be allowed to stay open later and serve alcohol till 4 a.m. if they have signed voluntary agreements with their Advisory Neighborhood Commission to limit hours of operation and alcohol service, according to the mayor’s office. The proposed extension of hours for the inaugural celebration would only be allowed over a five-day period beginning at midnight the morning of Jan. 17 and ending at 11:59 p.m. on Jan. 21.

Establishments that have signed voluntary agreements with an ANC and wish to extend their hours may petition the commission for a waiver, but local ANC Chairman Asher Corson said only one of six businesses in the area with a voluntary agreements had contacted ANC 2A as of Dec. 23.

Swaptak Das, president and chief executive officer of the Shadow Room nightclub, asked the ANC to give his club permission to extend its hours at the commission’s last meeting earlier this month. The ANC prepared to vote on Das’s petition but never did because a commissioner said she and the public had not been given advance notice. After the objection, Das told the commission he would pull the motion off the table.

Other local agreements include Tonic, which is open until 1 a.m. Sunday through Thursday and 2 a.m. Friday and Saturday; Mcfaddens Restaurant and Saloon, which is open until midnight Sunday and Monday and 2 a.m. Tuesday through Saturday; and Marshall’s Bar and Grille, which is open until 2 a.m. every day.

Corson has the ability to call a special meeting of the ANC to discuss the issue again, but said he did not expect to do so if only one establishment petitioned the hours. If he does decide to call a meeting, Corson said the ANC would consider all six of the establishments with voluntary agreements.

“I agree with the mayor’s interpretation of the law. The whole point of voluntary agreements is they’re binding no matter what legal hours are for the rest of the city . There’s no way to get around it and there shouldn’t be,” Corson said.

Notti Bianche General Manager William Roulidis said the restaurant does not plan to extend their hours. Managers at Tonic and McFadden’s were unavailable for comment.

Businesses in the District wishing to extend their hours during the inauguration can begin registering with the Alcoholic Beverage Regulation Administration on Dec. 22. A letter on the mayor’s Web site from ABRA Director Maria M. Delaney stated that in order for an establishment to be eligible for extended hours, it must not have a voluntary agreement, or it must possess a voluntary agreement without restrictions on its hours.

Establishments wanting extended hours must register with ABRA by Jan. 7 at 4 p.m., so any seeking waivers from the ANC will most likely need them before that date. ANC 2A does not have a regularly scheduled meeting until late January.

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