Adams Mill Bar and Grill, the bar in Adams Morgan where 19-year-old Laura Treanor drank the night she died of alcohol poisoning, had been closed by the city’s Alcoholic Beverage Regulation Administration just a week before her death for serving alcohol to overly intoxicated patrons.
According to ABRA documents recently obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request submitted by The Hatchet, the bar was fined $12,000 and ordered to serve a consecutive 10-day suspension this year from Jan. 5 to Jan. 14. The punishment came after a 2008 ABRA hearing determined that, among other offenses, the bar had served alcohol after hours and to overly intoxicated patrons, according to ABRA documents.
Paul Kierins, a manager at the bar, confirmed that Adams Mill was closed for those 10 days, and said that the time was spent performing renovations, installing a new bar-top and repainting the walls.
In August of 2007, ABRA investigators observed bartenders knowingly serving a “highly intoxicated” female who was having trouble standing and walking, according to a case report filed after investigators visited the bar in response to complaints about serving alcohol after-hours. Investigators also observed three to six male patrons throw beer at one another as “the bartender looked on and laughed,” according to the same report. In addition, the establishment was cited in 2004 after undercover minors were able to purchase alcoholic drinks at the bar.
Treanor, a sophomore, was found dead in her Ivory Tower room by her roommate the morning of Jan. 23, and an autopsy report later determined her cause of death to be acute alcohol intoxication.
Bryan Weaver, Chairman of the Advisory Neighborhood Commission 1C, where the bar is located, said there have been many complaints about the bar – including reports of underage drinking – resulting in several previous investigations.
“I think Adams Mill sort of started off as a neighborhood bar, it only had the first floor originally and it was sort of a place where people gathered to watch football games and go eat and sort of hang out. It wasn’t like other Adams Morgan places,” Weaver said. “And when they expanded into the second and third floor, it started drawing on a lot of the universities, which is great for weekends for businesses, but sometimes the weekends would get out of control and we would get reports of overcrowding on their patio and overcrowding inside the establishment. There were often times we would get reports of underage drinking.”
Darrell Green, the owner of the establishment, was ordered to sell the bar to a new owner as part of a compromise, after numerous violations – including a failure to pay its $12,000 fine – threatened the bar’s liquor license.
Cynthia Simms, a spokeswoman for ABRA, confirmed the bar has been “transferred with a sale to a new owner, who is going through the licensing process at this time,” but Weaver said he still sees Green at the bar, and Kierins referenced Green as the owner last week. Green did not return four separate requests for comment from The Hatchet.