Area venues receive community approval for liquor licenses

Popular Foggy Bottom bars and restaurants did not have much trouble receiving community approval to renew their liquor licenses at an Advisory Neighborhood Commission meeting Wednesday, when the commission took no action for or against 10 restaurants near campus.

McFadden’s, Thai Place and Froggy Bottom Pub are among the businesses moving forward with renewing their liquor licenses since the ANC did not try to block any establishments up for a license renewal.

“We did not oppose the renewal of any liquor licenses because there have been no complaints from our constituents about the establishments,” said ANC 2A Chair Rebecca Coder.

The commission cannot approve or deny an establishment’s request to get a liquor license, as that power belongs to the Alcoholic Beverage Regulation Administration. But ABRA takes into account the commission’s opinions on bars and restaurants’ interactions with the community.

One of the commission’s tasks is to voice the concerns of neighborhood residents, who, in the past, have voiced complaints about disruptions of the peace from restaurants and liquor-serving establishments, but no businesses were said to have problems at the meeting.

“Typically we look for a pattern around complaints,” Coder said. “The most consistent pattern relates to noise. The standard we look for is how the bars impact peace, safety and the quiet of the neighborhood.”

If a pattern is found in complaints from constituents, Coder said the ANC could bring the problem up to the Alcoholic Beverage Regulation Administration or the Metropolitan Police Department.

MPD will investigate the problem and, if evidence of a problem is found, ABRA can penalize the establishment, she added.

“Two places that are usually problems for West End are the Rookery, because of their live bands, which can be a big noise issue,” Coder said. “And McFadden’s, which sometimes has issues with underage drinking.”

The Hatchet reported in 2008 that McFadden’s was shut down for a day and fined for an underage drinking violation.

However, Coder said that since then McFadden’s has turned around.

“They hired a new chef and have expanded their menu. The new McFadden’s team is headed in the right direction,” Coder said.

“The ANC looks to make sure that the establishments are conscious that they are in a residential neighborhood. We all have to live together,” she said.

Dave Baron, the bar manager of McFadden’s and a GW alumnus, said Saturday that the restaurant has an agreement with the ANC to close earlier on certain nights.

“We try to be respectful to our neighbors,” Baron said. “We try to keep the place looking presentable from the outside, and we always have security outside.”

Since the underage drinking violation, McFadden’s implemented more in-depth training of staff, Baron said. A new manager in charge of security staff was hired as well.

“We’ve further trained our bartenders to always check IDs before they serve any drinks,” he said.

Other establishments whose liquor licenses were addressed at the ANC meeting were The Exchange, Meiwah, Kinkead’s, Café Lombardy, Panda Café, Primi Piatti and Sizzling Express.

Priya Anand contributed to this report.

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