Neighborhood group votes on local liquor license applications

Liquor license applications for some local businesses – including one to be part of The Avenue development – were met with mixed reaction from residents of Foggy Bottom and the West End last week.

Advisory Neighborhood Commission 2A met last Wednesday to vote on Alcoholic Beverage Regulation Administration applications for a new movie theater, a local Walgreens and a restaurant to be located in the development at 2200 Pennsylvania Ave.

The application for the new West End Cinema received unanimous support from the ANC commissioners.

“We look forward to having you and your establishment in our community,” ANC Chair Rebecca Coder said to Josh Levin, a D.C. native and an ABRA license holder at three other establishments in the District.

Levin attended the meeting to get the ANC’s support of the movie theater’s new ABRA license. Levin said he aims for a grand opening Oct. 29.

Levin obtained a stipulated license and needed a voluntary agreement from the ANC concerning the hours of operation and alcohol service. The ANC voted during the meeting and approved the voluntary agreement unanimously.

As part of the agreement, the proposed cinema hours of operation are 10 a.m. to midnight on Sunday through Thursday, and 10 a.m. to 2 a.m. Friday and Saturday. Restrictions are also in place regarding the vending and consumption of alcoholic beverages. The purchase of alcohol is limited to theater patrons only, and these patrons are limited to two beverages per individual.

With the organization’s agreement, Levin said he plans to have a soft opening as early as Oct. 10 to debut his establishment to the community.

A Walgreens, located at 1217 22nd St., has also been pushing for an ABRA license, but the community remains reluctant of granting a license.

Seventy-two District residents filed a protest to ABRA on Sept. 7 against the Walgreens liquor license on three grounds: peace and quiet, traffic and safety. The establishment is open from 9 a.m. to 10 p.m., seven days a week and hopes to distribute alcohol during these hours.

While many residents are directing their protest towards the local Walgreens store, it is the national company that announced in 2009 that it would bring back beer and wine sales in some of its more than 7,000 stores, according to a Walgreens press release. The chain used to sell the alcoholic beverages but stopped the practice in most of its stores in the 1990s.

The ANC did not vote on the Walgreen’s liquor license because the deadline for public comment on the license has already passed, meaning a statement by the ANC wouldn’t be included in ABRA’s decision.

Commissioners of the board, however, expressed their support of the 72 residents in efforts to prevent the license from being approved, as there are already two establishments that hold ABRA licenses within one block of this Walgreens.

The ANC also discussed the opening of a new restaurant, Passion Fish 6, to be located at the ground level of Square 54, known as The Avenue. The restaurant is seeking a liquor license.

The ANC did not take a particular stance on the license, saying that they will support any decision made by ABRA.

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