Local restaurant’s liquor license renewal comes with operational limitations

The Alcoholic Beverage Control Board renewed the liquor license for the local restaurant Bayou last week, after the restaurant and a neighborhood group finalized a cooperative agreement that sets guidelines for the restaurant’s operations.

The Foggy Bottom and West End Advisory Neighborhood Commission, along with five other individuals, had filed a protest against Bayou’s reapplication for a liquor license, citing noise as their most pressing concern about the New Orleans-themed eatery at 2519 Pennsylvania Ave.

The ANC and five individuals retracted their protest March 16 as the ABC Board incorporated the cooperative agreement into the renewal of Bayou’s liquor license.

Measures in the agreement include instituting cut-offs for live music at midnight Sunday to Wednesday, at 1 a.m. on Thursday, and 1:30 a.m. on Friday and Saturday. All performers will leave through the front door instead of the back to cut down on alleyway noise. Windows will also be kept closed to reduce noise.

“I think the big concern was the summer months are coming up, that’s when they’ll open their windows, will it be the same as it is? We’re in, for lack of better words, a probationary period now,” ANC Chair Rebecca Coder said at the ANC meeting.

Bayou already installed a $7,000 soundproof wall in an effort to cut down on the amount of noise complaints. The restaurant was previously The Rookery, a rock establishment known for its live music that often became too loud for residents. The agreement dictates that Bayou close at 2:15 a.m. Sunday to Thursday and 3:15 a.m. on Friday and Saturday.

Coder said the cooperative agreement would last for one year, and if there aren’t any Alcoholic Beverage Regulation Administration violations during that time, the agreement will be lifted.

“We were very pleased [about the license renewal],” Bayou co-owner Jason York said. “It wasn’t a very contentious issue. We like the neighborhood and the neighborhood likes us.”

Amy D’Onofrio contributed to this report

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