Neighborhood group protests live music at 51st State Tavern

Geoff Bosworht, the general manager for 51st State Tavern, presented a change to the bar's liquor license at the ANC meeting Wednesday. Charlie Lee | Hatchet Staff Photographer
Geoff Bosworht, the general manager for 51st State Tavern, presented a change to the bar’s liquor license at the ANC meeting Wednesday. Charlie Lee | Hatchet Staff Photographer

This post was written by Hatchet reporter Meredith Matthews.

The Foggy Bottom and West End Advisory Neighborhood Commission discussed a pair of liquor licenses Wednesday night, voting unanimously to support one and protest the other.

The group protested changes to 51st State Tavern’s liquor license that would allow live acoustic guitar music and a DJ, citing noise concerns.

Geoff Bosworth, the bar’s general manager, said at the meeting that he is most interested in singer-songwriters performing in the tavern, which he said only has space for one or two musicians. He said he has not yet discussed potential noise issues with neighbors.

“We have a pretty good relationship with the neighborhood and didn’t envision any type of entertainment that would disrupt it,” Bosworth said.

Commissioner William Kennedy Smith pointed out the differences in potential disturbance levels between the two kinds of new offerings.

“There is a huge difference between acoustic music and DJ,” Smith said. “The former rarely generates issues, the latter frequently generates issues.”

Bosworth said his bar does not have soundproof windows after commissioners asked about the bar’s features. Commissioner Florence Harmon said noise complaints with the Bayou, a restaurant across the street from 51st State, were resolved once the Bayou had the special windows installed and made sure their back entrance was closed.

“He really worked with the bands to tell them not to leave the back door open and as far as I’ve heard nobody has had an issue now,” Harmon said of the owner of the Bayou.

The ANC also voted to unanimously grant Watergate Liquors LLC a retailer’s liquor license at the meeting. Community members said they discussed most of the license details at the ANC’s meeting last month and were happy to have businesses back in the Watergate.

The commissioners could approve the license now that Smith, who covers the district that includes the Watergate, was present at the meeting. He did not attend last months’ meeting.

“This is a big positive for the neighborhood,” Smith said.

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