Georgetown alcohol measure set for vote

Photo by Dctraveler.com
Liquor licenses such as those of The Third Edition are granted and managed according to D.C. laws
Liquor licenses such as those of The Third Edition are granted and managed according to D.C. laws
The D.C. City Council is expected Tuesday to extend the Georgetown moratorium on alcohol licenses for another five years – not the three years first recommended by the Alcoholic Beverage Regulation Administration under Chairman Charles Brodsky. The five-year extension has the full backing of the residential and business communities, political leaders, including Advisory Neighborhood Commission 2E and D.C. Councilmember Jack Evans, as well as Georgetown University.
 
The moratorium was enacted over 20 years ago when Georgetown was “overwhelmed with liquor licenses,” according to Karen Cruse, co-chair of CAG’s Alcoholic Beverage Control committee. “There was always a party scene late at night with the streets overrun with cars, parking problems and people roaming around,” she recalls. “There were just too many bars in too small a space [and the other] commercial establishments were just being overwhelmed.”  "Kiddie bars,” like Crazy Horse and Annie’s, catered to “kids who drank and partied and over-imbibed.”
 
Cruse estimates there were some 120 licenses when the current moratorium was imposed.  With passage of the new legislation, the ceiling will move to 68 licenses with the addition of seven new licenses allowed by the new cap, according to Cynthia W. Simms, ABRA’s Community Resource Officer.
 
Cruse says the moratorium has “worked very, very well [to bring in] a diversity of uses,” for example, Cady’s Alley, also known as the Georgetown’s Design District, on M Street, west of 33rd Street, replaced five or six liquor-licensed businesses.
 
ABRA, led by Fenty appointee Brodsky, first granted only a three-year extension, apparently not realizing that the  Georgetown Business Improvement District and other businesses support for the five-year term.  After strong endorsement from ANC 2E, Councilmember Evans and others, Chairman Brodsky and ABRA substituted the five year renewal.
 
Commissioners Tom Birch and Bill Starrels led the ANC effort.  “The moratorium insures a continued balance of businesses in Georgetown’s commercial district.” said Birch.  “Not just restaurants and bars, but a variety of shopping experiences.”  Starrels added, “I’m very pleased that all entities in Georgetown got together. It shows the strength of the community as a whole and serves both businesses and residents.  I am hopeful and confident the Council will agree.”