West Dupont Circle moratorium hearing scheduled and more news in Last Call

Last Call Newsletter May-June Edition

West Dupont Circle Moratorium Hearing Set for July 22

West Dupont Circle Moratorium Map

The Alcoholic Beverage Control Board (Board) is seeking public input on a proposal from Advisory Neighborhood Commission 2B to modify the West Dupont Circle moratorium. The Board will hold a hearing on the issue at 10 a.m. on Wednesday, July 22.

The proposal requests the moratorium continue to prohibit alcohol licenses for nightclubs in the zone, which extends 600 feet in all directions from the intersection of 21st and P streets, NW. Proposed modifications to the moratorium would lift caps on all other types of licenses. If approved, this would permit new licenses to be issued to liquor stores; beer and wine stores; taverns; and multipurpose facilities in the area. 

Any modifications to the moratorium would be subject to the consideration and approval of both the Board and District of Columbia Council. 

Members of the public are invited to provide comment on the proposal at the Board's hearing. Anyone interested in testifying should contact Alcoholic Beverage Regulation Administration General Counsel Martha Jenkins by 5 p.m., Monday, July 20:

  • Email (Include full name, title, and organization, if applicable, of the person(s) commenting)
  • Call - (202) 442-4456

The hearing will be held at the Alcoholic Beverage Control Board Hearing Room located at 2000 14th St., NW, 4th floor. Public comment will be limited to five minutes in order to allow each person an opportunity to be heard. Those providing input should bring nine copies of their comments to the hearing.

Members of the public that are unable to testify in person can submit written statements to the Board until 5 p.m. on Friday, July 24. Written statements must include the full name, title, organization, if applicable, and signature of the person(s) submitting comment. Submit statements by:

  • Email
  • Mail - Alcoholic Beverage Control Board, 2000 14th St., NW, Suite 400 South, Washington, DC 20009

The Board extended the West Dupont Circle moratorium through September 3. The extension maintains a current limit on the number of licenses that may be issued in the area, which may not exceed: 

  • 2 licenses to liquor stores (retailer's licenses class A)
  • 3 licenses to beer and wine stores (retailer's licenses class B)
  • 6 licenses to taverns (retailer's licenses class C or D)
  • 3 licenses to multipurpose facilities (retailer's licenses class C or D)
  • 0 licenses to nightclubs (retailer's licenses class C or D)

Complete details on the West Dupont Circle Moratorium Zone are available in DC Municipal Regulations Title 23 Section 307.

Four Restaurant Licenses Becoming Available in Georgetown

Georgetown Waterfront

Four alcoholic beverage licenses will be open for application this summer for restaurants in Georgetown. Applications can be submitted to the Alcoholic Beverage Regulation Administration (ABRA) beginning at 8:30 a.m. on Thursday, June 25.

Restaurant licenses in Georgetown are limited due to a cap that exists on the number that can be issued in the neighborhood. Under the Georgetown moratorium regulations, a maximum of 68 restaurants are permitted to be licensed in the area. The soon-to-be-available licenses are the result of four license cancellations in Georgetown.

Applications for the licenses are available online but must be submitted in person. Any applicant must be the actual owner of the business. Businesses interested in applying can do so beginning at 8:30 a.m. on Thursday, June 25 at ABRA's office:

  • 2000 14th St., NW, Suite 400 South, 4th Floor, Washington, DC 20009

Completed license applications will be reviewed on a first-come, first-served basis and are subject to the consideration of the Alcoholic Beverage Control Board. Members of the public that have questions can contact ABRA by emailing or calling (202) 442-4423.

New Restriction in Effect Limiting Alcohol Ads in Windows

A new law is in effect that limits the amount of alcohol-related advertisements that can be posted in an establishment's windows.  

Effective May 2, all advertisements relating to alcoholic beverages can only cover up to 25 percent of an establishment's window space.The restriction applies to all alcohol-licensed establishments in the District.

Investigators from the Alcoholic Beverage Regulation Administration (ABRA) will begin enforcing the new law immediately; however, establishments will be granted a written warning for a first-time offense.

The law, known as the Omnibus Alcoholic Beverage Regulation Amendment Act of 2014 (20-902), went into effect after a Congressional review period expired. Mayor Muriel Bowser signed the bill on Monday, January 26.  

Licensees that have questions can contact ABRA by emailing or calling 202-442-4423.

Outdoor Patio Permit for Manufacturers Proposed

Outdoor Patio

Legislation that would permit a brewery, distillery or winery to operate an outdoor patio areasimilar to restaurants and tavernspassed its first reading before the District of Columbia Council in May. 

The proposed law would allow an alcohol manufacturer that holds an on-site sales and consumption permit to operate an outdoor patio area from 1-9 p.m., seven days a week. If passed, the law would only affect manufacturer licensees in the District. It would not impact brew pubs, distillery pubs or wine pubs.

The Manufacturer’s Sidewalk Cafe and Summer Garden Endorsement Amendment Act of 2015 was proposed by Mayor Bowser on Thursday, April 3 as part of the Fiscal Year 2016 Budget Support Act of 2015. The Alcoholic Beverage Regulation Administration will keep licensees informed as the bill moves through the legislative process.

Defining DJs


Under District law, restaurants and taverns are required to obtain an entertainment endorsement in order for disc jockeys to perform in their establishments. A new law further defines disc jockeys for licensees to help clarify when an entertainment endorsement is required.  

Disc jockeys are now defined as anyone who plays or changes recorded music in addition to:

  • Making announcements;
  • Taking song requests;
  • Running contests or games;
  • Manipulating or mixing music;
  • Providing live entertainment;
  • Playing music from a disc jockey booth; or
  • Altering or manipulating a playlist while it is being played, including adding sound effects or other music.

Anyone who is only playing or changing recorded music is not considered a disc jockey. 

ABC Board Clarifies Permitted Sales for Pub Permit Holders


The Alcoholic Beverage Control Board (Board) issued an advisory opinion in late May to pub permit holders regarding the products they are allowed to sell for off-premises consumption. The Board clarified that whether produced by the license holder or not, the following is permitted:

  • A brew pub permit holder can sell any brand of beer in a growler for off-premises consumption;
  • A distillery pub permit holder can sell any brand of spirits in a closed container for off-premises consumption; and
  • A wine pub permit holder can sell any brand of wine in a closed container for off-premises consumption.

A wine pub permit holder can also sell any brand of cider or mead with an alcohol content of 15 percent or less. Cider and mead are considered wine under District law. Visit ABRA's website to review the Board's complete advisory opinion.

Payments Due for Solicitor Licenses by June 30

Representatives of vendors and wholesalers, also known as solicitors, are required to make license payments with the Alcoholic Beverage Regulation Administration (ABRA) by Tuesday, June 30. ABRA mailed payment notices to solicitor licensees in May. Payment may be mailed or delivered in person to ABRA's office. Beginning July 1, a fee of $50 will be assessed for each day a renewal payment is late. Late fees may not exceed the cost of the license. 

Independence Day Weekend Extended Holiday Hours


During Independence Day weekend, establishments that are registered for the extended holiday hours program can stay open later three days in a row. Under the program, registered licensees can sell and serve alcohol until 4 a.m. on the mornings of July 3, 4 and 5.

Establishments needed to be registered by June 4 in order to participate in Independence Day weekend extended hours. Restaurants, taverns and other on-premises establishments that are not yet registered for the program can still do so in time for Labor Day weekend. The deadline is Friday, August 7. 

During extended holiday hours, registered establishments can remain open until 4 a.m. and operate 24 hours a day during certain federal holidays and three-day holiday weekends. Once licensees are registered, they are able to participate in all eligible holidays in the calendar year. Visit ABRA's website to learn more.

Establishments that have settlement agreements restricting closing hours are not eligible to participate.