ABRA's Last Call Newsletter: July/Aug 2019 Edition

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Last Call Newsletter

July-Aug. 2019

Renewal Calendar

The deadline for all taverns and nightclubs to renew their Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) On-Premises Retailer Class C/D license is Monday, September 30, 2019.

Renewal packets will be mailed to licensees in early to mid-August. Once received, licensees can renew their license in-person at the Alcoholic Beverage Regulation Administration's (ABRA) headquarters.

All renewed licenses are valid up to three years and expire on September 30, 2022. Licensees have the option of paying fees annually or for multiple years.

In anticipation of packets being mailed, licensees should:

Renewals not received by the deadline will be subject to a late fee of $50 per business day, starting on Tuesday, October 1, 2019, not to exceed the cost of the license, and potential cancellation. 

  • Quarterly Statements—On-Premises Class C/D Hotels and Restaurants
    Due: Tuesday, July 30, 2019

    On-Premises Retailer Class CR and CH licensees are required to meet annual gross food sales of $2,000 per occupant or 45% of annual gross receipts. On-Premises Retailer Class DR and DH licensees are required to meet annual gross food sales of $1,500 per occupant or 45% of annual gross receipts.

    Statements must report gross sales receipts for food and alcohol as well as total expenses for the purchase of food and alcohol for April through June 2019.

  • Semi-Annual Caterers Report
    Due: Tuesday, July 30, 2019

    Alcohol-licensed caterers in the District are required to submit semi-annual reports to the ABC Board (23 DCMR § 2006.1) that report sales and expenditures for both alcoholic beverages and food.

    The upcoming due report must detail January through June 2019 gross sales receipts.

  • Extended Holiday Hours for Labor Day / Columbus Day
    Due: Friday, August 2, 2019 (Labor Day); Saturday, September 14, 2019 (Columbus Day)

    Through DC’s Extended Holiday Hours program, restaurants, bars, nightclubs and hotels can apply to be allowed to sell and serve alcohol until 4:00 a.m. and operate 24 hours a day over select holiday periods. Once approved to participate, the registration is valid for all remaining applicable holidays that year and each year after.

  • Annual Third Year Payments—Class B License Holders
    Due: Monday, September 30, 2019

    Establishments holding a Manufacturer Class B, Off-Premises Retailer Class B, or Wholesalers Class B license, with a balance due for the third year of their license, will be mailed statements in early to mid-August 2019. Class B licenses are valid up to three years and fees can be paid annually or for multiple years all at once.

    Only licensees that have yet to provide payment for their third and final year of their license will be mailed invoices. Payment must be received in full by the deadline to avoid penalties and/or cancellation of the license. 

New Alcohol Laws (2)

Last month, the Council’s Committee on Business and Economic Development, chaired by Ward 5 Councilmember Kenyan P. McDuffie, heard testimony from more than 20 public witnesses and ABRA Director Fred Moosally on four bills introduced by Mayor Muriel Bowser and a fifth bill introduced by At-Large Councilmember David Grosso.

The bills include:

Mayor Bowser-introduced

Councilmember Grosso-authored

ABRA will provide updates on the progress of these five bills in future newsletters.

West Dupont

The ABC Board has scheduled a public hearing concerning the West Dupont Circle Moratorium Zone (WDCMZ) for Wednesday, July 24, 2019 at 10:00 a.m. The ABC Board will accept written comments regarding the WDCMZ until August 2, 2019.

Under the terms of the existing moratorium, set to expire on October 27, 2019, there can be no nightclub licenses issued within the zone which extends 600 feet in all directions from the intersection of 21st and P Streets NW. In addition, no nightclub licenses can be transferred into the zone.

Exemptions are extended to all hotel licensees, establishments on the 1500 block of Connecticut Avenue NW, and establishments located in or to be located in the New Hampshire side of 1 Dupont Circle NW.

The ABC Board last addressed the WDCMZ on September 28, 2016. At the time, the ABC Board maintained the number of nightclub licenses at zero and removed the restrictions on the other class alcohol licensees.

Only four moratorium zones remain in the District — WDCMZ (established in 1996), Glover Park (since 1999); Adams Morgan (since 2000); and Langdon Park (since 2017). The Georgetown Moratorium instituted in 1989 was lifted in 2016, and the 17th Street Liquor License Moratorium put in place in 1994 was repealed in 2017.

Two Existing, One New (2)

On Tuesday, July 9, 2019, the DC Council confirmed the reappointment of Donovan W. Anderson (Ward 7) and Bobby Cato, Jr. (Ward 5), and the appointment of Rafi Aliya Crockett (Ward 5) to the ABC Board for terms ending on May 7, 2023.

Chairperson Anderson has served on the ABC Board since 2015. In addition to serving as founder and principal of Donovan Anderson PC Law Office, a general practice law firm with a specialization in special education, Chairperson Anderson serves on several civic boards and committees including US Helping US Inc.

Board member Cato, a consultant with CGH Marketing, LLC, joined the ABC Board in 2018. In his current work, he helps customers grow their client base with a primary focus on engaging African-Americans and other communities of color.

Board member Crockett is a former Treasury officer with extensive leadership experience working on domestic and international compliance programs. Ms. Crockett is currently Principal Consultant with Maroon Compliance and serves on the Board of Directors for the Humanities Council of DC.

James Short Jr. (Ward 7), Mike Silverstein (Ward 2), and Rema Wahabzadah (Ward 6) round out the ABC Board with one position remaining open on the seven-member panel. 

Full-Service Grocery Store

On May 28, 2019, the District Council (Council) unanimously approved the Full-Service Grocery Store Resolution of 2019 (R23-0125).

The legislation memorializes the ABC Board's longtime practice of requiring applicants for Off-Premises Retailer Class B licenses that intend to operate as a full-service grocery store, to submit an architectural drawing with their applications.

With the adoption of R23-0125, it is anticipated that the review of applications will be expedited since the ABC Board will be provided at the onset the necessary details about the layout of the store and the percentage of the store, aisles, and shelves that are to be dedicated to food and non-food items, which have been some of the most commonly asked questions by the ABC Board to applicants.

Sidewalk Cafe at Legitimate Theater

Legitimate theaters—buildings designed and used for the presentation of live plays and other forms of dramatic performance—in the District can now operate sidewalk cafés.

On May 28, 2019 the Council passed the Legitimate Theater Sidewalk Café Authorization Emergency Amendment Act of 2019 (B23-0305), to ensure that the provisions of the permanent legislation became law as soon as possible so legitimate theaters could apply to operate sidewalk cafés in time for the summer. The emergency legislation expires on September 15, 2019.

Since the legislation is not projected to become law before the expiration of the emergency, the Council passed the Legitimate Theater Sidewalk Café Authorization Congressional Review Emergency Amendment Act of 2019 (B23-0375) to ensure the provisions of the emergency legislation continue in effect, without interruption, until the temporary legislation is in effect.

The full legislative history is available on the DC Council website.


ABRA regularly hosts FREE trainings to assist licensees with understanding and adhering to ABC rules, regulations, processes, and how to better work with the community.  Upcoming opportunities include: 

  • ID Compliance
    Friday, July 12, 2019; Saturday, July 13, 2019; and Sunday, July 14, 2019 
    9:00 a.m. - 11:00 a.m. | 11:30 a.m.- 1:30 p.m. | 2:30 p.m.- 4:30 p.m.

    Training will cover preventing sales to minors and intoxicated individuals, techniques to accurately verify IDs, tips for spotting fake IDs, and more.
  • ABC Licensee Orientation
    Thursday, August 8, 2019 2:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.

    Curriculum includes DC alcohol laws and regulations, tips for working effectively with the community, settlement agreements, expectations of licensees and best practices, as well as noise abatement and sound management.
  • Books and Records Training for Hotels and Restaurants
    Thursday, September 26, 2019 9:00 a.m. -11:00 a.m. (Spanish interpretation available) | 2:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m. (Korean interpretation available)

    Training covers food sales requirements and reporting, quarterly statement filings, and books and records tracking.

Training Location

All trainings are located at ABRA's office at 2000 14th St., NW, Suite 400 South, 4th Floor, Washington, DC 20009.