ABRA Last Call Newsletter - April Edition

Last Call April

Business owners line up on the morning of April 10 to apply for Georgetown ABC licenses. 

Multiple Applicants for Georgetown ABC Licenses

ABC licenses were in demand in Georgetown this month.

The Alcoholic Beverage Regulation Administration (ABRA) received eight applications on the morning of April 10 for four available licenses in Georgetown. Of the applications received, two are for an available tavern license and six are for three open restaurant licenses. 

ABRA is currently reviewing submitted applications in the order they were received to ensure they meet all of the necessary qualifications to move to the next steps in the process, which includes a 45-day public comment period and final approval from the Alcoholic Beverage Control Board (Board). It will be several months before the licenses are issued.

The licenses became available after numerous license changes and cancellations in Georgetown. This is the second time in almost 20 years that a tavern license has come open for application in the area. Restaurant licenses are typically only available there every couple of years. The scarcity is due to two laws that limit the number of ABC licenses to six taverns or nightclubs in the Georgetown Historic District and 68 restaurants in the Georgetown Moratorium Zone.

Several members of the public stood in line for days to apply. The first applicant arrived in line on the morning of Monday, April 7. ABRA only began accepting applications three days later at 8:30 a.m. on Thursday, April 10. 

For more information on Georgetown liquor licenses, visit ABRA's website.

Mayor Proposes New ABC Laws

DC Mayor Vincent C. Gray proposed changes to the District's alcohol laws on Friday, April 4 as part of the Fiscal Year 2015 Budget Support Act of 2014. If approved by the DC Council, the proposals would allow alcohol to be sold at breweries for on-premise consumption and at full-service grocery stores in Ward 4 for off-premise consumption.

Under the Manufacturer Tasting Permit Amendment, a brewery could pay $1,000 to obtain a permit to sell and serve beer the brewery manufactured, that could then be consumed by customers on the premises from 1-9 p.m., seven days a week. 

The bill would also allow DC breweries to sell beer in cans for the first timeno permit necessary. Breweries are currently only permitted to sell their products in sealed bottles, barrels and kegs.

Another proposal is the Full Service Grocery Store Amendment Act of 2014. This bill would allow for the issuance of class B licenses to sell beer and wine in full-service grocery stores in Ward 4. A moratorium currently in place in Ward 4 restricts the issuance of class A or B licenses in the area with the exception of ANC 4C07.

Current criteria for full-service grocery stores includes being a licensed grocery store that sells at least six of the following categories:

        • Fresh fruits and vegetables;
        • Fresh and uncooked meats, poultry and seafood;
        • Dairy products;
        • Canned foods;
        • Frozen foods;
        • Dry groceries and baked goods; and
        • Non-alcoholic beverages.

Stores are required to dedicate a certain amount of square footage—or selling area—to the sale of those food products, including a minimum of either:
        • Fifty percent of the store’s square footage; or
        • 6,000 square feet.

Stores also need to set aside at least five percent of the selling area to each of the food categories. In order for the square footage to be considered part of the selling area, it must be open to the public and may not include storage, preparation areas or rest rooms.

Stay tuned for coverage in Last Call on whether the DC Council approves the proposals. The council is expected to consider the Budget Support Act on Wednesday, June 11.

Learn to Spot a Fake ID April 25, 26, 27

The Alcoholic Beverage Regulation Administration (ABRA) is hosting a special ID Compliance training for ABC licensees and their staff to review:

  • Techniques for properly verifying IDs
  • Tips for spotting fake IDs
  • Information on ABRA compliance checks

Training sessions will be held:

  • 9-11 a.m., Friday, April 25
  • 11:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m., Friday, April 25
  • 3-5 p.m., Friday, April 25
  • 9-11 a.m., Saturday, April 26
  • 11:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m., Saturday, April 26
  • 3-5 p.m., Saturday, April 26
  • 9-11 a.m., Sunday, April 27 (Korean interpreter available)
  • 11:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m., Sunday, April 27 (Spanish interpreter available)
  • 3-5 p.m., Sunday, April 27

RSVP for training by contacting ABRA Operations Manager Jackie Richardson at:

Training Location

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

Register Now for Memorial Day Weekend Extended Hours

Memorial Day weekend is one of three occasions this year that on-premise establishments can stay open until 4 a.m. and operate 24 hours a day all weekend long if they're registered for extended holiday hours.

Establishments that are not registered still have time to do so. Restaurants, taverns, nightclubs, hotels and multipurpose facilities can sign up until Monday, April 28 to participate in extended hours for Memorial Day weekend.

The extended holiday hours program allows ABC establishments to remain open until 4 a.m. and operate 24 hours a day during certain federal holidays and three-day holiday weekends. The July 4th holiday will be the next time registered establishments can participate in extended hours for an entire weekend.

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

Visit ABRA's website to learn how to register and to check out this year's calendar.

Quarterly Statements Due April 30

ABC-licensed restaurants and hotels are required to file first-quarter statements with the Alcoholic Beverage Regulation Administration by Wednesday, April 30. First-quarter statements must report gross sales and total expenses of food and alcohol from January through March of 2014. Reports may be filed online.

Date Set for Adams Morgan Moratorium Zone Hearing

The Alcoholic Beverage Control Board (Board) will hold a public hearing at 10 a.m. on Wednesday, May 7 to hear input on the future of the Adams Morgan Moratorium Zone.

At the hearing, members of the public can comment on two proposals regarding the renewal of the moratorium. The first, submitted by Advisory Neighborhood Commission 1C, proposes to renew the existing Adams Morgan Moratorium Zone for a five-year period with certain modifications. A second proposal submitted by the Kalorama Citizens Association seeks to have the existing moratorium zone renewed with no changes to current restrictions.

In an effort to allow time for the public to comment and to evaluate both proposals, the Board adopted emergency rules to extend the existing moratorium for an additional 120 days to July 12, 2014. The moratorium was set to expire on April 16, 2014.

Members of the public and representatives of organizations that want to testify should contact ABRA General Counsel Martha Jenkins by Thursday, May 1, 2014 to do so:

  • Email – include full name, title, and organization, if applicable, of the person testifying
  • Call – (202) 442-4456

Members of the public that are unable to testify in person can submit written statements to the Board until 4 p.m. on Friday, May 9. Written statements must include the full name, title, organization, if applicable, and signature of the person(s) submitting the comment. Written comment may be submitted by:

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

The hearing will be held in the Board Hearing Room at the Reeves Center:

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

Visit ABRA's website for more details on the Adams Morgan Moratorium Zone.

Attend ABC Orientation Training June 12

New ABC licensees and members of the public are invited to attend the Alcoholic Beverage Regulation Administration's Orientation Training from 2-5 p.m. on Thursday, June 12.

Training will review:

  • District ABC laws and regulations (including recent changes to the law)
  • How to work effectively with the community
  • Settlement Agreements
  • Expectations of ABC licensees
  • Tips for best practices
  • Noise abatement and sound management

Contact ABRA Community Resource Advisor Sarah Fashbaugh by Friday, June 6 to register:

  • Email
  • Call – (202) 397-3971

Attendance for this class is strongly recommended for new ABC license holders. Training is free of charge. Requests for interpreters may be made; however, they must be submitted by the RSVP date.

Training Location

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