ABRA's Last Call Newsletter: Jan/Feb 2019 Edition

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Last Call Newsletter

Jan.-Feb. 2019


All restaurants, hotels, multipurpose facilities, clubs, marine vessels, railroads, arenas and caterers in the District are due to renew alcohol licenses by Monday, April 1, 2019.

The Alcoholic Beverage Regulation Administration (ABRA) is mailing out renewal packets to licensees on Feb. 15. A license can be renewed once the renewal notice is received in the mail.

Before renewing, licensees should make sure they have updated their contact information with ABRA if they have a change in mailing address, email address, or phone number. Next, licensees should verify that they are in good corporate standing with the Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs. Finally, licensees should ensure that all outstanding taxes and fines are paid prior to renewal.

Payment for licenses can be made for the next three years or for one year only; however, payment is due at the time of renewal.

In order to avoid long lines, licensees are encouraged to submit renewal applications to ABRA as early as possible. Renewal applications not returned by the April 1 deadline will be subject to a late fee of $50 per business day – not to exceed the cost of the license and cancellation.

RDO Increase

The Alcoholic Beverage Control Board (Board) adopted final rules on January 9, 2019 to maintain the subsidy to support the Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) Reimbursable Detail Subsidy Program (RDO) at 65 percent.  The 65 percent subsidy paid by the Alcoholic Beverage Regulation Administration had previously been in effect on an emergency basis since July 1, 2018. The Council of the District of Columbia unanimously approved the Board’s proposal to subsidize the MPD RDO Program at the 65 percent level at its December 18, 2018 legislative meeting.

The MPD RDO Program assists licensed establishments by helping to finance the cost of retaining off-duty MPD officers to patrol the surrounding area of the establishment, or an outdoor special event or pub crawl event for the purpose of promoting public safety and ensuring the peace, order and quiet of the neighborhood.  

Nightlife Committee

The Alcoholic Beverage Regulation Administration (ABRA) will be a participating member on the District’s Nightlife Commission. The commission will work with the Office of Nightlife and Culture office to help coordinate the District’s after-hours economy.

The Office of Nightlife and Culture provides information and assistance to nightlife establishments; an establishment that is open to the public for entertainment or leisure and conducts business between the hours of 5 p.m. and 2 a.m. during weekdays and anytime during weekends.

The Commission on Nightlife and Culture, advises the Mayor, Council, Office, and public on ways to improve laws and policies that impact nightlife establishments and residents living near such establishments by examining issues affecting areas with high concentrations of nightlife establishments. The Commission on Nightlife and Culture contains 8 ex-officio members, who represent ABRA, the Office of the Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development, the Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs, the Department of Small and Local Business Development, the Commission on the Arts and Humanities, Destination DC, Events DC, and the Washington, DC Economic Partnership. The commission will also have seven members appointed by the mayor with the advice and consent of the council.

For more information about the responsibilities and duties of the Nightlife Committee see the Office and Commission of Nightlight Establishment Act of 2018 in its entirety. 

Annual Payments

Hundreds of businesses that pay for liquor licenses on an annual basis are due to make licensing payments to the Alcoholic Beverage Regulation Administration (ABRA) by Monday, April 1. Businesses due to make payments if they opted to do so annually include:

  • Liquor stores (retailer’s licenses class A)
  • Distilleries (manufacturer’s license class A)
  • Breweries (manufacturer’s licenses class B)
  • Wholesalers (class A licenses only)

ABRA is mailing a payment notice to the licensee’s mailing address on file.

Licensing fees should be paid on time. A late fee of $50 per day will be assessed starting Tuesday, April 2 for any late payment which may not exceed the cost of the license. Licensees that have questions can contact ABRA by emailing or calling (202)-442-4423.

Spring Forward

Spring Daylight Saving Time will cause the clock to spring forward one hour from 2 a.m. to 3 a.m. on the morning of Sunday, March 10. This will result in the loss of one hour, making that Sunday a 23-hour day. Because of this, District law allows on-premises establishments that normally close at 3 a.m. to operate until 4 a.m. on the morning of Sunday, March 10. This includes restaurants, taverns, nightclubs, hotels and multipurpose facilities. Licensees are not required to register in the Holiday Extended Hours program to participate in Spring Daylight Saving Time. Licensees that have a settlement agreement or an Alcoholic Beverage Control Board order limiting hours of operations are prohibited from participating.

Additionally, licensees enrolled in the Holiday Extended Hours program are eligible to operate with extended hours on April 16, 2019, DC Emancipation Day holiday. Those enrolled can stay open the night of Monday, April 15 until 4 a.m. on the morning of Tuesday, April 16. Licensees interested in participating must apply for extended hours by Friday, March 15, 2019.

A list of registered establishments for Washington’s Birthday holiday is available on the Alcoholic Beverage Regulation Administration’s (ABRA) website. The complete 2019 holiday calendar can also be reviewed on ABRA’s website.

Adams Morgan

On November 28, 2018 the Alcoholic Beverage Control Board (Board) continued the moratorium on an emergency basis. The emergency rules continue the Adams Morgan moratorium on on-premises retailer’s licenses, classes CN, DN, CT, DT, CX, and DX, issued in a portion of Adams Morgan, cap the number of tavern and multipurpose facility license at ten (10).  The emergency rules also increase the previous moratorium zone area to cover eighteen hundred feet (1,800 ft.) in all directions from 2459 18th St., N.W., Washington, D.C. 20009. The emergency rules expire on March 28, 2019.


ABC Licensee Orientation Training

ABRA has added a number of new Licensee Orientation Trainings to its schedule this year. All new and existing licensees throughout the District are invited to attend. The next training will be held from 2-4 p.m. on Thursday, March 21, 2019.

The training will cover District alcohol laws and regulations (including recent changes to the law), tips for working effectively with the community, settlement agreements, expectations of licensees and best practices, as well as noise abatement and sound management.

Register online or contact ABRA Community Resource Officer Sarah Fashbaugh by Friday, March 15, 2019 by emailing or calling (202) 397-3971.

Attendance for this class is strongly recommended for new license holders. Training is free of charge. Requests for interpreters may be made but must be submitted by the registration deadline.

Books and Records Training

Hotel and restaurant licensees are invited to attend ABRA's Books and Records Training on Thursday, April 25, 2019, at either:

  • 9-11 a.m. (Spanish interpreter available); or
  • 2-4 p.m. (Korean interpreter available).

Training will cover food sales requirements and reporting, quarterly statement filings, and books and records tracking. For additional dates, please visit ABRA’s website.

Register online or contact ABRA Compliance Analyst Monica Clark by Friday, April 19, 2019, by emailing or calling (202) 442-4438.

Community Training

Residents and community organizations are invited to attend ABRA’s Community Training on Thursday, February 28, 2019, from 6:30-8:30 p.m.

The training will cover District alcohol laws, protest processes, filing settlement agreements and ABRA resources and hearing processes.

Members of the community that are interested in attending can RSVP by registering online or by contacting ABRA Community Resource Officer Sarah Fashbaugh by Friday, February 22, 2019, by emailing or calling (202) 397-3971.

Training Location

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