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The GW Hatchet


The GW Hatchet

Serving the GW Community since 1904

The GW Hatchet

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ANC members appeal nightclub’s liquor license

Foggy Bottom-area residents
are protesting a K Street club’s right
to serve liquor, saying noisy clubgoers
are lowering residential property
values and affecting the quality
of life in the area.

All six members of the Foggy
Bottom and West End Advisory
Neighborhood Commission objected
last week to the Shadow
Room’s request to renew its liquor
license and to extend a license to a
second club. Residents have cited
fights between club patrons and an
assault on a Metropolitan Police Department
officer as reasons the club
should be banned from serving alcohol.

The ANC and Shadow Room
have a voluntary agreement governing
the club’s operation hours
and other measures, but ANC Commissioner
Florence Harmon said
Shadow Room’s owners are circumventing
the agreement by trying
to open a second club on the floor
below Shadow Room, called Sanctuary

Harmon and four other residents
filed a petition this month
with the D.C. Court of Appeals to
reverse the D.C. Alcoholic Beverage
Regulation Administration’s Aug.
4 decision granting Sanctuary 21 a
liquor license.

Shadow Room’s liquor license
applies to the first and basement
floors of the property, Harmon said,
so a new liquor license for Sancutary
21 would violate the ANC
voluntary agreement that limits the
club’s occupancy to 300 patrons on
both floors.

But ABRA officials maintain
the second license does not violate
the agreement, saying that Shadow
Room’s license only applies to the
first floor, and have told residents
their arguments are flawed, according
to ABRA documents.

Swaptak Das, Shadow Room’s
president and chief executive,
said the ANC commissioners have
treated Shadow Room fairly, but
described relations with some commissioners
as tense.

“It’s legally clear that we have
the right to go after a separate liquor
license downstairs, there are
[residents] just saying that no, we’re
not going to allow it,” Das said.

ABRA is set to hold a hearing

Nov. 22 to determine Shadow
Room’s fate, but Harmon said
there’s a chance this date could be
pushed back since the ANC could
file a petition in opposition.

At the ANC meeting, Harmon
said the noise in the alley behind
Shadow Room has caused complaints
from residents in apartment
buildings like hers.

“Patrons coming into the alley
and making a lot of noise – it really
reverberates,” Harmon said.

Chris Labas, one of the individuals
who is petitioning ABRA’s
decision to give a license to Sanctuary
21, said Thursday that the area
around Shadow Room is a “nightmare.”

“Ever since it’s opened, nothing
has changed. Everything that has
gone wrong continues to go wrong,
and we still feel it. Every Thursday,
every Friday, every Saturday,” Labas

Das said any incidents at Shadow
Room are documented by the
police detail the club hires to patrol
the area.

“Every 251 [police report] gets
investigated, and an ABRA investigator
follows through with it, that’s
just due process. You cannot convict
on due process, but after the due
process has been complete, we have
had no reprimands, nothing [from
ABRA],” Das said.

Con Hitchcock, the attorney for
the five individuals, said ABRA will
now send the case record to court.
After briefs are filed by the parties,
the case will be argued before a panel
of three judges in 2011.

Das said he wasn’t concerned
about the petition filed.
“I have full faith in ABRA and
I’m not really that concerned. It’s
now I think a matter of the ABRA
Board against the residents.”

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