More on Liquor Licenses

King's Deli & Grocery on the corner of Georgia and Quebec

One of the things I’ve learned in working on the issue of the Class A liquor license applications for King’s Deli and Amanuel Market is that there is a moratorium on Class B licenses with a few exceptions. As I’ve noted before, Class A licenses allow the sale of beer, wine, and spirits for off-site consumption (liquor stores) whereas Class B licenses allow the sale of beer and wine for off-site consumption (frequently convenience and grocery stores). Class C licenses are for the various types on on-site consumption establishments.

In the case of King’s Deli the moratorium on Class B licenses is in part responsible for their application for a Class A license, which they see as a way around the moratorium. In essence, they want to apply for the A license and have a voluntary agreement provide the necessary restrictions reducing it to a Class B. Personally, I find this a dangerous precedent since there is no guarantee that a license once issued will remain with the same owner over time.

At this time the application by King’s is headed for a full protest hearing and a roll call hearing is scheduled for the Amanuel Market application on Tuesday, December 27th.

Between the staunch opposition to additional Class A licenses in the community and the moratorium on Class B licenses, moving forward the chief issues the Park View community will need to consider with regards to alcohol sales are going to be where bars, taverns, and restaurants are concerned. Here the issue will not be the additional licenses so much as the accompanying voluntary agreements.

But back to the class B moratorium, as I stated above there are a few exceptions that would allow additional establishments on Georgia Avenue.  The DC Code is below with those exceptions.

§ 25-332. Moratorium on class B licenses

(a) No new off-premises retailer’s license, class B, shall be issued.

(b) The moratorium shall have a prospective effect.

(c) This moratorium shall not apply to an applicant for an off-premises retailer’s license, class B, for the sale of alcoholic beverages in an establishment if:

(1) The primary business and purpose is the sale of a full range of fresh, canned, and frozen food items, and the sale of alcoholic beverages is incidental to the primary purpose;
(2) The sale of alcoholic beverages constitutes no more than 15% of the total volume of gross receipts on an annual basis;
(3) The establishment is located in a C-1, C-2, C-3, C-4, or C-5 zone;
(4) The establishment is a full service grocery store which is newly constructed with a certificate of occupancy issued after January 1, 2000, or is an existing store which has undergone renovations in excess of $ 500,000 during the preceding 12 months in which an application is made; and
(5) The opinion of the ANC, if any, has been given great weight.

(d) An exception to the moratorium shall be granted for 4 new class B licenses on Connecticut Avenue, N.W., between N Street and Florida Avenue, N.W., after October 22, 1999; provided, that no licensee shall devote more than 3,000 square feet to the sale of alcoholic beverages.

So, what does this mean? In essence that a grocery store, like the proposed Petworth Safeway, or any similarly new or renovated grocery, would be eligible to apply for a license to sell beer and wine. This seems more than appropriate to me.

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12 Comments on “More on Liquor Licenses”

  1. Jeff Says:

    Where and at what time is the hearing being held?

    • Kent Says:

      I don’t have the date and time at hand for King’s protest hearing yet, but will give you a heads up when I do. The Aman Liquor roll call hearing is Tuesday Dec. 27 at 10 a.m. It is at the ABRA office in the Reeves Center at 14th & U.


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