The seven members of the district’s Alcoholic Beverage Control Board voted unanimously Wednesday afternoon, May 3, to seat only ANC 2F as a protestant of the proposed Be Bar’s liquor license. This is a clear victory for Tom McGuire and Michael Watson, owners of the gay bar, as the ANC 2F protest is merely a formality in the ”voluntary agreement” process.
The two protestants the board declined to recognize were a group of eight Washington residents affiliated with Scripture Cathedral, which sits across Ninth Street from the proposed bar at 1318 Ninth St. NW, and ANC 2C. Unlike ANC 2F, this second ANC does not include Be Bar. Its border does, however, abut the Be Bar location. That body’s commissioners voted 3-1 at a March meeting to protest Be Bar’s liquor license following testimony by Scripture Cathedral’s Bishop C.L. Long opposing the bar.
Immediately following the ABC vote, openly gay ANC 2C Commissioner Alexander Padro — the sole dissenter in the ANC 2C March vote to oppose the license — told Metro Weekly, ”Justice has been served.” Long, on the other hand, says the debate is ”far from being done.”
The protestants still have an opportunity to appeal the ABC board’s decision, though consideration of any evidence on their behalf will be handled by the board administratively, rather than in a public hearing.
”Both parties can file an appeal,…but we’re confidant that these two groups will not have standing,” Watson said shortly after the vote, adding that Be Bar is now on schedule for a July opening, assuming they negotiate the voluntary agreement with ANC 2F. That seems quite likely. ”We’re overwhelmed by the support from the business community and the gay community,” said Watson. “We want to thank everybody…. We look forward to a great summer at Be Bar.”