Be Bar Moves Ahead

Owners of proposed gay lounge in Logan Circle sign 'voluntary agreement' with DC beverage board

By the time the June 26 Alcoholic Beverage Control Board meeting rolled around, the status of the proposed, gay-owned Be Bar lounge at 1318 Ninth St. NW, was no longer much of an issue, says co-owner Mike Watson. There is no one left to protest Be Bar’s liquor license application. The final hurdle was jumped last week, June 19, when Be Bar owners and the commissioners of ANC 2F signed off on a so-called ”voluntary agreement.”

During Be Bar’s last ABC hearing, held May 3, ABC Board members voted unanimously to seat ANC 2F as the only protestant to the bar’s liquor license. ANC 2F protested the license only as a matter of form, following the common practice of the district’s ANCs to protest all liquor licenses in order to craft their own agreements with business owners. While officially listed as a protestant, ANC 2F has been largely supportive of the Be Bar effort since it began early this year. Congregants of Scripture Cathedral, which sits across Ninth Street from Be Bar, as well as the ANC 2C Chair Leroy Thorpe, whose ANC borders ANC 2F, offered stiff resistance to the Be Bar liquor license. At the May 3 hearing, the ABC Board declined, however, to recognize these two parties as protestants. At that time, the board set June 26 to revisit the status of Be Bar’s negotiations with ANC 2F.

”It’s a standard agreement,” says Watson. ”It’s nothing extraordinary. [ANC 2F] wasn’t asking for anything that we wouldn’t have already volunteered.”

Though the ABC Board still must approve Be Bar’s liquor license application, an absence of protestants would seem to make that outcome a foregone conclusion. Watson says that with this voluntary agreement signed, Be Bar is on schedule for an early-August opening.

Follow Will O'Bryan on Twitter @wobryan.

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