St. Phillips Baptist Church – Photo: The George F. Landegger Collection of District of Columbia Photographs in Carol M. Highsmith’s America, Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division.
D.C.’s Alcoholic Beverage Control Board has approved Town 2.0’s application for a liquor license that will allow the LGBTQ nightclub to operate in a former Baptist church.
Since August, Town 2.0 co-owners John Guggenmos, Ed Bailey, and Jim “Chachi” Boyle have been trying to obtain a license to operate inside the building at 1001 N. Capitol St. NE, the former site of St. Phillips Baptist Church, which relocated to Temple Hills, Md., in 2018.
The new nightclub would have a total occupancy of 524, with outside seating that could accommodate about 125 people, reports the DCist.
The ABC Board approved Town 2.0’s application based on a number of conditions, including that the club must hire at least two police officers on Fridays and Saturdays from midnight to closing time.
They must also ensure that the line to get into the club runs south on North Capitol Street towards K Street, away from the Conway building, reports WUSA9’s Michael Quander.
Town 2.0 will also have to commit to sufficiently soundproofing the building to ensure that music and other sounds can’t be heard in the Conway building or on the street outside. And the owners must agree to shut down any exterior seating areas by 2 a.m. at the latest.
Bailey previously told Metro Weekly in an interview last year that he is confident the club can ease fears or concerns of its opponents, noting that Town Danceboutique was always able to resolve any squabbles with its neighbors when it was located at 8th Street and Florida Avenue NW.
“I believe we’ve always been seen as a valuable part of every community that we have operated a business in, and we look forward to doing that again,” Bailey said. “We’ve been very proactive about making sure we know everybody, we hear everybody’s concerns. It’s going to be no different here.”
Related: “We’re not going to skimp on anything”: Town’s owners may have found their dream LGBTQ dance club — a former Baptist church
The application received opposition from some community members and stakeholders, with some expressing concern over noise abatement issues, increased traffic congestion from patrons who will seek parking, and concerns that a new nightclub would attract criminals who wish to target nightclub customers for robberies or assaults.
The John and Jill Ker Conway Building, a collection of nearby apartments that house veterans, also objected to the license application over fears that it would complicate or threaten the safety or wellbeing of its residents, many of whom struggle with addiction or PTSD.
Other people or entities filing complaints against the application included nearby Gonzaga College High School and Mount Airy Baptist Church, as well as ANC Commissioner Drew Courtney, who represents the ANC single-member district that contains the property.
Opponents of the license may choose to appeal the ABC Board’s decision within the next 10 days.
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