Finally, Beer in Foggy Bottom
Here's some news that George Washington students (and Foggy Bottom office workers) have been waiting for: Tonic at Quigley's has finally received its liquor license and will begin serving alcohol tonight.
Tonic, sister to the neighborhood restaurant and bar in Mount Pleasant, opened in the old Quigley's Pharmacy Building on GW's campus last summer. However, zoning laws prevented Tonic from receiving a liquor license: The building is in a residential zone, not a commercial one, and it's also just 200 feet from School Without Walls, a local public high school. At the time, the law said businesses with liquor licenses had to be at least 400 feet from a school. Vowing not to go down without a fight, Tonic owners Eric "Bernie" Bernstrom and Jeremy Pollack lobbied the Alcoholic Beverage Review Board to have the law changed to 200 feet, and in the meantime, they opened the restaurant without alcohol. Their persistence paid off late last year, when the board voted to change to the 200-foot measurement.
Bernstrom sounds understandably relieved that the process is over. "It's been three years since we first proposed this [restaurant]," he says, though there are still caveats. While Tonic received a full liquor license from the city, an agreement with George Washington University says that Tonic will primarily serve beer and wine. Hard liquor will only be served on the weekends, when bloody marys and other cocktails will be offered at brunch.
Now that the taps are finally flowing, Tonic will enter into an agreed six-month probation period with the university "to make sure we don't screw up," Bernstrom says. If everything runs as smoothly in Foggy Bottom as it does in Mount Pleasant, that shouldn't be a problem.
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