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Posted at 11:15 AM ET, 01/ 9/2009

Adams Morgan Limits Inauguration Parties

By Fritz Hahn

When the City Council announced last month that bars could stay open until 4 a.m. in the days leading up to the inauguration, it was a natural assumption that Adams Morgan, with its blocks of bars and restaurants, would be party central for five days. As it turns out, most bars won't be able to take full advantage of the extended hours.

The City Council's announcement came with one important caveat. Bars that have signed so-called "voluntary agreements" with community groups -- agreements that define anything from the frequency of trash collection to hours of operation -- had to get permission from those groups if they wanted to extend hours during the inauguration period. Hundreds of bars across the city have these legally binding contracts, but they're especially common in a neighborhood like Adams Morgan where nightlife venues abut residential streets.

Local reaction to a 4 a.m. closing time has been strong, says neighborhood commissioner Bryan Weaver. Bars obviously wanted to stay open late. But some residents who live just off 18th Street, represented by the Kalorama Citizens Association and the Reed-Cooke Neighborhood Association, wanted no part of even later-night partying. Neither side wanted to budge.

Weaver and the elected advisory neighborhood commissioners have now brokered a compromise that will likely satisfy no one: Bars will close at the usual time of 3 a.m. for the nights of Friday the 16th and Saturday the 17th. On Sunday and Monday, they'll be allowed to stay open an extra hour and close at 3 a.m. And on Tuesday, inauguration day, they'll keep partying until 4 a.m. instead of the usual 2 a.m.

There are exceptions. Six businesses -- primarily restaurants -- have no voluntary agreements, and therefore can stay open as long as they want and serve alcohol until 4. They are: Jyoti Indian Cuisine, Rumba Cafe, Perry's, Cashion's Eat Place, the Grill From Ipanema and the Hilton Washington Hotel.

Additionally, the Diner and El Tamarindo have voluntary agreements with the Advisory Neighborhood Commission and not the local neighborhood groups. The commission has agreed that the two restaurants may stay open and serve food 24 hours a day between Friday and Tuesday. They may also serve alcohol from 8 a.m. to 4 a.m. on those days.

Weaver, who supported allowing venues to be open late during the inauguration period, says "it's a flaw in the voluntary agreements that an elected body can say, 'Yes, we agree [with extended hours] and the citizens association says 'No, we don't,' and they come out ahead by holding back."

The lesson: If you want to see bars open until 4 a.m. during inauguration weekend, go somewhere other than Adams Morgan. To make that strip a really late-night destination, you'll have to wait until Tuesday.

-- Fritz

By Fritz Hahn  | January 9, 2009; 11:15 AM ET
Categories:  Bars and Clubs  
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Great, so all of the bars in the city are going to make a killing, except for the Adams Morgan bars, because of some lame puritans. Except for The Diner, every bar that is allowed to serve late sucks in Adams Morgan sucks. I was actually hoping to go out in Adams Morgan on one or more of the weekend or week nights, but why bother if it’s going to shut down earlier than everywhere else in the city?

Posted by: miknugget | January 16, 2009 3:01 PM | Report abuse

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