Bloomingdale’s Firehouse Plans on North Capitol St, NW – Big Bear Cafe Alcohol Application not supported by ANC5C

At the ANC5 meeting Tues. evening @Edgewooddc tweets about the Firehouse located at 1626 North Capitol Street, NW:

“Restaurant consist of 3 levels.
lounge, banquet hall and restaurant.
Late night menu will go until 2am, they will also offer Sunday brunch.”

Stay tuned for a liquor license application.

Also of interest was a vote about the Big Bear Cafe’s alcohol application.

@Edgewooddc and @BloomingdaleDC both note just before 9:30 pm:

“ANC5C will not support the @BigBearCafe liquor license application at this time.”

I’ll admit this whole process is very confusing. I’ve been speaking to folks in the know who seem to believe that Big Bear Cafe (First and R Streets, NW) will be able to get a liquor license even without ANC5C approval. Obviously not ideal but my understanding is that the approval is not 100% necessary. I’m sure we’ll be hearing a lot about this in the coming weeks. I’ll be sure to update when more info becomes available. Does anyone know if ANC approval is 100% necessary?

118 Comment

  • Let me put it this way – I’ve never heard of an establishment getting a liquor license without it. The ANC system needs to be abolished or at least severely overhauled. Same goes for [in]voluntary agreements. The neighborhood of course deserves some input – but not the ability to essentially blackmail a business as ANC’s can do under the current system.

    • +1. Just look to mount pleasant for the harm VA’s can do.

    • I can’t agree more. Ms Ransom is out of control and very unprofessional. Obviously, she is trying to make a name for herself. I just hope the people in Bloomingdale/Eckington wake up and realize the value this will bring to the already growing area and support this issue. I hear people complaining about parking and such; my response is look at how Logan has evolved.

  • Note of clarification: ANC5C voted to support a resolution, instigated by a group of 30 or so residents, that opposes Big Bear liquor license. They did NOT pass a resolution to officially protest the liquor license.

    They are very different things.

    • Prince Of Petworth

      What happens if they do pass that resolution? Do you think that is likely to happen? What is the significance of this vote?

  • This would be a good time for those in the know to inform those not, how to vote for their ANC — the whens and wheres, etc. Who’s eligible to vote, i.e., what kind of proof of residency is required — is there a minimum duration?

    We’re all familiar with the arguments. I’d appreciate info that could help myself and others be counted. Thanks.

  • My understanding is that ABRA will take this petition and use a mediator to try and establish a voluntary agreement with Big Bear and those on the petition – that is if ABRA wants to grant the license.

    The other end if you want new ANC you can run starting in August 4th with picking up your candidate petitions where you need 25 signatures from your single member district to put you on the ballot. All of the information is on this website:

    Here are the requirements:

    Advisory Neighborhood Commissioner

    Advisory Neighborhood Commissioners advise the District government on matters of public policy including decisions regarding planning, streets, recreation, social services programs, health, safety, and sanitation in their respective neighborhood commission areas. To hold the office of Advisory Neighborhood Commissioner from a Single-Member District, an individual must meet the following qualifications (D.C. Official Code § 1-309.05):

    *Be a registered qualified elector in the District actually residing in the Single-Member District from which he or she is elected
    *Have resided in the Single-Member District continuously for the 60-day period immediately preceding the day on which the nominating petition is filed
    *Hold no other elected public office

  • the bloomingdale blog notes that the application for a liquor license has now been withdrawn.

  • Does anyone have a roll call of the vote? Let’s start organizing to replace those who voted against Big Bear getting a liquor license. Anyone already running? Anyone want to run?

  • ANC approval is definitely not necessary. If they disapprove, it may slow things down, but ABRA is reasonable and pretty business-friendly. Especially if there are lots of proponents of the project who write in (which there will be in this case). Licenses opposed by ANCs get approved pretty frequently, so long as the applicant is willing to negotiate at all on a voluntary agreement. If the ANC isnt willing to negotiate, that usually makes the ANC look bad.

  • I am totally bummed. I have heard that they didn’t follow proper procedural guidelines or maybe they didn’t do what everyone else who is applying for a liquor license does?!? Seriously, that shows how effed the application system is if Stu Davenport, who *should* know how to review these applications, cannot properly expedite one.

    • No many have applied and Stu being a business man and a general contractor should know how to do these things in DC. Others have been sucessful, no reason why he didn’t follow through!

  • That’s a shame, another victory for NIMBYism in DC. Shades of the Comet Ping Pong controversy a few years ago. ANC districts are too small, there aren’t enough quality candidates to go around, and commissioners frequently run unopposed. As a result, anti-everything crackpots have a disproportionate say in local issues, versus those of us who have day jobs and don’t have time to attend meetings and rabble rouse in general.

  • Give me a break people. Find out when the meetings are and show up. Be a little more involved in your community than just sitting around and complaining about it on a blog. If you think the decision is in error….

    …go get yourself elected. It’s really not that hard.

    If you don’t do the work of organizing, then you don’t deserve to have political decisions go your way. Some people don’t want the restaurant to serve booze. They are organized.

    It’s not like it’s a permanent decision anyway. BB can always reapply next year.

      • Astounding levels of uneducation going on here.

        • Feel free to educate.

          • Usually when someone dismisses something as “really not that hard” they’re not very informed on the real costs/efforts/dedication involved.

          • Usually that’s true. As a rebuttal, I live in a functioning ANC and I know exactly how many people voted in the last election.

            Usually when people are dismissive of arguments without adding any additional information, they lack either the capacity or the understanding of the issue.

          • I know my ANC rep pretty well and he spends about 2 hours per day on ANC business.

    • + 1

    • RD: “It’s not like it’s a permanent decision anyway. BB can always reapply next year.”

      Assuming the business is still operating. But hey, it’s not like that is dissmissive of anyone’s concerns.

      • They’ve been doing ok so far….they have plenty of employees….

        Who’s being dismissive of who’s concerns? Are you referring to your own dismissal of the community’s right to influence the types of businesses opening in their community?

        • Name one ANC in the whole city that truly represents their community. I mean, there’s a lot of wishing and hoping in your statement.

    • You are right on target! Thanks

  • What bugs me about the vote against the Big Bear’s liquor license is that the Commissioners who represent the areas closest to the buisiness support the application (and I’m assuming that Davenport, who recused himself, would vote to support his own business), but those with districts further away voted against it. What interest is being represented by this vote?

  • I would run, but John Salatti is already elected and I he is doing an amazing job. I wish I lived in other parts of the hood, as many of the others on the board are too worried about their personal opinions, as opposed to the communities.

    I heard that ANC approval isn’t necessary, it just makes things a lot easier.

  • That place is annoying. Why do they need a liquor license anyway? Irish coffee?

    • the owner is trying to make into a full service restaurant

    • its not about “need”. a business has the right to apply for a liquor license. “need” is irrelevant.

      • They wouldn’t even bother applying for a liquor license if they did not need it.

      • Right to apply, not to have.

        • so you think getting one should be based on need? or do you even have a point?

          • I think that the community has a right to define when and where businesses are allowed (“Zoning”) and when and where alcohol can be served.

            The community spoke. If you don’t like it, vote for a new representative.

            And your point is ridiculous. A need and a want are two very different things. A need is “I can’t run a business without X”. Well they’re open and they’re running so that’s clearly not the case. A want is “I want a liquor license because liquor sales have higher margin and I can make more money”.

            You’re a fool.

          • Ragged Dog, I challenge you to prove that the community spoke on this issue, sheesh dude, you’re totally wildly speculating and throwing up a very annoying straw man argument- that you either have ANC decisions based on sometimes faulty and wacky ideas or you have no zoning at all.

            I don’t believe that this kind of thing should be influenced AT THE ANC LEVEL given that most commissioners I know are pretty f’d up people. For instance, one lady won an election but moved to Maryland by January 1- like 9 weeks after winning. She was completely and totally nuts.

            There are many ANC people who can’t seem to get UN-elected because of name recognition by voters who don’t know the real deal.

            Dude, you clearly have no idea how the restaurant industry works. They NEED liquor sales to make margins during lean times. In order to open such a business most of the owners I know stockpiled 6 months worth of cash, in one case I knew a guy in silver spring with a retail joint who had like 24 months worth of cash and merchandise saved up. His business collapsed and he laid off all his employees but kept it open for over two years.

            Just because the company is open does NOT mean it’s profitable or profitable enough to warrant that it stay open- as in the guy could be pulling down $2000 per month in profit which you can’t live on. It’s such an incredibly foolish thing that you posted and to be accented with the comment “You’re a fool” when it’s clear that:
            1. Your impressions of the ANCs are fantasyland
            2. You think the fact that a place is open that it’s making a profit.

            dude, chill

  • ANC’s are useless and are the functional equivalent of HOAs. They give neighborhood busybodies an outlet for gossip.

    • The also prevent nightclubs from operating in residential neighborhoods with loud bass until 5am every night of the week.

      • and wanton curb cutting.

      • And prevent neighborhood establishments from pursuing extensions of their business that in reality would be a net benefit for the area. It really goes both ways. You can appreciate the good that ANCs do while acknowledging that some of them are populated by self-serving megalomaniacs who use their position to push personal agendas that are opposed by a majority of their constituents.

        • I 100% agree with you. What I think is ridiculous is branding the process bad, just because you don’t like the result.

          That’s what babies do. Adults figure out how to affect the system in a responsible manner. In this case, public education and voting.

          • I’m not sure the process is all that great; once an ANC rep gets into power there is very little oversight and they are free to wield whatever power they have like a truncheon. There’s no balance and community input can be totally ignored (re: the Comet Ping Pong craziness or Leroy Thorpe). Make them beholden to the Council, make community voting and input an active part of the ANC process instead of hearing from all sides of a story and then having ANC members choose whatever they personally favor.

            The good and bad of the ANC is that it is SO localized. The decisions made effect people directly down to the block they live on including the ANC reps. The divisions at this level are obviously going to be magnified, I would just like to see a little more balance in the system. I confess to not knowing exactly what that would look like barring actual neighborhood referendum voting (which may not be a completely terrible idea).

          • They’re beholden to the next election, just like every other politician in America.

            The ANC’s are representing the views of the people who elected them QUITE WELL. The people who elected them don’t want your type and your type of business in their neighborhoods.

            So if you want something, you’re going to have to outvote them at the next opportunity. You’ll be happy you have a functioning ANC the next time someone tries to open a liquor store next to your house.

          • Too late!:


            And the ANCs are imposing the wishes of people from one neighborhood on to the residents of another in the case of BBC. C’mon, you can get on your high horse about being an active participant in the democratic process all you want and still admit that this stinks of something other than the concerns of a handful of residents at R and 1st.

            As to “The people who elected them don’t want your type and your type of business in their neighborhoods.”. Show me where the people of Bloomingdale don’t want the BBC the have a liquor license. Not the people of Stronghold or Edgewood. The people of BLOOMINGDALE (and maybe Eckington and other immediate neighbors). But your phrasing of that speaks volumes to the real issue underlying this. And as a homeowner in Bloomingdale it makes me sad for the narrow mindset of some of my neighbors.

          • There is the issue of “opportunity cost” here. I am sure that not everything ANCs do is bad. However, ANCs are not strictly necessary, and if they did not exist, then something else would take their place to perform the functions that were necessary, and we would rid ourselves of a lot of the negatives. Yes, ANCs do some good, but we don’t need ANCs to do that.

          • WHEN should someone brand the process bad, when the system produces excellent results?

            numbskull, when the system screws up is EXACTLY the RIGHT TIME to analyze problems within the system!


  • It’s almost as if the only way to get a liquor license these days is to buy one or open up shop in a ghetto too starved for gentrification to ever protest it in the first place. In reality the more bars the better. This makes Bar Districts like Adams Morgan less likely. I live close to Adams Morgan and have already noticed it is way calmer ever since the rise of U street and H street and to a lesser extent 11th street. But I always laugh at the nimbys that fear another Adams Morgan in the first place. As if Adams Morgan is suffering. Chief among the fearful is Mount Pleasant. Nimbys there have been using the Adams Morgan slippery slope argument for over a decade and where has it gotten them? Adams Morgan home prices are higher. Adams Morgan residents have restaurants with edible food. Mount Pleasant on the other hand looks the same as it did post riots. Well played MPNA. well played.

    • I like Mt Pleasant as it is a heck of a lot more than Adams Morgan.

      • same here. thats why I bought in MTP. But my home value is nevertheless harmed by the hijacking of the mainstreet by the MPNA. And I sure as hell don’t eat out in MTP. But it seems you fall victim to the same line of logic as the MPNA. That the only two options are “MTP as it is now” or Adams Morgan. This isn’t the case. It’s a scare tactic.
        Plenty of room to fill in some of our(what is it up to 9?) vacant store fronts with an extra bar/restaurant or two. I’d settle for anything with food better than Tonics cardboard tasting concoctions. And thats not setting the bar high.

  • “ghetto too starved for gentrification”

    this pretty much sums up the general attitude around here, that neighborhoods aren’t worth a salt unless the great white hope comes in and gentrifies it.

    • so its ok for dc to take the great white taxes while demanding more and more social services, but you scoff at the idea that those paying out the most might want more for their investment? please. what exactly is the worth of a block of boarded up buildings intermixed with wig shops and liquor stores?

      • +100

      • Yes. That’s what responsible societies do.

      • I completely agree with your larger point about taxes and economic development and people restricting the very things that pay for their lifestyles.

        The bigger point is, we have a democracy and this is how democracy works. Changing the process is much harder (and in my opinion quixotic) than just getting yourself elected.

      • Show me some stats that say whites bring in the majority of DC tax dollars. You are way wrong ass.

    • And it’s the truth, because the people with that attitude are the descendants of the rioters who burned down all the white-owned businesses in ’68, who have been seemingly content to live beside all the destruction they were a part of in the first place.

    • gentrification does not mean “white people” to me, it means “Rich people.”

      • sure gentrification is an economic thing. but i bet for every white neighborhood that has been gentrified by non white people, i can show you 50 non white neighborhoods gentrified by whites.

        you can go by definitions if you want, but connotations carry weight.

  • Concur with earlier remarks that we need a complete summary of what happened.

    The Bloomingdale blog reports that Big Bear’s application has been withdrawn:

    Anyone have any info on this?

    Also, commenters on the same blog mention Big Bear’s “pattern of blatant law breaking.” I assume this has something to do with zoning/DCRA regs/construction permits, but would like more information. Anyone have any?

    My mind is boggled by the argument made by some ANCs (and please note that John Salatti has made clear that he strongly supports Big Bear’s application, and only because last night’s meeting was not on the original ANC meeting schedule was he not there in person to support it) that a coffee shop serving alcohol will contribute to the degradation of the neighborhood. Further, the two ANC commissioners who represent the actual neighborhood of Bloomingdale support the effort! The opposition comes from outside Bloomingdale!

    As a homeowner in Bloomingdale, I strongly support Big Bear’s efforts.

    • I was there last night and I think the Bloomingdale blog post meant that there was that the request for a stipulated license to the ANC had been withdrawn. Big Bear has applied to ABRA for a license and that is what the petition was against. IMO Big Bear is not going thru the ANC anymore for the stipulated because of all the issues but with ABRA for the full license and there will be a hearing on their license with ABRA.

      My problem with the vote is that the group opposing the license did not need ANC support to do so and the ANC voted on it anyways. That action is where I draw issue. If there are problems with Big Bear zoning or noise let the DC regulatory agencies deal with them tha is not the ANC job. They are suppose to represent their SMD and the community. Each one should have had a SMD meeting and found out what their SMD wanted on this issue and as far as I know that has not and did not happen. My SMD represented by Farmer Allen had not had a meeting in the two+ years that I have lived here and he never emailed me back about this issue. You can bet if someone else that is involved and active ( not just meetings but cleanups etc) does not run for my SMD I will.

      • Sorry about the typos and I know Farmer Allen is a she – that’s the problem with typing on a small screen and having a lot to say.

        • I think you’re mistaken. It’s Allen Farmer who represents your district, and he’s a man.

        • This is the point I’m trying to make here. It’s actually somewhat important to be an active participating member of a democracy, if you want your opinion to actually matter. It doesn’t matter what the majority opinion is if the majority can’t be bothered to show up for an election. The minority that does show up for an election will always win.

          • But, RD, this is not an election. This is elected officials seemingly going against the wishes of the majority of residents in the immediately affected area. When you add in the fact that the decision is being driven by people that the residents of BloMi CAN’T vote for you can see the outrage it is generating. Saying “if you don’t like it, go out and vote for someone who supports your case” wouldn’t change anything here. Look at what happened: the two ANC reps that supported this, two ANC reps from the actual ‘hood that residents COULD vote for would not have been able to override the other 5C votes even if they had voted (Stu obviously cannot and Salatti wasn’t able to attend). Many of those votes come from outside of the neighborhood. That is what gets people about this. The local vote is NOT being heard.

      • I would prefer you not run. Your statement clearly shows you have done no research on the topic or attended all of the meetings regarding this. Stu clearly tried to pull a fast one on the ANC. He originally stated that he fixed his zoning issues and he was grandfathered in as a restaurant, only to later say he wasn’t and in fact needed a zoning change. BBC held several events over the last few years consisting of liquor and wine sales with out proper ABRA licensing. DDOT has no permit on file for the curbside cafe that operates on a daily basis. Stu originally said he had petitions of support from every resident within 500+ feet, however no one within the required 600ft ever signed this petition. Even supporters within the 600ft said Stu did not reach out. Stu has a clear integrity issue yet you defend the license.

        Funny how people choose to omit the law when it benefits them. Stu’s lies have opened the door for BBC’s operation license to be pulled.


    • 1. No “Change of Use” Zoning. The BBC has been in operations since 2006, came before ANC 5C in early 2007 to request and received support for the required DC Office of Zoning, zone mapping amendment for the legally required “change of use” from a market (previous owner), to a café (Stu Davenport), and failed to apply until recently, May 27, 2010 , therefore, has been operating illegally according to DC & ABRA Laws. The Office of Planning has completed their section of this process. The private meeting w/the Office of Zoning is scheduled for Mon, 7/26/10, 6pm. There is a possibility of a hearing being scheduled on the matter in October 2010;

      2. No DC issued Permits:
      a. The Big Bear Café has held events at their location which included alcoholic beverages on, around and outside of the legal boundaries of the premises, and did not have a full or temporary ABC issued liquor license, such as the Wine Tasting and Art show on Friday, April 2, 2010 . Also for several years, the Big Bear Café held loud musical events many of which are posted on the Internet such, as the events held on January 15, 2010 and March 8, 2010 , without notification to the immediately impacted residents, and without the necessary permits;

      b. The Big Bear Café has been using the area on its 100 block R Street and 1700 Block 1st NW sides of the building as a sidewalk café without the required DDOT public space permits. On Sat, 7/3/10, I observed this, and had to report to ABRA when my e-mail request to Stu as to the status of his DDOT permits went unanswered. After last night’s meeting, I asked Stu for an update on this since in early June he said a DDOT hearing was scheduled on or about 7/12 or 7/13. Stu stated that DDOT changed the hearing date to August, didn’t recall the full date, time. I or 5C was not notified of this change of hearing date, as was his responsibility to share, not ours to go find out;

      c. There is also the matter of DCRA Occupancy Permits for the BBC. Though not under the BBC’s control, because the zoning “change of use” status has not been changed for R-4 (the original market’s status because it was grandfathered in during the 50s), DCRA’s records still has location as R-4. The main question 5C & protesters have is the occupancy went from 11 (2006), to 46 (non-conforming basement), then to 49, with use of basement. When you look at the size of BBC, and I have been there, I/we can’t see how 49 people can be comfortably and safely seated at this location. The Fire Dept must do their inspection in the process, and their determination will be revealed at the hearing on 7/26;

      3. Waste Mgmt: the alley by the Big Bear Café has been reported as dirty and has trash that overflows due to using the DPW residential weekly trash pickup system, as opposed to having a private contractor as required by law for more frequent pickups. The residents have legitimate concerns about health hazards posed by this establishment due to the current litter. There are photos of this;

      4. Bloomingdale Farmer’s Market (BFM):

      Ted McGinn & Stu obtained DDOT’s permission to restricted residential parking and street closure of the 100 block R St NW, and did not take into consideration the immediately impacted residents concerns about their lack of parking, and the BBC did not pursue alternative available temporary street parking on Florida Ave for the vendors trucks and visitor/patron parking, has attributed to these residents being involuntarily inconvenienced for Mr. Davenport’s personal and financial interests.

      • Stu’s responses to the allegations are below. Who’s “facts” are correct? Doesn’t seem to f*@#ing matter, everybody here is acting in their petty self-interest. And guess who loses: the residents of Bloomingdale.


        Gigi knows that the ANC missed the July 12th deadline to file a protest, and they therefore have no standing in the BBC application. She was informed of this ABRA requirement in early June/July before the deadline, and then was reminded by ABRA the day of the ANC vote.

        The below information supplied by Gigi is incorrect. The application with the Office of Zoning was not for a change of our existing use, but for a map amendment to “correct the non-conforming status“ of the building. This does not affect the legality of the cafe as it operates now – it affects how the cafe can be treated in the future. It ensures that no-one can take away its commercial status, and it allows the cafe to operate without requirement of special exceptions (BZA, etc.).

        The BBC had a certificate of occupancy for 8 seats in 2006, for a grocery/deli. By definition (in 2006), a deli was a place with prepared food, and a restaurant was a place with sit-down seating. Because we were allowed seats we were then able to get a restaurant license when we opened in 2006 and operate as we do now – as a restaurant.

        The main problem was that we could only get 8 seats when we opened, and we told the ANC this in 2007 when we asked for support in bringing our cafe into compliance. This is documented in the minutes. During the process, however, I was able to get the increased seating through a zoning/structural/building review through a Certificate of Occupancy building permit and we completed the construction work in 2008. In spite of Gigi`s claim that she does not feel the cafe space is big enough for the increased seating, load calculations were done by the structural review coordinator as well as fire code review coordinator at DCRA. The work was also fully approved by the DCRA zoning administrator, mechanical engineer, electrical and plumbing engineers, etc.. With this approved building permit we then did not need to pay the large fees to file our map amendment case.

        I reviewed these issues with Com. Bonds and Gigi, and filed a full detailed report with the ANC when Gigi requested it in June. To this date, she and Barrie Danneker continue to state the facts incorrectly to the ANC, the public, and the press.

        My mistake was to not file the final documents for the final C of O after all work was completed and approved with the building permits. In April, 2010 we informed the ANC and ABRA that the documents still needed to be filed and ABRA said it was not a problem in our application. They did require that it be filed before our application could be approved in the preliminary review. This was done April 23, 2010. Around the same time we decided to file the map amendment case with the office of zoning because it was also a requirement in our application, and also because negative statements were being made by Com. Danneker and Com. Ransom to the public through the Washington City Paper website. Our ABRA reviewer had no problem with the fact that the map amendment was not complete and would take time.

        As you can see, the process has been complicated.

        I have given Gigi multiple reports on all of these facts, but she continues to present the facts incorrectly.

        She also filed a complaint with the Office of Campaign Finance and I was told to not participate in the conversation or communicate with the ANC in any deliberation or ongoing discussion. She then documented in the final ANC Resolution protesting the BBC that I was not responding openly to ANC requests.

        Also, we passed out fliers door to door before completing our ABRA application, and held a community meeting on May 18th with residents who raised concerns (which contradicts the ANC claim that we did not reach out to concerned residents). I also notified the residents when the placards were posted on May 28th (which was our only legal requirement for public notification). We then presented to numerous civic associations and to the residents at the ANC meeting and we all agreed at the direction of Chair Anita Bonds to a June 2nd deadline for a voluntary agreement. The neighborhood group then did not respond to numerous requests, and the deadline passed. The group then protested the BBC license just before the July 12th petition period deadline.

        There are numerous accusations – including not having a private trash service (under contract since 2006), not having an alcohol license for wine tastings (covered under an ABC caterer`s license), not having permits for music (which are not required in DC law), and not having a DDOT permit for outdoor seating (permitted by DDOT, and fully insured during a full sidewalk cafe permit application process).

        The facts in the ANC resolution as stated were inaccurate.

  • Sorry to hear Big Bear is having troubles. I’m very thankful that ANC4C has been so business-friendly in helping many local businesses open in Petworth (including getting a beer/wine license for Yes Organic Market). Everyone should go to at least one ANC meeting to see who their representative is and get a feel for how well they represent your point of view (or not). Despite being elected by a very small slice of the city (I think about 120 votes were cast in my SMD last election) the ANC reps have a huge influence on the neighborhood.

  • Show of hands – How many of the people complaining in this space about ANCs even know who their ANC rep is? How many voted for him or her, or made a conscious decision not to vote for him or her, based upon knowledge of his or her views?
    The squeaky wheels get the grease. The opposition to this license made their voices heard. The supporters apparently did not (at least not to the level of the opposition).
    Like the man said, “Don’t hate, participate.”

    • Sure a squeaky wheel gets greased. But what if greasing the wheel leads to nonsensical results? ANC’s as they are currently operated should be done away with. If alcohol is legal to sell, then any business in good standing should be able to sell it.

    • Marcus, the two ANC commissioners that represent the Bloomingdale neighborhood (salatti and davenport) WERE in support of this. The opposition came from all the other commissioners that don’t live in the immediate neighborhood and for whom we cannot vote nor influence. That is what is so obnoxious about this.

      • Eric, that’s not totally correct. Barrie Daneker’s SMD (5C 07) also includes the northern part of Bloomingdale, and he was among the commissioners who voted unanimously against providing ABRA with a letter of support for Big Bear.

        • fair, but there are a lot of comments on blogs about this that imply that people should simply get out and vote to solve this problem. it’s not that simple when ANC reps many blocks away are voting against this.

          • It’s unfortunate that folks on another side of town are influencing the decision. However, the problems from commercial districts aren’t always confined to the SMD that they occur.

          • And it’s not like someone in Georgetown is telling you what is acceptable.

          • RD, Please tell me how BBC having a liquor license will materially affect *anybody* in Gigi Ransom’s 5C12 SMD? That is 2.5+ miles away and separated from Bloomingdale by acres and acres of non-residential land. Yet she didn’t seem to be very shy in voicing her opinion on why BBC’s application should be opposed. Might have well been someone in Georgetown.

    • There was a petition with 300 signatures in favor of Big Bear Cafe’s license. The opposition submitted a petition with a few dozen signatures.

      You had some very distant ANC reps basically taking up this cause as a way of “sticking” it to Bloomingdale residents and the Big Bear cafe. Commissioners from distant neighborhoods WANTED to amplify the voices of the opposition and made a conscious decision to ignore the local voices in favor.

      • I believe it was actually closer to 600 signatories to the pro-BBC petition; I have no idea how inclusionary that was (did they allow people who are not in the immediately neighboring SMDs to sign).

        It will be very interesting to see how the impending liquor license ANC approval process for Boundary Stone and/or Baraki plays out. I suspect those will tell us a lot more about the real issues behind this mess: is it a personal thing with the particular egos involved here or a larger fight by ANC reps sticking up for a position that is clearly NOT held by the majority in the actual Bloomingdale neighborhood?

      • I think the issue is, the 30 anti were mostly neighbors, while the 600+ in support were largely people that are outside the 600′ affected area. Almost the same scenario as the remote anc5c smd’s…

    • I worked for my ANC rep on many projects in the last 15 years, have been to his house, he’s been to mine, etc.

  • Election Information for Prospective ANC Candidates

    Keep these dates in mind: August 4th, September 3rd, and November 2nd, 2010.

    On Wednesday, August the 4th, the Board of Elections will begin giving out nomination petitions for the next ANC elections. Interested candidates will then have until close of business Friday, September the 3rd to return the petitions with the signatures of (at least) 25 registered voters who also live in the Single Member District (SMD) that they wish to represent. And on November 2nd, Election Day, the voters will make their selection. The winning candidates will take office after noon on January 2nd once they are sworn in.

    Candidates must go to the Board personally to pick up their petitions, or send a representative to pick them up. (If you send a representative, you will need to give your representative a letter authorizing them to pick up the peititions on your behalf.) In addition to the petitions, the Board will also give the candidates a list of the registered voters who live in their SMD and a map of the SMD’s boundaries. Candidates will also need to file a “Declaration of Candidacy.” You can file this form when you pick up the petitions, or you can file it when you turn in your petitions, but you must file it before the September 3rd deadline.

    The Board is located on the second floor of 441 4th Street NW in room 250N. Their phone number is (202) 727-2525. You can also pick up a lot of useful information by visiting their website at

    Finally, the qualifications for running for ANC are quite simple. You must be a registered voter and have lived in your SMD for 60 days before submitting your nomination petitions (in other words you must have begun living in your SMD by July 5th of this year.)

  • I’m so sick of the stupid NIMBY freaks in this town. They all need to get a little perspective. It’s not like anyone has proposed opening a hog-rendering plant, giant casino or building a 150 story skyscraper here, or in Tenleytown, Takoma Park, Cleveland Park, or Mt. Pleasant. People, you live in a world capital – let it be a vibrant, growing place.

    • Growth and vibrancy have very little to do with corner bars.

      • but a bar is a great way to start.

        • Yes, anonymous 4:25, corner cafes with pleasant outdoor dinig space, and the ability to serve alcohol as well as coffee, etc, DO contribute to vibrancy, more eyes on the street, a local “third place” to hang out, and so on. Knee-jerk NIMBYism certainly doesn’t contribute a thing towards the city being a dynamic place that grows and changes over time.

          • One man’s vibrancy is another man’s cluttering up of sidewalks and neighborhoods with obnoxious people with disposable income drinking, littering, being loud, and being well, obnoxious.

          • anonymous, why did you say “disposable income?” what does that mean to you?

  • wasn’t the location of big bear a corner / liquor store for a loooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooong time? People need to destroy these ANCs

    • there is a difference between off premise and on premise liquor licensing.

      • True – off premise is much more desirable, because you can simply walk across the street to the park to enjoy your beer al fresco.

    • It wasn’t a liquor store. It was a grocery store that sold alcohol. Whole Foods, Giant, Safeway, and Seven Eleven sell alcohol. Are they deemed as liquor stores too? The corner grocery store did not stay open until 2am as BBC is proposing nor did they have loud bands and disco music play until 2-3am.

  • I fear for the livelihood of a great cafe, because I think the liquor liscense will dilute the atmosphere. There are a lot more bars in DC, than great cafe’s, though not a lot of bars in this area, I know.

    What is to stop the liquor license holder from turning it into a bud light/sports bar type of joint? You probably make more money serving watered down beer than great espresso. Or, heaven help us, another pretentious wine bar at $12/glass. I mean, I’d probably support their proposal, if I was on the ANC, but Big Bear fans ought to be careful what they wish for.

  • Wow, it’s really amazing how many people immediately start blaming the decision on NIMBYism, racism, a dysfunctional ANC, anti-business commissioners, etc–without making a single effort to actually understand the process and/or what went down last night. It’s as if, because they love the cafe, everyone else should too. I love Big Bear, but it’s my understanding from some pretty rational ANC reps that Stu did not make a serious effort to really engage his close neighbors, didn’t fill out paperwork right, didn’t try to change zoning in any concerted way, and repeatedly broke ABRA regulations! This ruling didn’t come out of the blue.

  • isn’t there anyone that thinks that big bear should have clean hands before getting a liquor license?

    you know sometimes both sides in a conflict are not handling themselves properly.

    sure gigi ransom is an outright racist and homophobe

    and barrie dannekar is high strung and self righteous, but BBC needs to shape up too if it wants to avoid community protest.


    • also, as soon as big bear DOES straighten up, they will probably get their license. the negativity and accusations have made this such an ugly affair, but so few of you have really been paying attention to the facts. no, your answer is to resort to name calling, lies, and accusations. you call for getting this anc out of office. do you even know the other things they’ve done for the community?

    • If clean hands were required for running an entity then the DC government would have been out of business years ago.

  • any more details on the firehouse? it still looks very rough. any idea how long it will be before it opens? are there any design drawings?
    will they have patio seating also?

    • Prince Of Petworth

      It appears they still have to get financing so it’s likely a bit of a ways off. Though if all goes I well, I think I saw something about a roofdeck. I’ll update when they apply for the alcohol license.

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