FQotD: How Many Liquor Stores Does One Neighborhood Need?

A couple days ago a received an email titled, “Alcohol Saturation in Bloomingdale”. It linked to some really cool maps by a Bloomingdale resident “stereojam”.

Below is one he put together of Class A + B stores (A sells wine, beer and spirits while B sells wine and beer).

You can see more detailed maps here.

So for today’s Friday Question of the Day – at what point does a neighborhood have too many liquor stores? Now I’m wondering if there is a historical component here – as many liquor stores also function as corner stores/bodegas. I assume they proliferated for convenience and perhaps a lack of access to proper grocery stores? But in 2011 given the state of our neighborhood’s access to grocery stores and the existing corner stores – at what point are there too many liquor stores? Should there be moratorium? Or should capitalism work this problem out?

I know in Petworth we have a lot as well but to be honest it doesn’t feel like we have too many. I mostly class B that only sells wine and beer and to be honest, I rather like the convenience of where they are located. But as I look at Stereojam’s maps again vis a vis Bloomingdale – I can’t help but think that perhaps the saturation point has been reached.

What about your neighborhoods? Do you think your neighborhood has too many liquor stores? Do too many liquor stores affect your quality of life?

Ed. Note: On a future Friday I will make a part 2 out of this question and substitute bars for liquor stores.

140 Comment

  • I think the people of Bloomingdale need to give up and move to Dixie. Man those people hate to have a good time.

    • Dude – it’s the opposite. We WANT bars and restaurants – not ghetto corner markets/Liquor stores that sell everything processed under the sun – and routinely sell single sale cigarettes to minors. I mean seriously – how can you argue that??

    • Oh no they want to have a good time they just want to preserve the fiction that they are agin’ sin by idiotic Blue Laws that restrict sales on Sunday or making people in a dry county go to a wet one.

  • It’s sad, but they just make more money selling booze. Virginia Market on Florida and 18th used to have all sorts of grocery necessities, but stoppped selling them and now all they sell is beer and wine. There are already tons of wine shops and liquor stores a stones throw away.

  • But god forbid a restaurant want to serve wine and beer.

    • rustik and boundary stone didn’t really have many problems in getting their licenses. bbc was in the news a lot, but it was a more complicated issue which also included a frothingly insane anc commish.

  • why do we need to answer this? When the market is saturated, then the stores will lose money, then there are too many, and some will close. This is capitalism at its best.

    • Capitalism at it’s least efficient. Does every avenue of possibility have to be explored to the point of failure in a free market? No, there are other catalyzing factors besides a single (bad) entrepreneurial idea in one person’s head — for instance, other market participants’ stated needs, communicated prior to goods or services being produced.

      • huh?

        The avenue is obviously not “being explored to the point of failure”–these stores are still open so they must be profitable. Maybe it’s failing in your eyes, but, um, they didn’t exactly ask you.

        • some do close though. then others reopen. so yes, it has been explored to the point of failure.

          • If only this would apply to all the churches around here … dollars to donuts, if you mapped out all the churches in bloomingdale/shaw, you’d seen an even worse map than the one above; oh yeah and zero tax revenue. 😉

          • So true, Jaynuze. And think of the 60 acres in Bethesda lost – no tax revenue, no housing or businesses – to the secretive Mormon compound.

        • Tres was answering Jake’s post about how capitalism works: that people open stores until the market is saturated, then they begin to fail (ie, exploring the avenue to the point of failure).

          Seemed pretty clear to me.

    • Do you ever think that the only way these stores stay open is by doing something illegal? Selling on the side, evading taxes, selling drugs, other things.

  • They should for sure limit them as there is likely some negative social effects associated with multiple liquor stores in a neighborhood.
    A more interesting question would be – “If you are opening a business would you avoid locations where you would be a neighbor to two or more liquor stores?”
    If other small business avoid neighborhoods with multiple liquor stores, then they should be limited as it negatively affects the overall economic health of the commercial community in the area.

  • My guess is that most of those liquor stores have been there quite a while (10+ years). It was allot easier then to set up a liquor store. Now it has to go through a filter of people and officials to be approved. Way back in the day the police and the board had to OK a new ABC license and that was just one easy payment. Things have changed.

  • Boo f*cking hoo

  • The way to get rid of liquor stores is to persuade someone that there is more money to be made with another business model. Given the tendency of your white interloper class to get their hardware, clothing, home furnishings and other non-fortified goods at malls and big box stores, and the (from what I understand) trend among landlords to charge aspirational rents in transitional neighborhoods, it’s hard to get someone to throw the dice with their life-savings. Something of a chicken-egg problem which I expect is particularly severe in a neighborhood like Bloomingdale which lacks sufficient non-booze shopping to create a critical mass (which even Mt. Pleasant has) and major residential transport hubs (Petworth) and seven-story yuppie warrens (Columbia Heights).

    In the mean time, I’ve never understood what cutting back on the number of liquor licenses does. Concentrate the undesirable elements in front of fewer stores? It surely doesn’t stop people from drinking and pissing in the alley.

  • When I lived in that area I always felt so bad for the kids across the street from me. They barely had anywhere to play, and very often they just ended up walking over to the liquor store to hang out and buy chips and soda.

  • Maybe we could replace all of the liquor stores with subways. Instead of a six pack you get a six inch turkey. Its seems like you can never have too many subways close together

  • “Given the tendency of your white interloper class to get their hardware, clothing, home furnishings and other non-fortified goods at malls and big box stores”

    Yes, because I NEVER see blacks, latinos or Asians in Home Depot, Target or Costco. Get real, man.

    • sorry, that was meant as a response to Irving Streete (8:57 AM)

      • Touchy, touchy.

        The point is that your budding entrepreneur, tempted by the sudden influx of disposable income, is also likely to realize that that income is being disposed of outside the neighborhood. Thus, he or she are likely to hesitate to open his or her own hardware store, clothing store, framing shop, gourmet cheese emporium etc.

        Wasn’t a shot at interlopers — hell, I’ve been interloping since ’81 or so — just an observation.

        • Why can people (e.g., William Jordan) argue that there are too many bars in an area. But, God forbid someone suggests there are too many liquor stores, then you are either anticapitalist, antismall business or racists. Personally, I’m inclined to apply the same capitalist logic to liquor stores as restaurants and bars: let the market sort it out. Get rid or limitations on bars/restaurants too — like the stupid U street Arts Overlay whatever.

          • I think the one problem with that approach is that the aggregate desire to open bars is greater than the demand for bars — or liquor stores or what have you. Look at Adams Morgan. Tryst is packed 15 hours a day, 7 days a week. Bars on 18th constantly fail. Yet no one is attempting new Tryst-like spots. As a result, we lose a lot of the overall capacity of 18th in redundant and undesired businesses — a problem which persists. Notice that the market is not addressing this issue.

            Most business people are very stupid. The ones who come first (Englert types) have far seeing vision. But as you move beyond satisfaction of demand, you’ll have all these Johnny come lately’s who think “Oh man. Look at all the money being made. Maybe I can be the last new bar to open that becomes profitable.” But they’re wrong, and it hurts neighborhoods.

            I also have a problem with the whole “whatever the market does is right” argument. If that’s true, Adam’s Morgan wouldn’t be a weekday ghost town. Proof the free market alone isn’t responsive enough to solve our year to year problems.

  • My question whenever someone wants to put a moratorium on anything is what are the problems you hope to solve. To me the letter seems to just assume that is self evident that there is a point in which too many liquor stores is a problem. I guess I just don’t see it.

    Yes they make a reference to lack of access to groceries, but I don’t think that is connected to liquor. the 7-11 on 14th doesn’t sell liquor, but everytime I go in there I notice how little food there is and how the selection is pretty much the same as in the markets that sell liquor. It is not like these corner markets are suddenly going to be replaced by mid size grocery stores, the spaces just aren’t big enough.

    For me if I want to go for shopping, I actually plan a trip and have a destination in mind. When I buy liquor, I just go to the nearest place. So for me, the large number of liquor stores woudl be a good thing.

    You can wish for a nice well balanced mix of stores, but wishing doesn’t make them profitable. I liked the fact that there was a comic store on 14th, but apparently I wasn’t the only one who never went in. Garden District seems like the type of place everyone is wishing for, but it too went out of business.

  • If these businesses are open then obviously the community sees a need for them. I don’t the think their should be a limit on them at all. I believe if any change that occurs should be community based and not by statute or law. If you don’t want liqour stores on your corner MOVE.

  • As I understand it, this map is counting convenience stores and delis that sell beer (among many other things) as “liquor stores”? That seems misleading… I lived in plenty of flourishing neighborhoods in NY that had a couple of those on every block. It would never have occurred to me to describe them as
    “liquor stores,” though.

    • Agreed that this is misleading. I live on the Hill and there are a lot of corner markets that sell beer and wine, but I certainly wouldn’t describe them as liquor stores. And a lot of them are assets to the community. The couple that owns the one I go to most often are extremely friendly and are definitely a part of the community. They know the names of most of the regulars and frequently stand in front of the store and talk to passersby.

      (This is not meant to imply that liquor stores are never assets to the community, but I do believe the phrase has a somewhat negative connotation.)

      • Prince Of Petworth

        I agree as well. I should have said liquor stores And corner stores that sell wine beer (not just liquor stores).

        • Corner stores were a great convenience in my grandfather’s childhood in greater Capitol Hill. Where corner stores aren’t crummy plate glass joints, they are terrific assets to the community. Even a few of the plate glass places are surprisingly decent. It may not be possible to keep those while at the same time chasing the awful liquor stores away.

      • FWIW, the B class ones in Truxton are basically, beer plus condoms, chips, and skull caps. Not exactly assets. They are cheap enough to be affordable to the homeless population around here, which is a big part of their business.

  • Correct me if I’m wrong, but doesn’t a lot of this have to do with the permit process here in DC? To start up a restaurant you need the starter capital not only to build the restaurant, but also to get through the permit and Pepco process which can take an inordinate amount of time. So you need to be able to cover your rent and property taxes for X months/years which if you’re an individual developer, requires a huge chunk of capital. Not to mention that for every month you’re not open, you’re not getting any revenue and it will take you longer to reach profitability. Look at all the restaurants like Social and Mendicino Grill (?) that close because of back taxes in the 10s of thousands of dollars. You think they want to close? They strive to be successful, but they have finite revenue + liquid safety capital. They try to hold out as long as they can hoping that they can keep up with all the bills, but at some point, they can’t and end up closing because of it.

    It’s why in DC as compared to some of the other East Coast cities, the chain/restaurant group to individual owner ratio is pretty high. Chains/groups have the start up capital to make it through the prolonged build process.

    Conversely, it’s relatively easy to set up a liquor store/check cashing store with a fairly high profit margin, so naturally you’re going to choose the business that makes you money the quickest. It’s the epitome of capitalism, but also some of the worse aspects of it brought on by a system that discourages diverse and easy individual business opportunities. Yes, some businesses are going to fail, but the system in place in DC encourages failure.

    At least, that’s how I’ve been told the DC system works. Am I mistaken on this?

    TL;DR: DC permit process makes it far easier and more profitable to set up a liquor store than a restaurant/bar so unless you have tons of capital sitting around, it’s incredibly difficult as an individual business owner to succeed.

    • As a small, locally-owned restaurant owner, I gotta say that you hit the nail on the head.

    • Or tons of determination.

    • Liquor stores don’t have that high of a profit margin. They make it up in volume. Kegs 5%-8%, beer 10%-25%, wine is a mixed bag and liquor is 10%-40%. Soft drinks, water and candy are almost always double cost. Then you get into supply and demand. The demand is there but the supply is at the corner of every two or three blocks in some places.

      • Fair, though I believe those profit margins are still higher than restaurants once you factor in wages, food, rent, and other bills. Ease and the quickness of recouping start up costs to get to profitability are the key factors here. Economically, it just makes more sense for an individual to open up a liquor store than a full restaurant. And that sucks for residents who want a neighborhood with a multitude of options other than Chinese food + fried chicken + fries + taco rolls + whatever hasn’t rotted in my pantry yet.

    • off topic, i know, but is Social really gone? the original announcement said it was a “temporary” closing, and then i never heard anything else. but i’ve been out of town a lot this winter. was there official news?

      • Don’t they owe something like $80K in back taxes. How many people do you know have $80K just lying around, especially after what I’m assuming was an expensive build.

  • houseintherear

    We truly don’t need to over-govern and limit the number of liquor/alcohol stores. We need the cops to get the drunks off the street corners. Apparently this is way too difficult for them, or they site “bigger fish to fry” as reasoning for ignoring the problem.

    MPD is a big problem. I’ve said it before and I’ll keep saying it. Truant kids causing violent problems on the metro, buses, on the streets? Bigger fish to fry, can’t go around chasing kids and putting them back in school. Drunks hanging out 24/7 on the street corners? Bigger fish to fry, can’t go around chasing drunks and putting them in jail for public alcohol comsumption and sexual harassment. Cars parked illegally and blocking alleys and driveways on Sundays during church hours? Bigger fish to fry, can’t go chasing the people of God just because you can’t get your car out of your driveway when you need to.

    If you fry enough little fish, there will be enough to eat. You don’t only have to eat whales and sharks. DEAL WITH THE LITTLE FISH, MPD.

    (rant: over.)

    • You’ve completely missed the mark on MPD, but I’ll help educate you.

      If you haven’t noticed there’s a severe overreaction in this city to the police ‘hassling’ the African American community. This is a legacy of the era before civil rights when 3 black men together in public was a violation of loitering laws and they got sent to jail. Now today, you and I know that 6 guys sitting in the parking lot of a liquor store is more likely a problem than a civics group, but older folks have long memories of the injustices.

      As such, the MPD is under constant scrutiny and walk a very fine line between keeping drunks and vagrants in line, and violating civil rights. See the latest lawsuit against the MPD concerning unreasonable arrests. Furthermore, your Phil Mendolson and the majority of the City Electorate are not in favor of loitering laws (see previous paragraph).

      So you see, it’s not the MPD’s issue as you state it. It’s the elected City Council that’s the core of the issue. If you want the MPD to enforce the laws that you expect, then you need to vote for someone other than Phil and possibly your Ward Council person the next time you get a shot.

      Respectfully, Your neighbor.

      • There are open container/public drinking laws and they are enforced (sporadically). I suspect the judges/prosecutors are very lenient with respect to these charges. I think we need to tighten the loitering laws, but we can do something now about the drinkers hanging out on the street.

      • As someone intimately familiar with the MPD, if you actually call, they will come. The more calls, the more visits. If there is a problem, call the District Commander. They call it community policing.

        • me

          Wrong. I’ve called countless times at different times during the day for different issues- drugs, harassment, even caught someone robbing our garage. The quickest that the police ever showed up was after 2 hours and 15 minutes. Sometimes, not at all. If they won’t come because there’s a guy outside of my front door, harassing and threatening me while my husband is out, then I doubt they’ll come because I call about a drunk hanging outside of a liquor store.

  • I say they should be spaced at very least, maybe every 10 blocks, and kept at a very controlled number.

    We know now uncontrolled it is like a sickness slowly eating away at the community.

    Many communities control what and the number that start up.

    • Frankie
      I actually don’t know it is an uncontrolled sickness eating away at a commmunity. Please explain to me exactly how having too many stores that sell beer/wine or alcohol causes this sickness.

      • I didn’t say it caused the sickness.

        Drinking and purchasing alchohol is a choice for sure but when it is so easy to get it on every corner and in single servings… well there you go.

        Alchoholism is easy, cheap, and deadly to the person, family, city, and community.

        Not to mention your tax dollars going to the reliable DC government and their programs treating this problem.

        It’s just an ugly circle.

      • Background: the homeless people who inhabit the Truxton neighborhood in large numbers shop at all the liquors stores and many drink all day long. In this sense, it is a sickness, because you’re taking folks who tend to have substance abuse problems, and putting them in a sub-culture where day long day drinking is the MO. It’s not exactly setting people up for recovery and reentry to society.

        • and the reason they are there is to take advantage of the far too many public services in the area.

    • How about people show some self control and not drink so much. If the community really wants these stores out they can simply stop patronizing them. But these business flourish because they are profitable. My point is that a few “Stuck Ups” are sick of the hobo’s pissing in the alley while the rest grab a forty, chips, and their number.

  • What about people who cannot afford to spend top dollar in a restaurant every time they want a drink? What about people who want to buy liquor to take home? Why is this even an discussion? If a business loses money, it will close. What you are really asking is, “How many liquor stores that are not “your” expensive high end liquor stores are too many? If they were all D’Vines, you wouldn’t care because that’s your market. Don’t concern yourself with what other people choose to buy. Just live and enjoy the neighborhood with everyone in it. Just because you moved there doesn’t mean you should tell people how to live or what to legally sell.

    • “Just because you moved there doesn’t mean you should tell people how to live or what to legally sell.”

      maybe that shouldn’t be the case, but it is the case to a degree. residents can affect abra and zoning decisions.

      • ….though i agree 100% with the rest of your argument.

      • If the residents have no say in how a neighborhood is developed, how is that a good thing? If you move there, you’re as much as resident as anyone who’s lived there for 20 years or more.

    • Whitey always want to run something. Let our liquor stores be great!

    • Joe, what about those people? why are they entitled to have MULTIPLE locations to buy what they want? Should they just have one on every corner so they aren’t inconvenienced? but people like me, who want fewer, are basically called prejudiced by you? seems pretty ridiculous to me.

      No one wants all of them shut down. A lot of us just want no more of them opening up, or even slightly fewer.

      This whole discussion was supposed to be about an increasing concentration, not the status quo versus zero.

      • They are “entitled” because they are free citizens in a free country. Why does whitey’s say so go?

        I’m white, BTW. But this gentrification wedge politics galore. You are pushing out long time residents. They were here before you. But their dreams were shattered so you could move yours in, lock, stock and barrel.

        If there are public consumption problems, call the police. That is what they are there for.

        • You know I wanted to post a retort to what you’re saying, but I realized you’re a sadly ignorant misinformed individual, and nothing I say to you will change your mind – so its pointless.

        • Don’t be such a drama queen. “Dreams shattered”? Please. It’s a myth that home owners are priced out of their neighborhood due to development.

          If you want to live in a place where no one moves due to long term changes over the course of a generation or two, then you’re going to have to move somewhere else besides planet Earth.

    • maybe you shouldnt buy alcohol if you can’t afford it?
      no one is talking about shutting down all liquor stores.. its mere numbers that are fascinating.

      living in this neighborhood, i can throw a rock and hit 3 places..

      and you are right i shouldn’t tell people how to live, i should shape my neighborhood how i want it to grow.
      no one cared for it in the last 10 years and now people started caring, coming out to bloomingdale civic associations and anc meetings..
      ask any of the old commissioners, they used preside in front of the empty rooms, not the meetings are packed.

      on another note, go hang out on the corner of florida and north capitol for about 10 minutes, see how many single served paper bags you see

      • Just because people without a lot of power or money were the only ones caring does not mean that “no one” cared. That kind of blanket statement does a terrible disservice to the people who lived here before you did.

        Don’t mistake your money and education and power to mean that you are the only ones who “cared” about the neighborhood before you got there. The lack of results of that caring have to do with the terrible lack of power and money that those who lived there first had. The fact that politicians return your phone calls isn’t evidence you’re the only one who ever “cared”

    • Joe,

      Do you live in this area? You dont seem familiar with what we go through daily with the many drunks who roam our area. I prefer the bar or sit down place over the liquor store not because im snobby, but because they usually have standards for who they serve. Most of these stores have environments that are uncomfortable to be in especially if youre a female alone. And most of the places are dirty, and bring property values down. It is difficult to enjoy a neighborhood where my park has 50+ alcoholics sitting on the equipment, having sex on the equipment, cursing fighting and so on…What is there to enjoy about that? Can my children enjoy their neighborhood? You must not have kids.

      • Why did you move to such a terrible neighborhood?

        • what a weird question.

          • Meaning, this place was like that. Yuppie gentrifiers get a great deal, and then scream bloody murder about all the terrible things that exist here. As if they didn’t know exactly what they were getting into.

            Meanwhile, the poor are getting pushed out, as usual.

          • rob,
            so where were these “yuppie gentrifiers” supposed to go? also, i don’t know if you’ve paid much attention, but non-yuppie non-gentrifiers have been complaining about the same public nuisance problems for decades.

            your view is certainly passionate, and i admire that, but you’ve not arguing from a full sense of the issue. a lot of these “yuppie gentrifiers” are working hand in had with some longstanding residents who all too happy to have additional help and a city with a healthier tax base to help fight the problems.

            things are grayer than you paint them.

            also, people move where they can afford to move, and they shouldn’t just stick to place that have people just like them.

    • I don’t what you buy or what you do in private. What messes the neighborhood up are the people that decided the park/bus stop is their private bar.

      If you think it’s harmless. Walk the ally behind Sunset Liquor any morning of the week. You’ll notice the stench of urine, piles of feces and broken glass. As you walk further away from the store, it mysteriously decreases.

      What about my right to walk behind my house and not step in shit

  • They aren’t liquor stores. They’re lottery ticket stores. They sell beer and wine as an after thought.

  • hmm, in theory, i LOVE having a liquor store on the corner. (and there’s another one a block to the west and another one 2 blocks to the south) it’s very convenient, and the owners are friendly. what i hate is the drunks who hang around outside being obnoxious to passersby (well, at least to women alone), begging, and littering. the owners occasionally chase these people off when they get really out of hand, but are understandably reluctant to offend their most reliable clientele. as a result, i have stopped patronizing my nearest corner liquor stores. rather than preventing more liquor stores from opening, i would prefer that there be more cops on the street that could occasionally go by and ask people to disperse (or threaten them with a public drunkenness arrest). or just an aggressive neighborhood watch group that could threaten to call the cops.

  • Several store are missing: Timor (2nd and RI), Flagler Market (Flagler and W), Sunbeam (Bryant and N Capitol). They’re not strictly liquor stores, but neither are several that are shown on the map (Windows, LeDroit Park Market).

  • This map is actually missing a couple of stores, so the concentration is a bit higher.

    I believe in allowing demand to dictate how much commerce is conducted. However, I also believe that there are external costs to this laissez faire approach.

    Some of these negative externalities are 1.) the cost in property values, 2.) the lost tax revenue and lost opportunities from other businesses not opening up, 3.) increased loitering, 4.) increased clutter/littering. As in, there is limited commercial space and when there are so many liquor stores, its not a business friendly environment.

    I am opposed to any new beer/wine/liquor stores opening. I have no need for them and if enough of my neighbors speak up and say they have no need for them either, maybe something will change. We shouldnt be forced to deal with free marketeers that are determined to profit off of the transients that come in for the various social services located down at North Cap/Florida/New York. Just because its profitable for the store owner doesnt mean that its the right economic choice for the neighborhood.

    I would not be as opposed if stores selling other items opened and the population density went up. I am unaware of any other neighborhood with such low population density and such a high concentration of liquor stores.

  • I think Dave Chappelle had something for this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FXfly5hcTNw

  • Replace the words “liquor store” with “Starbucks.” I think the problem might be in the product and who purchases it more than how many stores are selling it.

    • If there were the same problems associated with starbucks, as liquor stores, then I would have the same opinion.

      As you may know, there ARE people in the community who are making a big deal about the Farmers Market and Big Bear Cafe due to parking. So, unless you’re going to criticize them for stepping on peoples’ toes for “just doing what they want to do”, I suggest you just stop with your pointless line of bullshit.

    • When I walk out of starbucks, pass out on a bench and urinate on your house, then we’ll consider the similarities between Starbucks and a liquor store.

  • I live in Bloomingdale. The liquor stores have to go. I have three within 2 blocks of my home. I got in my truck one morning backed up and heard screams. Got out of the car and low and behold there was a drunk guy army crawling out from under my car. He fell asleep there I guess. I rolled over a man. I have been in the neighborhood almost 8 years. The high concentration of drunks hanging out has gotten better on my street. Florida ave park is crazy, the drunks there are literally 9-5 drunks. I see them leaving around five like they are getting off of work. At least I dont have to say excuse me passing them sitting on my steps in the morning anymore. But Im telling you there are so many things that come with this like Poop and urine saturating the neighborhood. Our liquor stores are not welcoming to the average human. Id drive to another area before I would walk into one of these places to be sexually harassed by the employees and drunk patrons. Removing a few of these stanky stores would dramatically change our area.

  • There seems to be an assumption in some of these comments that reducing the number of stores that sell alcohol will reduce the consumption of alcohol by a certain segment of our community. I don’t think this is a valid assumption.

    Adding additional regulatory burdens on small business owners based on this false assumption only compounds the problem. It discourages entrepreneurs from starting businesses in our community.

    • Your right Jake, I think they tried to get rid of alcohol completely once. I think it was called prohibition and it failed miserably. Getting rid of liqour stores will probably just concentrate the drunks in one place. I think we probably need more liqour stores to evenly spread the drunks and the urnine across the city.

    • NO – It would discourage them from opening up more liquor stores.

    • If that’s true, then why does Starbucks have to open 3 stores in Dupont? The vast majority of their business are in and out, just like at a liquor store. Do you think one liquor store could handle the same volume of drunks as 20 liquor stores can?

  • Liquor stores are convenient.
    I enjoy beer, wine and mixed drinks in all their variations. It’s driven me crazy when I’ve had to live in one of those many juristictions when you had to drive thirty minutes to get to the closest liquor store, and by the way their hours and days they are open are quite restricted. This issue goes hand in hand with high “sin taxes”.
    If there is a market for a store it will be there, if not, then it won’t last. If you like the neighborhood you choose to live in, great. Take pride in and be concerned for your own choices and leave others alone to do the same.

  • when we no longer have empty storefronts, and other businesses are dying to get into our neighborhood, THEN i’ll worry about the liquor stores.

  • For the longest time COMET in Adams Morgan was a beloved liquor store partly because they had a wonderful deli.

    Calvert-Woodley enjoyed a similar stature.

    More liquor stores that offer wonderful foods are usually welcome.

  • I am glad some people have finally identified what they percieve as the real problem, the drunks, harrasment, and public urination. I don’t live in Bloomingdale, so I can’t judge if this is really a problem or not. Assuming it is, I don’t see how limiting the number of liquor stores would really do anything to sovle this problem. It is not a rpoblem for someone who is dirnking all day to walk a block or two farther, their behavior won’t change.

    It seems to me the issue is more enforcement of laws and more services to help these people (treatment, etc).

    • the real problems are:

      public urination and defecation
      sales of drugs
      drug addictions
      lack of mental health aid
      poorly educated youth and absentee/ incapable parenting
      the concentration of social services along the north capitol corridor

      none of which should be calls to stop people from selling liquor, but are calls for more police patrols and prosecutions for violations.

      • Whats interesting about this, is these problems seem to be clustered directly around each of hte liquor stores around NY Ave/Florida/North Cap/First. Which is where a new beer/wine store would like to open.

        That is exactly what started stereojam to make this map, it was sent out to a group of concerned residents last week as part of a protest involving the proposed new beer/wine shop opening where there are already several and those several have mobs of people always hanging out drinking and, according to some people, dealing drugs, harassing, urinating, and other unsuitable behavior.

        • coincidently, the savemore is also the new hangout spot for some of the guys that left the pocket park after the addition of grass.

        • Again, I don’t live there so I don’t know, but is the fact these places sell liquor is what is making them a hangout, or some other factor? Are there markets that don’t sell liquor that are hangouts? Are there other places (parks, etc) that are hangouts.

          My belief is that the issue of hangouts are distinct from liquor stores. Perhaps a solution is to work with the individual store owners and help them address the problem of people hanging out in front of there store, or work with the people who want to open new stores.

          • You open a Starbucks, they are going to call the cops every time 5 drunk guys harass their patrons. They are going to be on top of that shit.

            Liquor store that caters to the destitute? Hell no.

  • I am not a functioning alcoholic, so I don’t need to constantly visit my local liq store to get my fixes. I live in Bloomingdale and this neighborhood contains nothing but liq stores for the most part. Luckily we finally have sit down place to eat and yoga studio to add some variety.

    This map left off Cookies Corner on 2nd, Flagler Market, Ledroit Market (now closed), timor market on 2nd and I believe their is one on corner of N. Cap and Bryant Street. So there are 5 more to include.

    Once this area continues to transition, these stores will have to change their marketing strategy and product lines. I don’t spend my money there, because they don’t really offer anything I would like to buy. But I wish I would get a pay out from them for the amount of trash in my yard and my time spent chasing off fools peeing/pooping in the open. Kind of tired of the guy asking for spare change everyday too. He doesn’t seem to remember I don’t have any.

    The one guy that wears a sweater 24/7 and downs tall boys as fast as he can while burping out mini foam up-chucks on the street is quite pleasant too.

    But yeah, liq stores are neat…

  • The map is deceptive. By creating arbitrary lines at 500 and 1000 feet, its designer gives a false sense of how many liquor stores there are in the area. I recommend you all read “How to Lie With Maps”

    Seriously, this white person says whitey go home. Talk about gentrification. The market supports the existence of that many liquor stores, so why do the gentrifiers have to come in and tell non-whites that because they drink cheaper spirits not at these stores that they can’t have what they want? That nice Gibson in the martini glass that you drank because you read about it in the NYT is the same as Night Train, but a paler hand raises it.

    The alcohol politics here are the worst form of exclusionary gentrification ever. Let’s drop the pretense and admit this is about property values.

    • Once again, this isnt about THESE liquor stores, as much as its about a NEW liquor store.

    • drop some baggage and try again.

    • Rob, Can I have your address? I’d like to walk stop by and have my pale a&* take a dump in your yard after I sit in your ally drinking all day. Don’t worry, that Night Train can I left tossed in your garden is just the same as the Martini glass your waitress took away at the Gibson.

      • Why did you move to a neighborhood where this is happening? Guess what? Your cheap ass house prices and rent are all about the proximity to poor people you so disdain. Really? Didn’t the real estate agent explain? Now you will all call your council member and have the the poor folks tossed out.

        But you loved the diversity when you moved in!

        • developer a wiser understanding. you’re still young. it’s understandable that you prefer to fabricate stories than to understand how people truly feel. but try harder.

    • Rob, many of the gentrifiers are black. Many of the black long time residents don’t want the liquor stores either. Grow up.

    • Rob W-

      Do you even live here or are you just another jaded asshole trying to arbitrarily steer the conversation towards race? Quite frankly, I don’t care what your race is – I’m tired of catching people peeing, shitting and FUCKING (yes, fucking) out in the open because they are drunk off their asses on single sale malts and God knows what else. This neighborhood is SO CLOSE to being amazing that it pains me to see this stuff continuing.

      The bottom line is, if these people don’t have crappy liquor stores to hang out around (and trust me, they don’t venture too far from their “fix”), they sure aren’t going to want to “hang around” period. To add insult to injury, most of the people that hang out on 1st Street between Seaton Place and T are not even DC residents. I have to watch their asses on a daily basis doing all sorts of BS until about 5, when they get in their cars with Maryland tags and drive home!

      I used to not care and just feel sorry for those people, until the other day when I caught some of the same losers who ALWAYS hang out in front of the DC Mini Mart trying to break into a neighbors house. That was the last straw and I seriously and not going to back down on this issue til it’s addressed!

    • rob w,

      do you live here? no?
      i’m really sorry to hear that your opinion is not really valid.

      no one is closing any liquor or beer and wine stores.
      there is a mini mart around the corner from my house that is trying to sell more of what i want to see less in public in MY neighborhood.

      cities grow, neighborhood change, life happens.
      if i can help accelerate that change, i would certainly do that.

      however, i refuse to be like you and only complain, bitch, and moan. i pick up a phone, email, make maps like this to show what is happening and create awareness.


      • Rob – still not sure why you’re on the attack.
        If you walk down the 100 block of Seaton Place NW then you’ll understand that the last thing I do is complain, bitch and moan. If there’s trash in the street, dog shit on the sidewalk or crackwhore’s underwear – I pick it up. If there’s bulk trash abandoned in the alley, barren tree boxes, unpruned trees, etc – I take care of it.
        I’ve lived in the neighborhood for almost 10 years and have always done that. In the same way that you make maps, pick up the phone and e-mail, I do these things because it’s my small way to contribute to the community and I love the fact that it makes a visible difference.
        On that note – hope you have a great weekend!

    • rob, it’s about quality of life issues.

      the martini at gibson is not the same as the night train in the park. it could be, but it isn’t. here are the reasons it is different:
      1. Gibson has a toilet for their patrons.
      2. Gibson has a server/bartender to cut people off
      3. Gibson has staff to kick people out when they get belligerent
      4. Gibson is legally responsible for these things.
      5. there is no oversight in the park and, sadly, that has been abused. if it had not been abused then it would not be a problem.

      you try to claim that people that are bothered by this do not like poor people. This is a lie.

      and if you really believe this. stop lying to yourself. it helps no one.

  • what if Savemore wanted to sell fancy wines and locally brewed beer and have tastings? what if they also removed the bulletproof glass and cleaned up their frontage. would you support their liquor license then?

    what if a fancy wine importer opened up next door and offered sommelier classes. would you support that?

  • Most of the comments here are completely ignorant about what goes on in these particular neighborhoods. Truxton has the highest concentration of social services in NW, and as a result the highest homeless population during the day. The market is artificially supported by their patronage.

    We should not be making it easy for homeless people to get wasted 10 hours a day. We should be providing them opportunities, not feeding addictions. We should not allow liquor stores to take advantage of the less fortunate among us. It’s wrong on every level you can think of.

    • As a resident of Truxton who happens to live a few doors down from Big Ben Liquor, I couldn’t agree more. Best comment of the thread. Too bad it came all the way at the end.

  • Amen to that. And it’s not just Truxton Circle. People hang out both inside and outside some of these liquor stores/corner markets all day long. I don’t get it. But, it’s not all the stores that create this problem, just some of them. I’m not sure what can be done, it’s just a really ugly side of capitalism.

  • Please note that the map on stereojam’s website has been updated with stores that were missing on the one that has been republished here.

  • For all of the talk about liquor stores, new restaurants, alleged illegal activities by corner store owners, and even the people hanging out on the street, these issues were here when you moved here. Why would you move to a neighborhood that has so many problems? Did you think that these issues would magically go away just by your presence? BBC, BFM, and Rustik have all been in the neighborhood less than 5 years. The liquor stores, and even Windows, pre-dates them by some years. Bloomingdale Liquors has changed ownership at least twice since I moved here.

    No, it is not an ideal situation and yes, things should be improved. But you can’t and shouldn’t do it by sheer force of will. Don’t forget that, despite your general contempt, they are still people. They may be people dealing with issues that only appear in your nightmares. It’s not an excuse, but it should be enough to jolt you into the realization that we are talking about people here. Why don’t you start asking the people you are trying to get rid of what would make them successful?

    It’s funny that when the issue was BBC adding liquor to their menu it was “yeah” “great!” People who get drunk inside eventually come outside. There is only 1 bathroom in BBC and 1 bathroom in Rustik. Pee happens. I’m just sayin’

    The liquor stores were here first, now you want them to go. I don’t believe that they just popped up overnight. When their licenses go up for renewal, all you have to do is write a letter of protest, but who wants to give up their local liquor store? Who is willing to make the sacrifice of walking more than 500 feet to buy beer or wine?

    Before I get flaming comments about public urination and pooping, I am well aware of that issue.There is no simple answer. I guess we should require them to carry baggies to pick it up. Honestly, how can you tell whether or not its from a dog? Have you ever been to the park at 1st and Florida? It’s a poop farm. Lord knows I’ve had to chase down people to get them pick up after their dogs in front of my house. Where is the outrage about that?

    • Let’s do some quick 101.

      “Why would you move to a neighborhood that has so many problems?”

      Gentrifiers and long term residents moved here for the same reason: neither could afford a neighborhood with better schools or less violent crime.

      “Why don’t you start asking the people you are trying to get rid of what would make them successful?”

      Shutting down liquors store that serve intoxicated people is a good start (to enable success). If you’re thinking long term, developing our neighborhoods would bring income into DC that is currently being shipping across the borders into VA and MD. That income could expand existing back-to-work programs which enjoy some success but are limited in their scope. DC needs to attract more affluent residents to support our social services (as well as affordable housing). Poach ’em from Arlington and Bethesda. If you’re serious about helping homeless people, you have to be serious about raising money to support their transition.

      “There is only 1 bathroom in BBC and 1 bathroom in Rustik.”

      Whole paragraph shows complete ignorance (willful or naive) of reality.

      “The liquor stores were here first, now you want them to go.”

      It doesn’t sound like you’re very involved in the community. Big Ben, Sunset, etc are reviled and have been for many years. Get with the program.

  • On a somewhat related note – who’s going to the Bloomingdale civic association meeting tonight??

  • i’ve lived in Bloomingdale over 25 years and I’ve come to like the neighborhood corner stores. They are all different, not a chain, not a brand name, nor some nationally advertised thing but painted different colors with whacky signs and sagging floors and plexi windows and warm ginger ale and expensive pancake mix and tomatoes for $1 and ice cream lollipops for less than a dollar. I don’t like the pooping and peeing either but some dogs and some humans seem to think the street is a toilet. It’s better than dead bodies and yellow murder tape like we used to have, speaking relativistically.

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