From the Forum – Noise from El Sauce – Shaw/Logan

1227 11th Street, NW

Noise from El Sauce – Shaw/Logan:

“I am writing this post after having woken up twice by shouting from the crowd in front of El Sauce restaurant. Anyone know what the deal is with this place? I know there was a murder there a few years ago, but it seems strange to have a restaurant with tinted windows that consistently has people yelling in front of it, even on Tuesdays at like 2 am. On the weekends it is an absolute nightmare in terms of noise. Any suggestions on what to do would be helpful!”

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34 Comment

  • i know! awful. just like 14th street, H Street, U Street.

    • Yeah, c’mon, it’s not the same. Last time the liquor license came up for this place the ANC documented “a two-page long list of 23 incidents, including five assaults with a deadly weapon (including a brick and a head-butt) and an assault on police. In addition, there have been 11 fines for violations of various types and a long list of lesser offenses. ANC Commissioners reported witnessing fist fights and receiving reports both of harassment of women near the establishment and of operation at 4:30am, long after the licensed closing time.” That’s IN ADDITION to the homicide.

  • I live a few doors down and can never walk down that side of the street at night. Pretty much any night of the week you’ll see drunk men wobbling around outside, leering at best and puking at worst. I would be more than thrilled to see them go!

    • I’m surprised El Sauce still exists given the history here. I live near this area, too. I also avoid this side of the street and most of the block on 11 St between M and N because during the day the liquor store a few doors down also attracts an unsavory loitering crowd.

      • I live near there too. What is the deal with 11th between N and M? My parents came to visit and I assured them that the neighborhood is way nicer than that block lets on…

  • We accidentally went into that restaurant one night when El Rinconcito was too crowded. Not only were we obviously unwelcome there, the bartender sat down at our table to ask in a joking and sarcastic way if we wanted any food. We were taken aback, but ordered anyway. The whole restaurant stared at us while we ate until we eventually left, and the food wasn’t good at all. (No one else was eating.) It was one of the weirdest experiences I’ve had at a “restaurant” in DC.

    • tonyr

      The first week after I moved into the neighborhood, a few years back, I went to some concert and was walking home around midnight on a Sunday. I thought I’d drop in and check the place out. It was like walking into a 1940s movie version of a wild-west saloon. Everyone, customers and servers, just stopped doing whatever they were doing at the time and looked at me. I perservered and ordered a beer at which point a totally wasted guy got right in my face and proceeded to yell at me in Spanish. I couldn’t understand him, but I assumed that he wasn’t being friendly. I sucked down the beer and walked out with him still yelling. Good times. No, I haven’t been back.

      • Exactly the same with us! It was like a scene in a movie where the record player scratches to a halt and everyone stops to stare. Not welcoming at all..

  • I’d like to chat with you about this issue and see what I can do to help MPD focus on this establishment. Email me at charlie (at)

  • I used to live up the street and I’m pretty sure it’s used for prostitution.

    similarly, the home on M between 12 & 13th is a cause of a lot of problems and I can’t walk past it. Open drug dealing, open drug use, and lots of prostitutes on that corner. I don’t want to get to work smelling like pot (since my job randomly drug tests….)

    • Weird…I walk by there and never see that. Mainly I just see a bunch of older people sitting outside, which isn’t illegal. Are you sure you aren’t just seeing what you expect to see?

      • You’ve never seen a prostitute around here? Want to bet me $1,000 whether I can photograph one at this intersection in the next week?

      • Depends on the time of day. At 6 a.m. I regularly encounter them on 12th St between M and L. By 7 a.m. they are gone, and remain gone until well past 10 p.m.

      • The 3rd district police email arrest report listed six arrests this weekend for solicitation of prostitutes at 12th and Mass., so JinDC is not imagining things, and it’s still going on.

    • You’re not going to fail a drug test by merely walking past those smoking pot.

  • I walk by the place often…mostly during the day or early evenings. I have never witnessed anything violent but have heard the stories that were mentioned in other comments. Might be worth contacting your ANC rep. I usually side with businesses on noise issues. It’s not like they can do much about people talking or shouting after leaving an establishment but if there’s loitering then you can certainly raise that as an issue.

  • I’ve had similar problems with the Elks Club on 3rd St NW – lots of 2AM wakeups for me too. Absent a liquor license application to protest, your options are fairly limited. ABRA only has jurisdiction over noise that comes from the establishment itself – the police handle noisy patrons. Still, you can call the ABRA noise complaint hotline. They are responsive and will log the complaint, but don’t expect them to come out quickly.

  • Stop being white people who are afraid of Latinos and blue collar people. It’s not that serious – it’s a local bar with local Latinos.

    And an “incident” doesn’t mean much unless the ABC board actually found them liable for a violation.

    • I highly doubt this is a white people scared of minorities situation. There are many Latinos in this area and other Latino establishments that do not harbor this type of crowd or behavior (or comments on this site). I welcome the diversity of this neighborhood, but I do not welcome violent, sexually aggressive, or otherwise unsafe behavior regardless of ethnic background.

    • Agreed. I’m from DC… lived in Miami a bit… now I’m back in DC.

      These are nothing more than blue collar latino’s causing NO problems. Move along.

  • ABRA has a noise hotline that you can call when you experience issues. The number is (202) 329-6347.

  • I’ve been in the neighborhood for a few years and this place is definitely one to avoid when going down 11 st. at night! The constant flow of drunk men during the wee hours makes me wonder about this place. It looks even more suspicious since I only see men (I have not seen a single woman!) loitering around.

  • Thank you everyone for your suggestions! Good to know that I am not the only one who is unhappy with this place. I could care less what they do if they do it quietly behind closed doors and without making the neighborhood feel unsafe!

    To those commenting that I am a white person who fears Latinos – clearly that is the only obvious explanation as to why there would be 23 complaints (as of a couple of years ago) and one homicide – these must all be the result of white people fearing Latinos. Ridiculous!

  • I have lived there for a year and I have found that particular part of the block on 11th St. between M and N to be quite unfavourable and unsafe especially at night. The El Sauce restaurant has a loitering and intoxicated crowd in the late hours of the night. The noise is a distraction and bothers many neighboring buildings. I also suspect a good amount of illegal activity is going on there. More should be done by the city based on the complaints that have been directed towards this establishment.

  • I really do not understand the understatements made here! This place is really bad, most probably illegal in many things, noisy, and nasty! How can people say “nothing more than blue collar latino’s causing NO problems. Move along”, or “this is a white people issue fearing latinos”! This is crazy! No No No!

    I live in the hood and I chose it because I like the edgy feeling of the area, the diversity, and the mix. As said in posts, 10th is lovely, urban and underground yet nice and safe. But not 11th because of this joint! This is awful!

    I have been there several times and this is disgusting! There should even not be able to open the place for sanitary reason.. I wish I could see the kitchen. Most probably this place is used a a cover for other illegal activities! Drugs? Prostitutes? They dont want customers! They just have this shitty food as an excuse. This is a shitty cover and we should call the right department to take them down.

    I want them out. I cannot sleep. My daughter feels unsafe. This is disgusting.

    I really wish we can all come up with ideas and a file to go to the police, for an investigation? Or maybe the health and safety services? Ideas?

  • Forwarded the complaint to ABRA: Their response “This matter was assigned to our Enforcement Division for investigation and El Sauce was placed on our Noise Task Force schedule.”

  • ANC2F is having an ABRA meeting next Wednesday, September 17 at 7 pm. ABRA Director Fred Moosally is coming to the meeting, so those of you who are concerned may want to stop by. It will be at N Street Village, 1333 N Street, NW – 2nd Floor Multi – Purpose Room.
    Sherri Kimbel, Dir of Constituent Services, Councilmember Jack Evans, Ward 2

  • Hi,

    I spoke with the MPD about this establishment and was strongly told to call and encourage others to call 911 if they had specific complaints about this place (for example, if their patrons are causing a public disturbance at 2 am). You can ask that your call be anonymous and that no follow-up visit take place to your place of residence if you want to remain anonymous.

    Without a call to 911, DC police will not be able to take any concrete action, and it will be difficult to get ABRA to do very much, and things will only get worse. Their ability to allocate resources to the neighborhood also depends on the reports made. The MPD is doing whatever it can but without help/reports from the public it can only do so much. In light of the recent operations in the area it is clear that they are trying their best to be responsive, so let’s build on this momentum to improve the neighborhood.

  • Hi,

    I spoke with MPD and they suggested that people do the following:

    1) Call 911 when there is excessive noise/shouting/other issues from El Sauce/wherever and tell the call taker that the complainant (you) does not wish to be interviewed (if you wish to make an anonymous report)
    2) This creates a police response to the noise and a track record of the address
    3) When this happens over time, it establishes a record that the establishment is a community nuisance with ABRA and MPD

    Without a track record of the address the police can only do so much. Given that they seem to be cracking down on crime in the area as seen with the recent anti-prostitution operations, let’s build on this momentum and try to get the neighborhood feeling safer. Assuming someone will do something means nothing will get done, and things will get worse, so please call when you are affected. Would also encourage everyone to attend the meeting on Wednesday with ABRA referred to in Sherri’s post.

  • Thanks a lot for the ABRA and MPD suggestions. I cannot attend the meeting, but I really welcome and appreciate the initiative and I hope the outcomes will be constructive. Thanks again!

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