Support All Souls Bar Patio

725 T Street, NW

From All Souls Bar facebook:

“Dear Friends and Neighbors,

We are in the process of applying for a patio permit in the empty space on 8th Street next to the bar. This is being met with opposition. Once again we feel this opposition is unwarranted with some misinterpretation of the law and our intentions.

We’ve attended the last two ANC ABRA committee meetings to present our ideas and discuss them with the neighborhood. You can read about them here thanks to Short Articles about Long Meetings:…/all-so……/two-qu…

Our intention is to create an outdoor space for the neighborhood to enjoy. An extension of who we are; a simple gathering place that is cared for and well maintained. We want to take a barren lot and surround it with trees and plantings to beautify the corner for pedestrians and patrons alike.

We want a patio with table service only—no standing, no speakers and no smoking (sorry folks). A patio with limited hours. We want a place that will enhance our neighborhood by making it greener and safer by having more eyes on the street. A place that is not a threat to peace, order and quiet.

If you believe in All Souls and our outdoor vision please let the ANC know how you feel. We will need all the support we can get before our next committee meeting April 15.

Please email using the subject line: ALL SOULS PATIO
Nick Baumann, chair of the ABRA committee
[email protected]

Brian Footer ([email protected]) our rep
Ellen Sullivan ([email protected]) our neighboring rep
David Batista ([email protected]) me

Please include your name and address and let them know why you support All Souls and our patio.

If you live in ANC 1B please email your representatives as well:…/advisory-neighborhood-commission-1b-00

The ABRA committee meets the 3rd Wednesday of the month, which is April 15th, at the Thurgood Marshall Center at 1816 12th St, NW. It is open to the public as is the ANC meeting on May 7th. We’ll keep you posted on both.

Thanks for your help,
David Batista / All Souls”



By the way – this what the vacant space used to look like before All Souls:



43 Comment

  • I live a block from here, and I can tell you that this opposition is total garbage by a few people who just oppose all development–total Wallach place level NIMBYISM. That corner flat out needs more people–shortly before All Souls opened, there was a drug-deal-related shooting in the parking lot diagonally across the street while children were on the school playground. There’s just no way that would have happened if this intersection looked like those renderings.

    Plus Dave is just the greatest bartender EVAH.

  • I like the idea of seeing a mugging while enjoying the fresh air

  • That patio looks amazing! Maybe need to move down from the Mount.

  • Another perfect example of why ANCs should be abolished. Those SALM entries are crazy. The ANC is too often a vehicle for people to force their idiosyncratic views on others.

    • If you don’t like the actions of your ANC Single Member District rep, vote him or her out of office. ANCs are the only opportunity we have to be represented on a level more local than the ward level.

      • Nonsense. Have the city is stuck in limbo with projects failing to get off the ground because of a few busy body ANC commissioners who expect to put their stamp on area businesses, even though the vast majority have never tried to start a business, much less knows what it takes to make it a success. Chicago started with this idea of ANCs and that abolished it once they realized it caused more problems than they ever resolved.

  • I think concern about its effect on the school are dumb, but if I lived in the house that is directly next to the proposed patio I think I would be upset too.

    • Yeah, that’s the kind of thing people love to have a block away, but maybe not right next door. I’m sympathetic to them, but at the same time, a business located in a commercially-zoned block ought to be able to have reasonable business activities, and a low-key patio with restricted hours sounds reasonable to me.

      • “…a low-key patio with restricted hours sounds reasonable to me.”
        But we all know this won’t be a “low key” patio. Take a look at Dacha, El Rey, Garden District and every other place with an outdoor drinking patio frequented by yuppie-bros in Shaw/U Street. Even worse, this place doesn’t serve food. So it really will just be a patio for drinking. As much I love an outdoor bar, I am completely sympathetic to the neighbors annoyance.

        • All Souls clientele is far more composed than the boorish crowds that go to Dacha, -or the Brixton & Nellie’s. A patio is a better alternative to the drug dealing and loitering at 7th near the CVS.
          The patio is geared towards “grown-ups”.

      • Ok – so if I buy a place right next to a commercial property, I should expect what next door? Only businesses that I approve?

        Maybe the person who decided to buy a property for, one would assume, several hundred thousand dollars in a nightlife district basically on top of a commercial property they might think through the possibility that a bar would open up next to them.

        Or should they be able to approve all businesses that open up in the area because the own one portion of one block?

        Their arguments make no sense. They can’t remotely justify their myopic approach to their real estate. They bought NEXT TO A COMMERCIAL PROPERTY. Why should they be able to dictate what happens next door? Nothing was re-zoned, nothing changed. They should have thought smarter about their purchase instead of trying to limit business and opportunity for everyone else in the area.

    • FWIW, the most recent “shortarticlesaboutlongmeetings” blog article I read about this makes it sound like all of the opposition is from people who aren’t neighbors, but just opposed to the project on anti-development grounds. Has anyone seen otherwise?

      • The original opponents who protested the license, and then later signed the Voluntary Agreement are all very-nearby neighbors. I was reading a little about the history, and the owner wanted a patio from the beginning, and withdrew the request in order to get the original liquor license. I guess I’d be upset if someone agreed to do not do something during a negotiation, and then came back 2 years later asking for it anyway. Seems like kind of a give-an-inch take-a-mile situation.

        • Didn’t know that that was part of the original agreement. Puts a little different light on it for me.
          I understand both sides. Yes, I do like outdoor patios and this bar in particular, and this is a commercial property as somebody points out below. On the other hand, commercial property and particularly liquor licenses are quite regulated and have been for a long, long time, so it’s not fair to say “you bought by a commercial strip so have no right to voice any objection about any use.” Lastly, after having renters next door who had (moderately sedate) backyard gatherings each and every weekend from April through November, there is no way this doesn’t significantly affect the near-neighbors.

        • Yeah, I didn’t understand nimbyism until Dacha came to our neighborhood. They promised a small neighborhood hangout, with a vision of a relaxed environment, etc etc. basically the same message as all souls. They even had pictures of mature trees just like allsouls (can’t be permitted). The neighborhood got behind this beautiful concept.

          What we got is hundreds of drunk people shoulder to shoulder when there is good weather, and now they’re pushing for an expansion of outdoor space on top of that, and what the heck, let’s put a beer garden deck on top of that beer garden to just complete the epic betrayal of our neighbors trust.

          So yeah, I get Nimbyism now. Totally get it.

          These are not artists who are trying to craft the world in a beautiful vision; this is just about maximizing revenue and they could care less about their neighbors.

          I think that taking this issue to a public forum, where people who like drinking at bars outside will outnumber the neighbors that will be impacted, is a pretty brutally low political tactic that goes to show how little they care. I hope the ANC takes that into consideration.

          There is nimbyism in this town because the ‘agreements’ these businesses are making with the neighbors are not honored, and then you spend every single year dealing with them trying to push the envelope.

          So I would advise the neighbors to be very very cautious. I can not raise a family in my house because I didn’t understand nimbyism. It is a life altering mistake. Don’t make the same blunder we did.

          • I’m sorry Dacha made you so disenchanted. However, you can’t lump the thousands of business owners in this city together into one group. Just because you think the owners of Dacha don’t care about their neighbors, doesn’t mean the owners of All Souls don’t care. All Souls has been a great neighbor for the past 16 months and there’s no evidence that this will change. So don’t say business owners could “care less about their neighbors”. Anyone who knows David the owner of All Souls will agree that your statements are nonsensical and not based in fact.

          • Anna – this is not a high end restaurant with customers who will quietly sip their drinks and engage in subdued conversation. This is a bar. Bars are loud. If you take a bar, and you put it outside, you still have a loud bar, but without walls to contain the noise. To use their own words – this will be an extension of what they are. Perfectly stated really.

            I like all souls. It’s fun being there. But imagine if you had to be there. Every day. Every hour they are open. And you cannot leave. That’s what it is like living next to bars with significant outdoor drinking. The idyllic outdoor space they are describing cannot be delivered even if they wanted to.

            If they cared about he neighbors would they be trying to upend the deal they made with them to not have outdoor drinking? No they wouldn’t.

            If they cared about their neighbors would they be trying to railroad them on a blog that caters to a pro development, affluent, drinking crowd (That’s pretty much me anyway)? No they wouldn’t.

            You cannot possibly answer either of those questions another way if you’re being honest.

            They’re leaving money on the table by not having this outdoor space. That’s what the calculus comes down to. As business owners they can only let that be the case for so long, and then they’ll try to jettison the deal they made with the neighbors that let them open in the first place. This is not evil, but it is deadly predictable.

            The lesson to neighbors is, ultimately, don’t take a risk with these businesses because they act in self interest, not in good faith. Don’t even open the door a crack, because you’ll be in a fight every single year not to have the hinges blow off. That’s where the nimbyism comes from.

            I didn’t get it before. I hope you never have to deal with a situation that teaches you the way I learned or the neighbors of AllSouls are apparently going to learn.

          • Ok, ‘Still Learning 2 Nimby” – explain to me what went through your, or any other person who bought on that street, mind’s when you picked up a property in THE GOING OUT AREA in all of DC? The area that has been gentrifying and opening up bars for well over a decade. No one considered that more bars would open in the area, really? Especially in properly zoned areas?

            It’s beyond hypocritical that anyone near that corridor who purchased anything in recent memory would campaign against entrepreneurs maximizing commercial real estate to its full potential.

            Why should anyone limit their own ideas and their own potential because YOU and the other NIMBY folks did not contemplate the variables before making a significant investment of their money. This is not All Soul’s fault, and any reasonable adult should be ASHAMED that they are attempting to stifle a local business from doing exactly what we cherish to be important: creating something out of nothing, adding to the communal feel of an area, and creating economic growth.

            That property was a blight for how long? At least since 2010 since I moved into the area. You NIMBY folk did NOTHING. You didn’t do anything about it. You sat there and watched it rot and now you want to complain about someone who came along and made something positive out of your neglect?

            Why didn’t you open a book store 10 yrs ago? Why didn’t you make a coffee shop? Why didn’t you do anything for years and now show up when someone wants to create a patio? A PATIO FOR A BAR. Its not a sex shop, it isn’t Applebee’s. It’s a locally run establishment that will add to the culture and create more economic value than anything you ever dreamt. You should be thanking them.

            It’s embarrassing that you even try to feign an argument.

          • You are in a rage that someone would try to inconvenience a business, but fully supportive of a business trying to inconvenience people? You are in fact a poster child for my argument.
            As to the Nimby neighbors who have done nothing to improve the neighborhood; you’re absolutely blind if you think that the investment dollars didn’t come from them before these businesses could even contemplate a business model that worked. On my block alone there has been millions of dollars invested rehabbing our homes by people who live here. I’m on the low end and I have invested enough to build two new homes in most construction markets. So don’t for one second discount the massive economic boom that came from residential investment in Shaw.
            Neighbors have supported most every businesses with open arms. The churches are out there protesting everything, but they hardly have any pull these days. The only time there is any real negotiation is when a business proposes something that will immediately harm the neighbors. That’s a pretty low bar to clear.
            You want a bar? Welcome.
            You want to put an outdoor drinking space in the middle of a commercial corridor that’s opens onto other commercial properties? Go for it.
            You want to make some more money at the cost of the peaceful enjoyment of abutting residential properties? We can do better with another business.
            They can use the word ‘patio’ all they want to make the expansion sound innocuous. The reality is that it’s an outside bar, and they have more square feet outside than they do inside. An outside bar is not just the normal noise of a city. It is not just the normal use of a commercially zoned space. So lets drop the self righteous bs that this is the most natural thing in the world and everyone should just expect it as a matter of course.
            As to not being able to conceptualize the unfathomable economic impact of a thousand square feet of poured concrete where beer and spirits are served; I think you’ll find that most of your nimby neighbors are significantly more affluent than the backwards yokels you portray them to be.

        • Blithe

          From the little that I’ve read about this, I agree with your assessment. Perhaps the owners were hoping that after two years, they would win enough community support to outweigh the concerns of the nearby neighbors. What stands out to me in the self-serving blurb about being “a simple gathering place”…”with limited hours” — is that the hours aren’t specified. I’m guessing that’s a deliberate effort to gloss over the very real intrusions that the patio might present to nearby neighbors.

          • Blithe – I agree with the first part of your statement. The owners obviously have won the support of the community with their last two years of business. They created what is clearly one of the best bars in dc out of what was basically a daily cracked-out reenactment of The Battle of the Alamo.

            What did the people next door do about policing or improving that area for the years it sat vacant and hollow prior to All Souls opening up? What did anyone there do about anything? Did they go pick up trash? Did they do anything to clean up the blight of that block? Did they do anything that would show the kids who go to school there that an urban area should be something more than a degraded, bombed out shelter filled with crack fiends and rubbish? Did they invest their time, money, or effort into anything? No. They didn’t. Someone did and why should we restrict them from investing more? It’s absurd.

            They didn’t do ANYTHING. Nobody there did anything or had any vision at all to improve the area. They bought next to commercial zoning and left it to rot. Good job people. Now other people did all of the hard work, absorbed all of the risk, and dreamt all of the dreams that changed that corner into something respectable, something people actually want. Yet you all want to complain?

            It does not add up.

          • Blithe

            Dolph Strike, please read the post by SLTN 4/4 at 12:32. I get it: you strongly support the expansion of the patio. And don’t seem troubled by the renegotiation af a settled agreement or the legitimate concerns of the neighbors who live near the proposed patio. Long diatribes that don’t bother to address these points aren’t helping your cause IMO.

      • OK, here’s what I read before. There are neighbors who are opposed, including the person who owns the house which shares a wall with All Souls. From SALM:
        Of the four people who came to the meeting to object to outside seating, none of them identified themselves as having a connection to Cleveland Elementary School. All of them self-identified as neighbors.
        “We don’t want a patio,” said one neighbor, who is also a member of the committee.
        Another neighbor, who owns an abutting property, told the committee that the neighbors had fought for a settlement agreement with All Souls that excluded outside seating, and that they did not want the agreement changed. The tenant of the same abutting property also appeared and said she was against outside seating.
        Yet another neighbor said he was against the bar at its opening but was now a customer of All Souls Bar. Still, he said, he was against outside service.

        • A couple comments as a neighbor ( I could throw a rock through their window from my porch):
          – Full disclosure- I love this bar, and the staff. It attracts great clientele that act like adults and respect the neighbors.
          – I can understand where you might assume the “give an inch, take a mile” approach here but I think their initial liquor license was hard fought enough that they decided to appease doubting neighbors by keeping business indoors to start. After all, as a neighbor you never know if the bar applying for a license nearby is a good neighbor like All Souls, or will turn out to be McFadden’s on Seventh (comming soon??)
          – In my opinion, All Souls is reapplying for the patio now not to “take a mile” but in the hopes that the community around them has gained the trust that they can police their clientele, and their patio will not be a disruption to the neighbors. I support it and think it would be a great addition to the block.
          – FWIW, it looks like there are pillars in place for patio coverings further up the block in the new development as well.

    • I know the people who live in the property directly adjacent and I don’t think she/they are the problem or opposition.

    • If you don’t want to live next to a commerical patio, then do not rent/buy/squat/adversely possess property that sit nexts to a commercially zoned row. People will check crime stats and school districts before moving, and they should also look at too.

      • How about, if you don’t want to face opposition from neighbors, don’t open your bar in a property that’s next to a row of houses.

        • Hey, that’s great insight BBB20009.

          How about this: DC is one of the most limited major cities in the US when it comes to commercial zoning and potential real estate developments. The city can’t go vertical. Real estate is expensive here, especially commercial real estate opportunities. It almost always takes enormous amounts of capital or some cheesy terrible backing group to get anything done.

          So, if you are an independent business owner who wants to have any chance at starting a business in a city with significant restrictions, you may take that risk and go after a place that is not in the perfect area. After all, it was zoned commercially at one point. So why is it their fault that they opened a bar in a perfectly legally zoned place? Why is it not the people who bought next to a place that was zoned for years? Why shift the accountability from the people who were poorly researched, myopic, and tyrannical to those who followed the basic premise of zoning regulation?

          They should be able to do whatever the want with this property, bottom-line. Sorry the neighbors didn’t know what they were doing when they made what is probably the biggest investment of their entire lives. Oh yeah, let’s protect them. That makes sense.

          • Complains about height restriction and highest and best use of limited commercial space… Defends patio. Lol.

  • Please give a sizeable donation to Cleveland Elementary. It will help clear your karma and also win favor with the PTA. Funding is badly needed for afterschool, supplies, etc. today the teacher asked me to bring two packs of printer paper– they’re out.
    -signed Cleveland parent who originally opposed this development and still on the fence my husband is still opposed)

  • If they only allowed smoking on the patio…..

  • Wonder how those that oppose it feel about the other corner at the end of the block by CVS that’s always filled with people loitering all day long. As someone that lives a few block away, would definitely think the patio would help.

  • I live on the next block of 8th St, and have been going to All Souls since opening day. We would be lucky to have more people running things in the neighborhood like Dave and the All Souls crew — great folks. Besided, their proposal is for no smoking and no standing, so this ain’t gonna be a Dacha situation.

    • Really game this out in your head. Will a crowd of outdoor drinkers naturally conform to seated drinking only? No way.

      So will the bartenders, night after night, battle with their customers who wander outside on a beautiful night simply because there is no seating left? They’re fighting a losing and exhausting battle that will just tick customers off.

      Really think about this scenario, is that plausible at all? Maybe at a restaurant you can do that, but at a bar that pushes bourbon and beer?

      Let’s throw reality out of the window and pretend it does go down that way; is a crowd of a few dozen sitting drunk people a quiet phenomenon or a loud one?

      If you are really a neighbor, I’d put money down that you are singing another tune a year after they open an outdoor drinking area.

      For the record; Dacha painted a picture of calm seated drinking as well when they got our support. Didn’t play out that way. But guess what, the new beer deck their putting on top of the beer garden will be … Wait for it… seated drinking only too.


      • I’m sorry, “Still learning 2 Nimby”, but you are making this too easy. Your conclusions jump several stages of logic and throw rationality to the wind.

        So one business failed to honor its promises and you assume ALL businesses act the same way? Really? Talk about throwing reality out the window. I can’t even make analogies because the premise is so absurd, so asinine.

        Oh, I had mayor who promised things and let me down. NO MAYOR WILL EVER GUARD THEIR WORD.
        Enron performed shady accounting activities and bankrupted people. I WILL NEVER INVEST IN ENERGY.
        Toyota recalled their vehicles for defects. ALL TOYOTAS ARE GARBAGE.
        The Rolling Stones made a bad album. THEY CAN’T MAKE HITS.

        Shall I continue? Why extrapolate things that are COMPLETELY independent from one another? It’s not the same ownership group, it’s not anyone remotely involved with this business, yet you assume they all operate in the same fashion and will engender the same results. Doesn’t sound too healthy of a mindset to me.

        So, give All Souls a chance. If things go poorly, they will have to reapply at some point and you can actually raise valid points instead of your Disneyland fantasies where everything is interconnected and life is a cartoon, and you cite things that never occurred and never will. This isn’t Never Never Land, Peter Pan. Let’s give ’em a chance.

        • Really “hyperbole strike”? Well, despite Enron’s great bearing on this situation, lets endeavor to address a salient point.
          So you think that a pure bar with a substantial outside space is quiet? Yes/No?
          So you think that the customers will just be seated and this will all be a very orderly scene? Yes/No?
          You think there’s some deep higher purpose to an expansion, and it’s not about revenue? Yes/No?
          So you think that going against the wishes of their immediate neighbors – and rolling back a key term of an agreement – is worthy of additional trust? Yes/No?
          So you think that bringing this to a public forum, where the affected neighbors will be outnumbered by people who like to drink at bars by an immense amount is laudable? Yes/No?
          I’m judging this business by their actions. In the interest of walking you through my generalized points; I was explaining why nimbyism takes hold. It’s because businesses like these take these kinds of tack against the interests of their neighbors, so their default approach becomes defensive.
          It’s funny; I think if there were someone in an apartment building that had an unruly neighbor, that partied all night, and woke you up will yelling and general drunkenness, people on this site would think that was ridiculous. But you take the same scenario, replace one unruly neighbor with 50, and add someone profiting from it all, and all of the sudden the people doing the disturbing is not the sin, complaining about it is.
          Life is a cartoon indeed.

  • And I almost forgot — the ABRA guy said last time that he only received 8 emails about this from both sides. If you support this, send an email — I just did.

  • There are a lot of bar patios where people stay seated and pretty chill, and relations with neighbors are good — like Wonderland, for example (also near residences and a school). Alcohol does not necessarily = rowdiness. I guess some folks have had bad experiences with other bars, but didn’t you move to the city for vibrant commerce and culture and interaction with people? If you’re looking for quiet just move to mt. pleasant. There is absolutely no danger of the hottest new thing opening up here. None.

  • Blithe and Nimby: just to set the record straight, the voluntary agreement that All Souls signed with the neighbors specifically DID NOT address an outdoor space. It only speaks to trash and rodents. Please stop trying to mislead readers with comments not based in fact.

    • Blithe

      Anna Cooper: My comment referred to renegotiating an agreement that the neighbors likely viewed as settled. I did not specify the details of the agreement. I have no interest in misleading — or leading– anyone anywhere. Please read my comments a bit more carefully, and try not to twist them.

    • Like Blithe, I said nothing about the contents of the voluntary agreement document. There was however an agreement made that is now being revisited and the general bar-going population is being rallied to railroad the known opposition of neighbors. I completely agree with you about making all efforts to avoid being misleading. To that end:
      The reason that there is no outdoor seating currently is that the proprietors agreed not to apply for any outdoor seating on their liquor license. This agreement came out of negotiations with the ANC and neighbors and was reported by various local publications.
      I would point out the line in the voluntary agreement: “This voluntary agreement does not include an application for a patio since it was removed from the liquor license application”. That line wasn’t put in there on a whim; it was to purposefully explain that the only reason there wasn’t an outside seating provision in the VA because the proprietors agreed to withdraw any application for outdoor seating.
      My understanding is that, before the commitment was made not to apply for outdoor seating, an offer was on the table via the ANC Commissioner for the area to allow for a patio in the front of the building only, and to prohibit outdoor seating on the side of the building (where currently proposed ‘patio’ is). That seemed like an entirely reasonable compromise to have an actual patio as opposed to an outdoor drinking space larger than the bricks and mortar bar, and just calling it a ‘patio’.
      Does that sound inaccurate? Does that change the created expectation among residents that even if you come to an initial agreement with a business, you’re just exposing yourself to fighting these battles over and over? Does that change any of the unavoidable realities of operating a large outdoor drinking space that directly abuts residential space?
      Honestly, church groups aside, the neighborhood overall has been very supportive of businesses in recent years. A significant portion of us are young, bar-going, pro-business, pro-investment people. A significant portion of the people who have lived here for decades (and do not resemble Dolph’s characterization at all) are equally supportive of neighborhood investments, and have been fighting for improvements long before Shaw became a safe bet for the rest of us. However, an outdoor bar is just about the most disruptive use of commercial property other than an open-air concert venue. I would hesitate to even put opposition to that in the category of ‘nimbyism’.

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