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  • Wait how can it have no summer garden endorsement if all it is is a summer garden?

    • I wonder if they needed to re-apply for the summer garden endorsement once they added the physical space in the adjacent building? That would cause them to be operating out of two property plats.

    • I know, right? Very confusing. Would love to hear more from ABRA, Dacha, etc….

  • Woah, Cities on 19th appears to have their liquor license canceled – 4 counts of underage drinking and 8 counts of not checking IDs 😡

    • justinbc

      Sounds about right based on any time I’ve been there.

      • Violations ABRA assigns to Dacha has to do with capacity on ABRA licenses NOT the Certificate of Occupancy that the city gave them and Fire Marshall looks at when they come in. In other words – these violations are nothing but the push by 6 disgruntled neighbors whose sole goal is to get the place shut down.

  • So, very slow afternoon, actually clicked and looked at the document. Why are there 9 different case items for Dacha that read the same but have different hearings scheduled?

    • Also Chaia in GT got their license approved.

    • It appears that ABRA allocates 30 minutes per session for topics. Dacha has so many issues that ABRA is assigning them two back-to-back slots (60 minutes). They have 4 separate dates scheduled to discuss those issues through the end of the year – probably to update ABRA and show progress being made. Maybe also to allocate enough time to account for appeals from the Shaw residents’ group (which really appears to be on top of its game w/r/t to countering motions made by Dacha and using the regulatory process to their advantage).

  • Whew, good thing for Dacha that it is now Fall – they should have until next June to get the summer garden paperwork in order! Yay, loophole!

    (Disclaimer – this comment does not constitute legal advice)

  • Per the Washington Blade and Borderstan, there’s been ongoing drama between Dacha and neighbors for months now – both over the expansion and allegations that Dacha is exceeding the allowed capacity under their existing license. Looks like a group of neighbors was dismissed from the protest, but the ANC is probably still pressing the matter, hence the hearing.

    • What “neighbors”? I around the corner and I’m certain I’ve seen 99% of my neighbors drinking at Dacha at one point or another.

      • You can find the articles online. Clearly some people are unhappy.
        Personally, I’m always perplexed at people who buy homes right near empty lots on commercial strips and then expect total silence at night.

        • HaileUnlikely

          There is a very wide range of noise levels between “total silence” and “Dacha at 10-11 PM.” I find it hard to fault somebody who has owned a home in the area for more than a few years for not having the foresight to recognize that somebody might put an outdoor bar and a bunch of picnic tables in the vacant lot and call it a business and attract a hundreds of people every night – there were few if any beer gardens in DC 10 years ago. I was not even conceptually familiar with beer gardens 10 years ago.

          • And how much have property values increased in that area in the past 10 years, due to businesses like Dacha bringing some life to the neighborhood?

          • As someone that used to frequent the hair salon next door nearly every Sunday morning, neighbors are also sick of having to step through literal puke to get to other businesses in the area. Also- the beer is not cheap! It’s a crazy concept to me that people easily rack up three figure tabs there only to have it all end up partially digested on the sidewalk. Even college kids know to only do that with the cheap stuff

          • HaileUnlikely

            I recognize that the following is, strictly speaking, not knowable, but I would guess that Dacha itself contributed about 0.5% to the overall increase in property values in the area in the past 10 years, seeing as most of the increase predated its existence and the trend was still toward increasing when they came in. I wouldn’t say that it hasn’t contributed anything, but its contribution to the overall increase is surely much closer to zero than to 100%.

      • As someone who is frequently in the position of defending neighborhood establishments, I have good news and bad news.
        Good news: you can help! Motivate your neighbors (or at least stay motivated yourself) to attend the ABRA hearing(s) and voice support for Dacha. You may want to reach out to Dacha itself and let them know you’ll testify on their behalf that they don’t have a “negative impact on neighboring community” (one of four protest categories, and also the most open-ended, making it the complaint of choice for restless NIMBYs).
        Bad news: Your neighbors are going to hate you. And you’re going to have to listen to their emotional, probably sincere, pleas to stop the defacement of their neighborhood with occasional incidents of public urination and displays of affection.
        But, I hope you’ll show up.

  • There’s a couple of nosy NIMBYs renting in the new building to the south that are determined to have it closed down because they feel 7th Street has too many outdoor dining and alcohol serving establishments.

    • I think it’s also some of the SFH owners who also live on that block. They’ve posted here to PoPville before and they stated that Dacha is not abiding by their original settlement agreement. They also felt that Dacha misrepresented their intent (it was supposed to be a low key, “family friendly” venue). Lots of noise complaints from adjacent home owners and tenants.

      • Accountering

        I live right around the corner, and love Dacha, but I am certain they are exceeding their original settlement agreement. This place is swamped 24/7, and I doubt that was the original agreement. I don’t know a ton about specifics, but I know the agreement was fairly stringent, and I doubt that what is happening at Dacha matches the letter of the settlement agreement.

        • Agreement states “100-seated”. They complied with this clause. There is a technicality that has to do with the way “substantial change” is enforced by ABRA and CoO change for Dacha moving at a faster pace than the liquor license. From the last ANC hearing it was evident that Dacha has gone above and beyond to accommodate noise concerns. They hired a sound engineer and spent tens of thousands on sound mitigation. They showed that they are below city regulated 60 decibels and intend to improve it further. The place will turn into an entirely different business if their license is pulled. They will surely sell their lease and move on. NIMBYs complaints will gain a bigger restaurant operator that will certainly capitalize on DCRA allowed 461 capacity for the lot and the existing open format. And then NIMBYs will move to upper NW…leaving real Shaw residents worse off.

          • You’re being just as dramatic as you accuse the “NIMBYs” of being.

          • They have seating for more than 100, they allow triple their licenced capacity, they produce between 70 and 80 sustained db. They built a plywood wall instead of an entire building that they promised in the empty lot. They intend to improve it by putting a beer garden on a beer garden and quintupling the capacity.
            Of course they have to do none of these things to be a successful and welcome business in the neighborhood, but they decided to go another direction.

      • I don’t know what the exact nature of the complaints are, but lived very close Dacha and can understand why neighbors might be reasonably frustrated with some of the noise and other related issues. The main issue I saw there wasn’t inside the bar itself, but with some of the patrons just outside of the gates. It was mostly bros shouting and stuff like that, but it can get tiresome after a while, especially when the establishment doesn’t seem to think it has to do anything about it. I imagine it would only get worse after the full expansion unless Dacha takes more responsibility for it.

        • I believe they are building a sound barrier around the entire beer garden, which should help block any noise. But seriously, this is why we can’t have nice things. In other large cities beer gardens and residential development peacefully co-exist. If you don’t like living next to a beer garden, buy/rent a place down the block a bit. It’s not that hard.

          • justinbc

            It’s not that hard, except for the ~$50K tax implications of selling your home just to move down the block to avoid a bar which is (allegedly) breaking its agreement as a neighbor.

          • HaileUnlikely

            I’ve never been too fond of the “if you don’t like it, move” type of arguments, especially when many area residents were there long before Dacha, and for that matter, were there long before 99% of Dacha’s clientele.

          • And for the people who lived there more than 2 years? Should they just move because a new beer garden opened up?

          • The best thing isn’t to move. The best thing is to choose your home carefully in the first place. Zoning is pretty easy to look up. I can’t say whether Dacha is violating the settlement agreement – but that’s a whole other ball of wax. Settlement agreements are a very odd way of doing business on ABRA’s part, and I can think of several bars in my own neighborhood that have been forced to make ridiculous concessions in order to get a license. Obviously Dacha should abide to whatever terms it agreed upon – but that whole process needs another look.

            Also, if “they were there longer” were a solid argument, we’d all be ceding our land back to the Piscataways. This is a city. Other cities manage this kind of thing just fine–all over Europe and the U.S.–and most of those cities are actually nicer places to live as a result.

          • +1 to Justin and HaileUnlikely.

          • If you had read what I said above, it was that noise *inside* the beer garden wasn’t an issue I observed. It was noise nearby that could be obnoxious. Most bars have signs that say something like “please respect our neighbors and keep your voices down or something like that, and some have bouncers just to keep that kind of noise in check. But some of the noisy-ness I saw around there was just dumb. Like the guy who was shouting the number of pull-ups he had done off a street sign on the corner. A police officer had to stop him (and lord knows the police have better things to do in that area).

          • HaileUnlikely

            As I noted in another comment above, the popularity of outdoor beer gardens is quite new. I suspect lots of people would be cool with having a store or an “ordinary” restaurant there, but had never envisioned the possibility of a business that would cause crowds of 100’s of people drinking to congregate outdoors. I think the very first time I ever heard of a beer garden was in about 2007 or so. Also, I’ll concede that I’ve enjoyed the little bit of time that I’ve spent at Dacha. And I live 6 miles away, so the noise obviously does not impact me in the least, but I thought to myself, even then and there while in a state of mild drunkenness, that it must really suck to live next door because this place is one obnoxious neighbor.

          • Eponymous – have you been to Dacha? The place can be heard 2 blocks away. It’s not just the people living next door that are annoyed.

    • Uh, no. All of the immediate neighbors supported Dacha. We supported them opening up with portapotties and other temporary facilities so they could make some money to get the business going. We testified for them at the ANC and before the city (HBRB, city councilman etc). In return they were going to keep it a small beer garden and build a building at the rear of the lot to block the noise.
      Not only did Dacha not keep their end of the deal. They did exactly what they promised us they’d never do – let it get out of control, and now they’re trying to build a 600 person double decker beer garden. They’ve hired a lawyer to work the regulatory process in their favor.
      The owners will smile to your face as they’re selling you a $10 beer, but they’ll stab you in the back for a dollar (or a couple million as the case may be) . We extended every support we could to help them start up, and they turned around and f***ed us.

      • In a similar situation myself. Have the immediate neighbors thought about lawyering up too? I know its not cheap, and those people (not generic lawyer, but ones who are familiar with ABRA) are hard to come by, but it may help to at least get some concessions out of Dacha. Also, not sure if this is your experience, but I feel the ANC’s talk a big game about preserving the neighborhood, but fold pretty quick.

        • I think you’ll find that any lawyer in town who does ABRA law will not represent residential interests. It’s a business conflict for them; they make money from restaurants/bars. I would say that three of the ANC members have really stuck to their commitments. There is one in particular that didn’t. So it can happen.
          If you’re in the same situation, one thing to keep in mind is that ABRA seems to have little interest in upholding settlement agreements. Ours is turning out to be meaningless. Dacha is in trouble for liquor license violations (total capacity violations), not settlement agreement violations.
          Ultimately you’re relying on the people you’re dealing with to have integrity in this situation. If not, you’re on the wrong side of the fight financially, regulatorily and in the court of public opinion. Our neighborhood 1) supported dacha, 2) were patient for two years waiting for them to get on their feet financially and meet their commitments 3) were willing to talk about how to support expansion even after Dacha told us they were making a boatload and subsequently breaking their commitments to make more.
          We weren’t even pushing for them to keep their original commitments, let alone shut down. So we’ve been supportive, patient and accommodating, but that has translated to people labeling us nimby, anti-business and malcontents for trying to shut Dacha down; none of which is true. People have gotten in my neighbors’ faces and we’ve received threats over the internet. Much of this is due to the fact that Dacha can blast out messages to thousands of followers who like drinking beer outside (who doesn’t?) with whatever message they want. A lot of people will be convinced that a business that has grossed millions by breaking promises to the very neighbors who helped them get open is somehow the victim in this scenario.
          Dacha could have been a wildly successful business in Shaw, which was welcomed by neighbors who accepted certain impacts that a small beer garden would have (it worked out well in the beginning). They could have done their indoor expansion with our complete and emphatic support; as long as they worked with us on mitigating the impacts of backing out of some of their outdoor commitments. Instead the owners have decided that money is worth more than their word and that it’s in their interest to lawyer up and steamroll the families and individuals who trusted them and supported them before anyone had heard of ‘Dacha’.

  • this place is obnoxious.

  • I’m shocked (shocked!) to hear that Dacha might have gone back on an agreement they made.

  • Dacha has really gotten out of hand. I was in total support when they were first starting out. It was a fun, small, pretty well attended beer garden, and then it got crazy packed and soooo looouuuudd. I don’t go any more because you can barely move an inch and even though it’s outside you can barely hear your friends.

  • I LOVE Dacha!!

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