“Bureaucracy Always Wins” – 38 year old enclosed patio torn down

by Prince Of Petworth December 16, 2015 at 1:05 pm 16 Comments

237 2nd Street, NW

A reader reports:

“Looks like the Alibi (formerly My Brother’s Place) finally tore down their 38 year old enclosed patio down over the weekend. The door still says “open” but it looked awfully quiet yesterday.”


  • Amy

    Who is sad about this? My Brother’s Place was a sticky dump, and while the Alibi has much improved the space, that enclosed patio wasn’t well built, well insulated, or attractive. Hopefully this means the Alibi is making money – the guys who run it are really nice and the food is good.

  • Amy

    The Alibi was packed yesterday — first day the upstairs was open. Food is great and liquor license should finally come in January!

  • spookiness

    If it was an unpermitted or non-conforming structure, they had a 38-year run. The process worked.

    • RMahoney

      Agreed, it looked horrible anyway.

  • Employee on the block

    I’m interested to learn more about this place because most of my experience comes from rumors about the rift between the neighboring law office and the Alibi owner. Most of the rumors centered on the law office having something to do with Alibi being denied a liquor license. Now with the patio closure, I wonder if the law office was involved in that as well (somehow). On the opposite side of the rift, I once walked by and saw a man (who looked to be the same person that owns the restaurant) belligerently screaming in the direction of the law offices. Not three weeks later, I saw expletive graffiti on the door of the law office that made me immediately wonder if the culprit also came from the restaurant. A violently angry restaurant owner makes me reluctant to eat at the restaurant, but maybe the law office is taking out their anger in some similarly vicious ways.

    • gabeyo

      Its not rumors the owner gets drunk at Hamltions broke down the whole story. His neighbor has been suing him and is diffidently the reason why the patio was closed. I cannot remember the exact details but if you are at Hamilton’s and the owner has got an aussie or Irish accent and is willing to scream about any chance he can get.

  • john

    I’ll admit that I don’t know the details of this case, but I believe that zoning, construction, and permitting errors on one’s own private property (whether intentional or not) attract less attention and scrutiny from the city than similar matters on public property. My guess is that this is why there was no room to negotiate, simply because the property on which the patio was built isn’t theirs.

  • Jesse

    I got drunk there with my now wife for the first time 14 years ago.

    We also got thrown out of there, and rightfully so, the following weekend for pouring our own drinks at the bar.

    I loved My Brother’s Place.

  • anon

    The structure that was torn down was illegally built (enclosed cafés in public space must be non permanent structures that can easily be removed in 24 hours and the public space restored, which this structure was not) . The restaurant owner started to renovate and was told that they needed permits. They continued to renovate the space, “improving” a space they didn’t have the right, let alone permits, to improve. They were told repeatedly to cease and desist. They finally sought permits, were continually obstinate to the permitting committee, and told what was needed to help them with their case. They continued to defy the permitting committee’s recommendations hearing after hearing and even cursed them out during the final decision. It was a cluster, to put it mildly. Had they been good actors, this wouldn’t have been so contentious.

  • anon

    wait til they apply for a sidewalk permit. The lawyers will just LOVE that. Careful what you wish for

  • Kelly

    Hmmm, “Anonymous” from December 16th????? You wouldn’t happen to be this infamous lawyer? You seem to know a lot about what’s been going on. You were even at this hearing where you heard cursing from the owner?!! That’s a lot of commitment to attend a hearing . . . and you certainly don’t sound like you were there in support of the place. If the renovations performed were somehow illegal, I doubt they would have the permits to operate a restaurant right now. Does the same agency that issues permits for renovations, issue business licenses? And by the way, the renovations are AMAZING. If you’ve ever been to the prior My Brother’s Place, you will have to agree the place is virtually unrecognizable . . . or maybe you would prefer to have the old dingy dive bar back “anon.”

  • Miles

    I work in the area and I heard the biggest issue they had with keeping it was the limited amount of sidewalk space. They even did a traffic study I think to show that the sidewalk wasn’t an issue. There are a lot of NEW patios though all around the city with less room for people to walk by and in a lot busier areas. 8th Street is by far the worse. I don’t know if there is a difference when you have a structure on public space or not, but seems like the government dug their teeth into this space in particular if it was really over how much room their is on the sidewalk. The sidewalk was recently all repaved. You would think the issue would have been addressed then. There is a nice new big puddle in the sidewalk though that sits around at least 5 days after every rainfall and that I’ve accidentally stepped in several times ever since they redid the sidewalk.

  • Rachel

    Gabeyo, I am the owner. I’m female and American. I don’t get drunk, I don’t speak with an Irish/Aussie accent and I don’t get mistaken for a man. I also don’t waste my breath and energy complaining about my neighbor at the bar next door. I am too busy trying to run my business. The other owner is my father who is in his late 50s, hardly ever curses, and is clearly American as well.


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