Last night, Ninth Street NW nightclub DC9 held a fundraiser for Ethiopian charities from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Though the event wasn't advertised via the club's event calendar, fliers were distributed in the vicinity of the establishment.
At a Jan. 19 Alcoholic Beverage Regulation Administration hearing, the liquor board urged the club to reach out to members of the local Ethiopian community in light of the death of Ethiopian-American Ali Ahmed Mohammed outside the club in October. The club had another hearing today, at which the board inquired about DC9's efforts to heal the rift that may have been caused by Mohammed's death. DC9 owner Joe Englert mentioned that his "neighbors have been very nice," and that he has "an extensive partnership with several people in Little Ethiopia." He also mentioned DC9's fundraiser and how it netted $2,000 in pledges. Thirty people attended, Englert said.
At the end of the hearing, the board voted unanimously to end all restrictions previously imposed on DC9. But really, after the lifting of other restrictions in January, there was only one left. Previously, the establishment was not allowed to be open past 11 p.m. on certain nights without paying for an expensive police detail. After today, DC9 can operate the way it did pre-tragedy.
During the hearing, as he had in the past, board member Mike Silverstein suggested DC9 change its name: Remaining open under the same moniker could be seen as an affront to Little Ethiopia, he explained. Englert didn't seem keen on the idea but said he was willing to do some work on the facade. "I'm glad to change the outside of the place," he said. "A different color. A different look."
Photo of Ali Ahmed Mohammed courtesy of Mohammed's family
Months After a Tragedy, Restrictions on DC9 are Lifted was originally published by Washington City Paper on Feb 16, 2011