Restaurateurs Line Up for Georgetown Liquor Licenses

Restaurateurs camped outside the Reeves Municipal Center in Northwest D.C. Wednesday night, hoping to get their hands on a liquor license in Georgetown.

Up for grabs at 8:30 a.m. are three restaurant liquor licenses and a tavern license. It's only the second time in nearly 20 years that a tavern license for Georgetown has been available, according to Washinton City Paper

The City Paper hosted a sold-out party celebrating the District's best restaurants Wednesday night -- only three restaurants were from Georgetown, once the city's nightlife mecca. 

"Boy, I really don't go to Georgetown because I live right near 14th street and with all the restaurants opening there, that's where I go to now [for dinner]," D.C. resident Adam Shapiro said.

Georgetown residents endorsed a moratorium -- severe limits on liquor licenses -- in 1989. 

"A business owner has only two choices. One is to purchase one on the secondary market for tens of thousands of dollars or to camp out here like refugees waiting for the opportunity to get an application to start their business," D.C. nightlife advocate Mark Lee said.

Ben Conniff with Luke's Lobster said a liquor license would help boost his business.

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"People come in, they love the food, the ambiance, but they get to the end of the line and they're gonna pay, and they say, 'Well where's my beer? Where's my wine?'" Conniff said.

D.C. restaurants are estimated to have generated $2.1 billion in sales last year, bringing in $400 million in tax revenue to the District.

 
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