Liquor License Enforcement

In recent years, Adams Morgan has become an increasingly popular nightspot. This increased popularity has led to an exponential growth in the number of liquor licensed establishments, thereby decreasing the number of retail and service establishments serving the community. There are now approximately 90 licensed establishments, rivaling Georgetown and Dupont Circle. A graphic illustration of the loss of retail establishments was published in the Washington Post in April 2000.

  • Liquor License Moratorium. To stem future retail losses, KCA, ANC-1C, and other neighborhood associations successfully petitioned the Alcoholic Beverage Control Board to institute a moratorium on new liquor licenses in Adams Morgan (except for hotel licenses and on-premises beer and wine licenses). Other neighborhoods across the city have also obtained liquor license moratoriums, including Dupont Circle, Georgetown, and Glover Park. The Adams Morgan moratorium was renewed in 2004, but now permits new restaurant licenses, while prohibiting only new tavern licenses.
  • Liquor License Hearings. KCA's Alcoholic Beverage Control committee also participates in ABC Board hearings relating to license applications, renewals, and substantial changes (such as physical expansions, changes in hours of operation). In many cases where KCA believes that the licensee has been creating excess noise and trash or otherwise violating the law, KCA will protest renewal of the license. A protest may lead to the execution of a voluntary agreement between the establishment and KCA, in which the parties agree to a variety of terms of operation, including noise, hours, trash, etc. The ANC sometimes joins with KCA as parties, and sometimes the ANC and KCA have separate agreements with the establishment. Protests and voluntary agreements are common throughout the city; they are prescribed by the ABC regulations as ways for citizens to participate and provide input to ABC regarding the operations of neighborhood bars. A partial listing of these agreements may be found at
  • Noise and Other Complaints. If you have any complaints about a particular licensed establishment, please make a complaint with ABRA (442-4423) and/or to the police, with a copy to KCA, so that there will be a record of these complaints when the license is up for renewal.
  • Volunteer. If you would like to volunteer for KCA's ABC Licensing Committee, please contact Denis James at 232-8829 or