Local Restaurants Get Smacked With Liquor License Suspensions

ABC Board sets its sights on fine dining spots.

It’s not just Adams Morgan dive bars the DC’s Alcohol Beverage Control Board has its eye on. Last week, would-be diners at Creme Cafe, Bistrot du Coin, Asia Nora and 2 Amys were surprised to find yellow liquor license suspension notices posted outside the restaurants.
An ABC board sting this past August and September resulted in temporary suspensions of several licenses around town. Restaurants and bars were allowed to pick two days to operate without beer, wine or liquor. Many chose last week to serve the suspension, since this post-New Year’s period is considered one of the slowest of the year for restaurants.

During a sting, the ABC board plants underage customers in bars and restaurants. If servers fail to ask for ID and provide them alcoholic beverages, the establishment is subject to a two-day suspension and a fine, and the bartender gets smacked with a misdemeanor charge. At Asia Nora–which has a tiny bar with a only handful of stools–the bust happened during August’s restaurant week. They didn’t serve alcohol on Thursday and Friday of last week, and gave customers with reservations the option of dining at Restaurant Nora instead. Asia Nora co-owner Tommy Damato says that his case worker was handling similar situations at about 20 other restaurants.

At 2 Amys, much of the family-friendly crowd stuck around despite the lack of booze, according to manager Thea MacQuaid. Others opted to try Sushi Sushi across the street instead, just to find that their liquor license had been suspended too. Creme, with its menu of tasty cocktails unavailable, was empty on Friday night. Maybe everyone was kicking back shots at Millie & Al's instead.

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Ann Limpert
Executive Food Editor/Critic

Ann Limpert joined Washingtonian in late 2003. She was previously an editorial assistant at Entertainment Weekly and a cook in New York restaurant kitchens, and she is a graduate of the Institute of Culinary Education. She lives in Logan Circle.