News & Politics

Adams Morgan’s The Reef Closes for Good After Stabbing Incident

The bar, which opened in 2001, was one of the first in Adams Morgan to specialize in craft beer.

Photograph by Flickr user rachelvoorhees.

The Reef, a popular if sometimes dodgy tavern in Adams Morgan, is closing for good, its management announced today. The decision to shut the bar’s doors forever comes a bit more than two weeks after a patron was stabbed in an altercation there.

“As many of you know, the last few weeks have been very challenging for the Reef,” the bar said in a message distributed by email and Facebook. “After much effort, and cooperation between the ownership, our amazing staff and community, and the ABRA, we were able to regain our license and reopened our doors. However, as a result of the recent events we can no longer operate.”

DC police shuttered The Reef for 96 hours and suspended its liquor license after the Aug. 10 stabbing, using a common procedure that follows violent crimes at bars and restaurants. The Reef did reach an agreement with the Alcoholic Beverage Control Board to re-open a few days later, but it appears that was not enough.

The Reef opened at 2446 18th St., NW in 2001, and while it stuck out in an Adams Morgan that features an increasing number of remodeled and improved restaurants and bars, it was one of the first haunts along the busy corridor to focus on craft beer rather than the mass-market swill of so many blackout nights. It also saw its share of unfortunate scenes, well before this month’s stabbing, such as a night last year in which a man attempted to leap from its roof to that of a neighboring bar after his girlfriend chucked his sunglasses.

“To everyone we say, ‘Cheers Bro’, and Thank You,” The Reef’s message concludes.

Staff Writer

Benjamin Freed joined Washingtonian in August 2013 and covers politics, business, and media. He was previously the editor of DCist and has also written for Washington City Paper, the New York Times, the New Republic, Slate, and BuzzFeed. He lives in Adams Morgan.