December 04, 2009

Business is Picking Up

If last night’s ANC meeting is any judge, the economy is picking up.  Two separate petitioners sought approval for liquor licenses for their upcoming businesses on U Street and one petitioner presented plans to renovate a vacant building into a restaurant.


The colorfully-dressed owner of Marvin (2007 14th St NW) sought and received support for two minor modifications to his voluntary agreement.  One amendment will allow him to keep an upstairs door open and the second will nix the requirement that he keep decibel readers in the restaurant.

The latter amendment, he stressed, does not exempt Marvin from the noise restriction, but merely relieves him from having to buy expensive (and fragile) volume-measuring equipment.

Cuckoo Marans

The newly renovated building at the northeast corner of 14th and U Streets has signed two tenants, one for the ground up and one for the basement.  The proprietors of the future basement venue Cuckoo Marans (a type of hen) bill their nightclub (Retail Class C) as a “music and arts club” and envision hosting musical acts that might not be able to fill venues as large as the 9:30 Club.  They added that though their business will focus primarily on music, they will feature other arts, too.

The ANC voted to oppose the license as a tactical measure until the proprietors of both the upper floors and the basement could come to a voluntary agreement with the ANC.

U Street Music Hall

The night’s other new license petitioner, a DJ and former Smithsonian employee, presented his plans for the U Street Music Hall to be located in the basement of 1115 U Street NW (the former location of the now-shuttered Cue Bar).  The venue will offer free DJ classes to elementary and middle-school kids in the afternoon and will serve as a music venue at night.

The petitioner has asked for DCRA for a maximum capacity of 399 people, a number that department will likely reduce and a number at which Commissioner Brianne Nadeau balked.  The petitioner is seeking the permission of ABRA to close at 4 am Friday and Saturday nights so as not to spill a crowd of drunken patrons onto the street at the city’s 3 am last call.

As with Cuckoo Marans, the ANC voted to oppose the license as a tactical measure until the petitioner could come to a voluntary agreement with the ANC.

Brixton Pub

At 901 U Street, across the street from Nellie’s, sits a building that has been vacant for twenty years.  The petitioners presented plans to renovate the building into a restaurant and bar with a roof deck.  Sitting on the elbow edge of the L’Enfant Plan, the building renovation requires approval of the Historic Preservation Review Board.  The renderings, which we have not had a chance to scan yet, look pretty nice.

The petitioner is hoping to secure building permits next month for a construction process that will last about four months.

The ANC voted to support the petitioner’s conceptual design.

Categories: Development Projects, Historic Preservation, Local Businesses
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2 Replies

  1. […] relented and took no further action on Cuckoo Marans and the U Street Music Hall, both of which we wrote about earlier.  The ANC typically protests all new licenses officially as a means to goad applicants to reach […]

  2. […] reported earlier on the proposed U Street Music Hall, a dance club venue to occupy the former Cue Bar at 1115 U […]

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