Folks may have noticed that we are getting a new establishment in the former location of Mum Mum (previously Zabb Asian Diner, and before that Straits of Malaya). The new name is Rebellion (http://rebelliondc.com/), as a reference to the Whiskey Rebellion, and the advertised focus will be on whiskey. I’ve reached out to the new owners but have not had a chance to meet with them in person yet.
There is a 2008 Voluntary Agreement (“VA” — which are now called “Settlement Agreements” under revised liquor laws) that is attached to the liquor license for this location (1836 18th Street NW). This VA dates back to the time when I first joined the ANC. I thought it would be useful to provide some background and history about the VA. The agreement itself can be found here: 1836 18th ST NW 2008 28 05 Straits SA.
I was the designated representative for a “group of 5 or more” protestants from T Street. This was a protest of a license renewal, not a new license or a substantial change. Neither the ANC nor the Dupont Circle Citizens Association joined the protest. The group of 5 asked the ANC to protest, but the ANC took no action. The protest was filed before I became and ANC Commissioner in August 2007, but the issue continued into 2008. This was right after Plum Blossom opened, and this group of residents was trying at that point to see if we could get everyone in this part of 18th Street to change their licenses to something like 11pm/12am and agree to the ANC’s then-template VA provisions. The existing Straits license allowed 2:00am closing on weeknights and 3:00am closing on weekend.
The owners of Straits and the abutting neighbor on T Street negotiated and signed a VA separately from the protestant group. (The abutting neighbor was not a protestant.) The owners asked us to sign the same VA, but we did not.
We had several months of difficult and sometimes contentious discussions between the protestants and the Straits owners. We ultimately withdrew our protest after multiple and lengthy discussions (including mediation and 2 status hearings before the Alcoholic Beverage Control Board), because the establishment essentially had no violations in operating over many years. Moreover, Straits actually closed earlier than the license allowed, and the owners themselves lived right across T Street.
The Straits renewal was the first mediation I was involved with before the Alcoholic Beverage Control Board, and the first time I was a designated representative in a liquor license matter. I learned a lot about the licensing process, as well as what makes a viable protest.