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Saturday, December 9, 2023

Smokecraft in Clarendon feels the heat as county threatens to revoke live entertainment license


Smokecraft BBQ Awards (photo courtesy)

A BBQ joint in Clarendon might have the occasional the party The smoke cleared.

Arlington County calls Smokecraft Modern Barbecue at 1051 N. Highland Street may lose Its live entertainment license because it does not comply with a local initiative requiring restaurants and bars to meet certain alcohol safety standards.

Issue: From November, Clarendon venues with live entertainment licenses need to comply Arlington Restaurant Initiative (Ali). One requirement is that businesses have specific written policies and procedures, The award-winning, among the best Smokecraft – which Open 2020 – no.

The restaurant and its lawyers said they believed such written policies could leave the restaurant vulnerable to lawsuits, meaning an increase in insurance costs of more than $10,000 a year.

“We are a safe institution. We have always been a safe institution. We continue to plan to do so. The adoption of these specific written policies does not change our commitment,” Andrew Darneille, owner and venue manager, told the board last night (Tuesday) .

Additionally, he said live entertainment licenses are not being actively used, all staff serving alcohol are trained in how to serve them safely, the restaurant has a “perfect record for alcohol safety,” and alcohol only accounts for 15 percent of sales.

If the rules are not followed, the Arlington County Commission said it will eventually revoke the live entertainment license. In May, the county gave Smokecraft a month to keep the license and revisit the issue while the parties work on a resolution.

Last night, the board was set to revoke the license, but voted to bet on the issue for another month now that negotiations were moving in the right direction.

Still, the patience of board members appears to be wearing thin. Some people seem annoyed that the problem has gotten to this point, while other restaurants have found ways to make it work.

“I think you can get there without being aware of the end of the world that your representatives see,” said board chairman Christian Dorsey. “For my purposes, every month that we continue this dance is another month, and you can continue to have a license without complying with ARI standards — a luxury that other agencies don’t have.”

Smokecraft has the flexibility to create policies that meet “minimum compliance standards” and serve businesses, Dorsey said.

“One of the strengths is that these policies are not prohibitive — they are prescriptive,” Dorsey said. “It’s not like it’s going to require you to subvert your operations.”

Responding to the argument that Smokecraft should be able to emulate other businesses, Darneille said it’s an unfair argument.

“I know there are 50 other restaurants that signed up to this agreement, but I can’t say why they decided to do what they did,” he continued. “We’ve raised a concern here that’s valid for us. We’re working on it.”

He blamed the county government for not immediately engaging the restaurant when the issues were first raised. Then, after a meeting last month, he said it would take two weeks to hear back from the county.

County council members did not mention this. ARLnow has previously reported on restaurateurs and other business owners being unable to reach employees in a timely manner.

The Arlington Restaurant Program was originally a voluntary program designed to make the county A safer place to enjoy the night. The Arlington County Police Department is offering free alcohol safety training to restaurant workers, and if someone gets out of hand, they could be banned from all participating restaurants.

In Clarendon, there is a reputation for become sloppy nightcounty staff, county boards, law enforcement, and some participants felt that ARI jazzed up the community’s nightlife.

“Clarendon is a very different place than it was before ARI,” said board member Takis Karantonis, adding that today there are “critical numbers of restaurateurs and entrepreneurs working for Clarendon.” Part of the reason for making such a big contribution is ARI.”

This success prompted the county to make these optional standards a requirement for nightlife venues in Clarendon.The Arlington Chamber of Commerce responded to the issue in a letter to the county commissioner. support Keep this program optional.

Chamber chief executive Kate Bates wrote: “While ARI had good intentions, we found that its transformation into a mandate, without consultation or adjustment of standards to reflect this, did not reflect best government practice.”

outside of Clarendon, now closed purple lounge Live entertainment license on Columbia Pike suspended for non-compliance with ARI regulations. The lounge gained local notoriety for a string of drunkenness and security violations, police calls and outdoor shootings.

other allegedly noisy Live, Bowlero in Crystal City, On track By complying with ARI.


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