Business owners camp out in hopes of getting Georgetown liquor licenses

GEORGETOWN (WJLA) - Ben Conniff and his partners are trying to grow their business.

One way to do that is to get a liquor license and be able to serve wine and beer at their Georgetown restaurant, Luke's Lobster.

"When somebody knows they can have that full experience, they're moer likely to come in," Conniff explained. "They're gonna buy more food. They're gonna buy more everything, and that's just a better experience that we can give them."

Conniff was one of a small group of people who have been camping out at the Reeves Municipal Center in Northwest Washington. They wanted to be the first to submit their liquor license applications when the Alcohol Beverage Regulation Administration began accepting them at 8:30 Thursday morning.

There are strict laws about the number of liquor licenses in Georgetown's historic district - there can only be six taverns and 68 restaurants that serve alcohol at a time.

So, for four applications to become available at once is unusual.

"This is only about the second time in almost 20 years that a tavern license has come available - and the same for restaurant licenses, those only come available every few years," said Jessie Cornelius of the ARBA.

Less than a dozen businesses applied for the highly coveted licenseS Thursday, which were accepted on a first-come, first-served basis.

A final decision on which businesses will receive the licenses will be made by the end of summer.