DC bar facing scrutiny over underage drinking reports, social media videos

A D.C. neighborhood group is going after a local bar, claiming the business and at least one other bar has been serving minors.

They also claim to have proof that includes social media videos of the alleged owner directing minors on how to illegally navigate the bar scene.

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This was just two of several very serious accusations lodged against a Blagden Alley cocktail bar called, "Never Looked Better." The complaints were raised in an email to D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser and other city leaders back in September by the Blagden Alley Naylor Court Association.

However, there is another group on Instagram that’s reigniting outrage. 

"Okay here’s what to get if you’re drinking underage – if you’re drinking underage at a bar – first of all – what not to get," is part of what you hear on what appears to be a compilation of TikTok videos posted to the Instagram account @SaveBlagdenAlley a few days ago. 

The group claims the videos belong to Seth McClelland, the alleged owner of "Never Looked Better," guiding minors on how to order at the bar so that bartenders don’t suspect they’re underage.

"Our first video got 3.3 million views, so we wanted to do ‘What to order when you’re underage part 2,'" is what you hear in another clip. 

The group @SaveBlagdenAlley also tagged city leaders in their post, calling on them to shut down the business and noted the videos have since been taken down from McClelland’s personal social media account.

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"Never Looked Better," described on its website as a cocktail bar, is located on Blagden Alley NW, not far from the D.C. Convention Center.

Local leaders tell FOX 5 the popularity of this alley has grown exponentially over the past several years with new businesses such as bars and restaurants opening in the alleyways. This also means a growth in nightlife in the area. 

There have been allegations made that McClelland is connected to "Mirror Lounge" on 9th St. in NW DC, a business actually warned by ABRA after a bartender was found to have served a minor with alcohol at the bar during a compliance check in January 2020.

However, social media actually connects McClelland to a business called "The Mirror" on K St. NW, which is different from "Mirror Lounge."

When FOX 5 asked ABRA about this, we were told there were no violations for serving minors immediately seen with the K St. NW location. 

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ABRA also confirmed just last week, on Dec. 8, that there was an ABC hearing held on "Never Looked Better" where no evidence of wrongdoing was found. 

An area ANC Commissioner called the social media videos involving McClelland "distasteful" and "irresponsible." He also told FOX 5 he did refer certain serious allegations to ABRA for investigation.

However, the neighborhood leader also said there is a lot of tension between longtime neighbors and "Never Looked Better" that has gotten to a "bad place." 

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"What happens when you have neighbors literally living on top of bars on the second or third floors or across the alleyway and there’s tons of reverberation. I don’t think there’s been thoughtful conversation about how each can go exist, and I don’t, you know, I don’t think ABRA is being very proactive about solving that issues," said ANC 2 Commissioner Ian Simon. 

Simon told FOX 5 some of the matters raised, like the noise complaints, are a real issue. He and at least one other ANC representative told FOX 5 these are matters the ANC's are trying to remediate.

Simon told FOX 5 he found it’s interesting that ABRA cleared "Never Looked Better" in the Dec. 8 meeting and would need to look into what was said during the hearing.

Unfortunately, transcripts of the hearing are not available yet. An ABRA Spokesperson told FOX 5 those documents are normally not available until around 14 days after a hearing is held. 


"Never Looked Better has been an extremely disruptive and irresponsible business in Blagden Allen – a historic residential location that is not suitable for any nightclub," read part of a statement sent to FOX 5 by the Blagden Alley Naylor Court Association. 

FOX 5 did reach out to the owners of "Never Looked Better" and "The Mirror" and was told they are not interested in litigating the matter in the media. No official statement on the accusations or social media videos were provided.