DC may allow bars, restaurants to offer alcohol-to-go permanently

Times are tough for restaurants all over the District, but one thing that’s helped spots like Beuchert’s Saloon on Capitol Hill? Alcohol to go.

"Overall we’re down 50 percent of sales,” said Beuchert’s owner Andrew Markert. “If we didn’t have the alcohol to go, we would be down 65, 75 percent of our sales.”

It’s part of the reason why D.C. may soon allow bars and restaurants to offer carry-out and delivery for beer, wine, and cocktails permanently, not just during the pandemic.

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Mayor Muriel Bowser included the provision in her proposed budget, which was released last week. The blog Barred in DC was the first to flag it.

“These businesses, in order for them to have a lifeline, they’ve got to kind of pivot and adapt and find new ways to bring in revenue. So this is just one way they can do that,” Acting Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development John Falcicchio explained.

He said he ultimately expects the provision to pass, and added that about 775 District businesses have already been approved to take part in the program.

“We know our businesses are really stressed about how they’re going to recover and so one of the aspects of their recovery is how they operate in a new normal," said Falcicchio.

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Markert said he supports the idea.

“It’s a great way to help us survive and help us pivot into this new unknown territory about what restaurants are going to look like and what we’re going to continue moving forward,” he said.

The D.C. Council still has to approve the provision and is scheduled to review the measure next month.