WASHINGTON – Despite objections from local residents and one District city councilman, the Alcohol Beverage Regulation Administration (ABRA) renewed the liquor license for a hip-hip strip club that had been closed and reopened repeatedly due to shootings and stabbings over the past two years.
ABRA renewed the license for the Stadium Club earlier this month following a six-month review. The club, now under new management, had met with opposition from Langdon-Woodridge neighborhood residents who said they were tired of the noise, trash, and crime the club produced.
ABRA held a formal hearing where residents expressed their concerns about the club and Stadium’s management said that it had corrected the previous problems and would be a better neighbor.
After examining a petition signed by 98 residents, a letter from local Advisory Neighborhood Commission member, another from Councilman Kenyan R. McDuffie, live testimonies, and the nightclub’s previous history, ABRA said while the list of grievances was valid, they could not be attributed to the new management.
Current owner, Rudolph Thomas, obtained Stadium last year after its previous owners defaulted on their loan. Since acquiring the establishment, Thomas has hired a new operating staff, doubled its security, and enforced a new, more elevated, dress code. Thomas presented these changes to ABRA to defend their case and to help alleviate the concerns of their neighbors
“This is a new Stadium,” manager Anthony Morse said, “We’re committed to entertainment, yes, but we’re also committed to upholding a standard of excellence.”
Morse said that the changes are not entirely related to the issues of the neighborhood, but speak to the management’s desire to update the club’s atmosphere.
“We of course consider the shortcomings of the previous management and the affect they had on the community, but we walked in prepared to change things,” Morse said, “It’s a win-win.”
Residents, however, don’t share the same sentiments.
Karla Butler, former member of the local ANC, represented the Langdon-Woodridge residents with the help of an attorney during the three hour hearing.
“It saddens me that the board decided to exclude how the community continues to be barraged with dangerous incidents,” Butler said, “Of course the residents are frustrated, but we respect the government’s decision.”
It will be three years before the club’s liquor license comes up for review again.
“In the meantime, we can only hope and pray for everyone’s safety,” she said.