D.C. eatery is first to lose liquor license for refusing to comply with Bowser’s vaccine mandate

No masks? No vaccines? No booze.

That’s the authoritarian position of the Alcoholic Beverage Regulation Administration (ABRA), which has just handed out its first vaccine-related liquor license suspension to D.C. eatery and pub, The Big Board.

“The establishment cannot sell, serve, or allow the consumption of alcoholic beverages, nor can they purchase or take delivery of alcoholic beverages from wholesalers or manufacturers while the liquor license is suspended,” ABRA spokesperson Jared Powell told the Washington Examiner, adding that the ABRA vote to refer the establishment to the district’s attorney general came on Wednesday.

The path to getting to this sorry point was largely walked on Twitter.

After Mayor Muriel Bowser’s vaccine mandate, which went into effect Jan. 15, was announced, The Big Board posted these defiant messages to its Twitter account:

News that the popular pub wasn’t going to capitulate to an arbitrary mandate was met with cheers.

Not surprisingly, the outspoken establishment quickly placed itself squarely in ABRA’s crosshairs, garnering it the first of many warnings for failing to check its patrons’ vaccine status.

“The H Street restaurant received a verbal warning, a written warning, and a $1,000 fine, all between Jan. 14 and Jan. 18, for the violation of staff not wearing masks, according to data from ABRA. It faced the same punitive measures for the separate violations of refusing to verify proof of vaccination as a prerequisite for entry and required signage not being posted,” the Washington Examiner reported.

But threats and fines were not going to deter The Big Board, as support from social media quickly poured in. In less than 24 hours, a GoFundMe account, set up to help cover the pub’s fines, raked in an impressive $5,000 — a figure that more than doubled in under three days.

The effort, seen by many as a stand against tyranny, gained the attention and support of several bluecheck accounts:

When it became clear that ABRA was going to lower the boom, The Big Board took to Twitter again to express their gratitude and continued resolve.

“We would like to sincerely thank all of the people who have continued to come out to our small veteran and family owned restaurant at the corner of 5 & H NE,” The Big Board tweeted Saturday after receiving notice that a suspension was imminent. “Nothing has changed since our last tweet. All are welcome…we are open until midnight tonight.”

Sadly, just ten minutes after the first tweet signaling they’d be open until midnight, the restaurant was forced to change its tune:

Still, support for The Big Board remains unwavering:


The suspension notice, which will remain in effect “until further notice” was stuck to the restaurant’s front door on Friday evening.

So far, there is no word from The Big Board regarding its next move, but the clock is definitely ticking.

“Licensees may request a hearing to reverse the decision within three days of receiving the suspension notice,” the Examiner reportd. “It’s unclear whether the restaurant will appeal the decision and managers of the Big Board did not respond to the Washington Examiner’s request for comment.”


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