An investigation into a security guard’s assault against a Black woman at Nellie’s Sports Bar has triggered a chain of review that could potentially force the longstanding U Street NW hangout to give up its liquor license.
D.C.’s Alcoholic Beverage Regulation Administration released a report yesterday that found the popular gay bar had violated District code by allowing multiple altercations inside an overcrowded space on June 12, which amounts to disorderly conduct at a licensed establishment. That night, a video shared across social media showed a security guard at Nellie’s dragging a woman down the stairs by her hair amid a packed house for Pride weekend. Demonstrators have gathered in front of Nellie’s for weeks calling for boycotts of the bar and demanding a public apology from owner Douglas Schantz.
ABRA sent its findings to Attorney General Karl Racine’s office Thursday, July 1. Racine will determine whether to make a case against Nellie’s, which would put the Alcoholic Beverage Control Board in position to hold a disciplinary hearing that could result in fines or a decision to revoke Nellie’s license.
Schantz has not responded to requests for comment from multiple outlets. In the aftermath of the incident, Nellie’s closed and issued a statement on social media that apologized to “all who witnessed the horrific events of this past weekend.” On Thursday, Nellie’s sent Eater a statement pointing out ABRA’s report “clearly states Nellie’s staff was assaulted” after asking a party drinking out of a bottle of outside liquor to leave the bar.
“We don’t condone what followed and we terminated the security company responsible, closed the establishment for a period to further investigate and move forward with additional training and a new security company,” the statement says, adding that Nellie’s “fully cooperated” with ABRA’s investigation. “We will continue to work to identify and address all factors which may have given rise to this incident so that Nellie’s will be a safe and welcoming atmosphere for all,” the most recent statement says. “We plan to meet privately with several groups who have expressed concern about our operation so we might best understand all of the issues involved.”