U Street jazz club Bohemian Caverns closed by police after alleged sexual assault


Bohemian Caverns, which opened as Club Caverns in 1926, has been temporarily closed. (Photo by Nick Kirkpatrick/For The Washington Post)

[Updated 1:45 p.m. Tuesday]

Bohemian Caverns, the landmark jazz club on U Street NW, was shut down Saturday evening by D.C. police after an alleged sexual assault. The club must remain closed until at least 6 p.m. Tuesday, police said. after a Wednesday hearing with the Alcoholic Beverage Regulation Administration, when the closure could expire or additional sanctions could be issued.

Jacob Kishter, commander of the police department’s third district, said in an e-mail that “after-hours drinking” led to the alleged sexual assault, which occurred after 3 a.m. Saturday. A message on the club’s Twitter feed said Monday’s Bohemian Caverns Jazz Orchestra show was cancelled “due to unforseen [sic] circumstances.”

In an e-mail, Bohemian Caverns owner Omrao Brown said two employees of Tap and Parlour, the bar and restaurant on the first floor of the Bohemian Caverns building, hosted a private gathering on the premises after the establishment had closed early Saturday. One of the attendees reported an alleged second degree sexual assault, Brown said.

Brown had no knowledge of the incident, he said. “While this alleged incident certainly is the result of two individuals acting outside of their scope of employment and breaching the trust of ownership, it is ultimately ownership’s responsibility to ensure that our business is a safe and responsible place within the DC community,” Brown said.

Under the District’s Emergency Suspension of Liquor Licenses Act of 2005, police can close a bar for up to 96 hours if “the continued operation of the licensed establishment presents an imminent danger to the health and safety of the public.” This law was invoked last week to close Indulj, located one block west from Bohemian Caverns on U Street, after three men were shot outside the restaurant. It reopened Dec. 7.

Fritz Hahn has covered bars, drinks and nightlife for the Washington Post Weekend Section since 2003, but he also writes about everything from Civil War battlefields to sailing classes. You can find him on Twitter and Instagram.
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