The Reef is closed for good

August 28, 2013

The Reef has closed its doors for good.

The Adams Morgan bar, which reopened last Thursday following an extended suspension of its liquor license, has decided to cease operation immediately. "Due to recent events, we're unable to operate," owner Brian Harrison said in a phone interview. "There's 10 different reasons why this is happening."

The Reef
The Reef's rooftop, shown here in 2003, was a popular Adams Morgan gathering spot. (Robert A. Reeder/The Washington Post)

Main among them is an alleged stabbing that occurred during a fight in the Reef's stairwell in the early hours of August 10. One of the bar's security guards was arrested and charged with assault with a deadly weapon. The Reef agreed to increase its security as a condition of reopening, but remained in danger of losing its liquor license after several other recent incidents. The Reef was fined for serving alcohol after hours in May and fined for serving alcohol to a minor in August 2012. (It's worth noting that from its April 2002 opening until August 2012, the Reef had no violations on its liquor license.)

In the early days of D.C.'s craft beer movement, the Reef was one of the scene's pioneers: It was the first place in the city to have Chimay on draft, and the first bar in D.C. to serve Allagash White on tap, among other accolades. The huge rooftop deck made the Reef an Adams Morgan destination, and families gathered in the restaurant for an all-ages happy hour every Friday night.

Harrison says that the Reef's liquor license will be transferred to the next occupant of the three-level building, though there's no word on who that will be or when the transition will happen.

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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