The Washington Post

In Damascus, the booze flows

The Damascus booze ban is over.

How long had the ban been in place? A long time. As in Darwin long, my colleague Steve Hendrix noted last month: “Charles Darwin was still alive the last time a legal beer was sold in Damascus.”

Things evolve, as Darwin liked to say, and so have the historically Methodist town’s ways, at least according to residents who voted to lift the ban in a November referendum.

New York J&P Pizza was the first establishment to win an alcohol license. The restaurant, celebrating its 20th year in Damascus, began selling beer and wine on Saturday night.

“Nobody has gotten drunk,” said owner Tina Kiima. “There were no protests.”

Just happy drinkers.

“We pretty much have regular customers,” Kiima said. “They were all waiting for it.”

Kiima actually got the license on Thursday, but she had to a) buy beer and wine and b) write a beer and wine menu.

Saturday was mostly a wine night, she said. Sunday was wine and beer. Kiima said the restaurant did about $200 in alcohol sales for the weekend.

“It’s just the beginning,” she said.

Michael Rosenwald is a reporter on the Post's local enterprise team. He writes about the intersection of technology, business and culture.


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