It also marks a reversal of the board’s original stance that the club, JP’s, could open before board members considered whether substantial changes had been made there. The original JP’s, which had been in operation since 1986, was gutted by a fire in 2008.
At Wednesday’s hearing, which lasted about an hour and a half, the board heard from an investigator with the Alcoholic Beverage Regulation Administration and a representative from JP’s, Paul Kadlick. About a dozen people, including advisory neighborhood commissioner Jackie Blumenthal, listened from the audience.
Kadlick said he didn’t mind addressing the concerns that had been raised, but he criticized the board for its “last-minute reversal,” saying the delay to open had cost employees work and the business revenue. He told the board that the club’s owners, BJ Enterprises, had planned to open the doors last weekend.
“We hear you loud and clear,” said Nick Alberti, acting chairman of the Alcoholic Beverage Control Board. “We are holding this hearing out of an abundance of caution. This wasn’t a frivolous decision. We are doing what we think is in everybody’s best interest.”
The board took a short recess before issuing its decision: JP’s could open, but the entertainment had to be limited to the two main stages. There would be no nude dancing on tables or in private alcoves until a separate hearing could be held on the issue.
“The board did the right thing,” Blumenthal said.
Very shortly, Kadlick said, “a D.C. landmark is going to open.”
He added that he was confident the operation’s original plans would eventually receive approval, especially since other strip clubs in the city offer tabletop dancing and have similar VIP areas. “They’re going to be allowed here, or they are going to be shut down in other places in the city,” he said.