D.C.'s Love nightclub to remain closed until Jan. 19 hearing

By Joe Heim
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Love, Washington's largest nightclub, will remain shuttered until at least Jan. 19, with officials declaring that a recent spate of violence there represents an "imminent danger" to the community.

D.C. Police Chief Cathy L. Lanier ordered the club shut down after a non-fatal stabbing at the venue on New Year's. The attack, police said, was the third violent incident there in less than a week. Located just off New York Avenue NE, the four-story club is considered the crown jewel in the local nightclub scene and regularly attracts music and sports celebrities.

A hearing to determine whether Love had met conditions for reopening was originally scheduled for Tuesday but was postponed at the request of Love's lawyers, said Cynthia Simms, a spokeswoman for the District's Alcoholic Beverage Regulation Administration. That hearing will now be held Jan. 19.

In recent years, city officials have increased their efforts to shut down clubs where violent incidents occur, but Love is by far the biggest to be closed. It is the first time the club has been shut down by the city.

In the Jan. 8 suspension notice it sent to Love's owner, Marc Barnes, the Alcoholic Beverage Control board stated: "The establishment has a history of five incidents in the last eighteen months where serious injury resulted. The number of serious events in a very short time period establishes that regardless of the reaction of the establishment, the presence of the establishment is an imminent danger to the health and welfare of the community if they were to be allowed to remain open."

Barnes, reached by phone Tuesday, declined to answer any questions about Love's extended shutdown or the requirements for reopening.

Events at the club, including appearances by high-profile young recording artists such as Drake and Nicki Minaj, have either been canceled or moved.

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