A fight inside a popular bar and restaurant in Foggy Bottom early Saturday in which five friends were stabbed by a man wearing a trench coat was so chaotic that D.C. police said it took numerous officers to bring it under control.
D.C. Police Chief Cathy L. Lanier ordered McFadden’s Restaurant and Saloon, in the 2400 block of Pennsylvania Avenue NW, closed for four days. Depending on actions by the District’s Alcoholic Beverage Control Board, the tavern could reopen New Year’s Eve. Police have not made any arrests.
A police report and the suspension notice from the ABC Board describe a brutal fight that broke out about 12:30 a.m. in which two officers were assaulted. One was hit on the head and went to a hospital for treatment. Another patron “repeatedly attempted to strike a uniformed officer with a closed fist” before being subdued, the ABC Board said.
In her closure letter, Lanier criticized the bar for having only three security guards, “none of whom had any experience with crowd control.” She also wrote that the staff was uncooperative with police and declined to immediately answer questions. She said the bar was overcrowded and that one of the victims was underage.
“The club’s security protocols allowed a knife-wielding subject to enter the club, stab five patrons, and escape without capture,” Lanier wrote. “The club’s security staff also proved inadequate to manage the aftermath of this crime.”
Stephen O’Brien, the club’s attorney, did not return repeated calls to his office seeking comment. The manager who was on duty Saturday also declined to comment and referred calls to a corporate office in New York, East Coast Saloons. No one answered the phone there Monday.
The ABC Board will conduct its own investigation and will decide whether to continue the closure beyond Wednesday. If so, the restaurant owner will be allowed to appeal at a public hearing.
McFadden’s is close to the campus of George Washington University, and is popular among students. The university issued a campus alert shortly after D.C. police announced that multiple people had been stabbed at the bar. A university spokeswoman said none of the victims are students.
Most victims remained in area hospitals Monday and could not be reached for comment. The mother of a 25-year-old who was stabbed three times said the group was celebrating a birthday. She said her son, who lives in Northwest Washington, had not told her additional details.
McFadden’s — whose Web site calls it “DC’s Best Party Bar” — has been cited numerous times by the ABC Board after police complaints of assaults, disorderly patrons and violating liquor rules. The board fined McFadden’s $4,000 and suspended its license for 12 days in 2011 for serving alcohol to minors.
Reports from police and the ABC Board made public Monday do not say how the fight began. One bartender jumped over the bar in an attempt to break it up. Police said a 23-year-old was stabbed in the back; a 27-year-old was stabbed in the upper back; a 20-year-old was stabbed three times in the lower body; a 25-year-old was stabbed three times; and a 23-year-old was stabbed in the chest and back. Police said the knife wound punctured his kidney, and that he also had cuts on his left arm.
The only description of the suspect was a black man of medium height, wearing a trench coat, plaid shirt and black or blue jeans.
In her letter ordering McFadden’s to be closed for 96 hours, Lanier said the unruly crowd forced officers from the 2nd District to abandon their patrols and rush to the bar to help restore order. “This response diverted public safety resources,” the chief said.