An Arlington County nightclub that has been the scene of multiple shootings and other problems has again had its liquor licenses suspended.
On Friday, the Virginia Alcoholic Beverage Control Authority temporarily suspended the alcohol licenses of the Purple Ethiopian Restaurant and Lounge after police recovered a firearm and arrested two people on drug charges on the property.
According to authorities, Arlington County police were conducting surveillance on the parking lot of the lounge shortly before 11 p.m. Thursday, to ensure the business was complying with conditions of a previous order by the agency.
Authorities said an officer observed what appeared to be drug activity inside a parked vehicle. Officers approached the vehicle and found two people who they determined were intoxicated and using controlled substances. During a subsequent search of the vehicle, officers recovered suspected narcotics. They also found a loaded firearm in the possession of one of the passengers.
Moulayali Halhoul, 25, of the District was arrested and charged with being a felon in possession of a firearm, among other gun charges, and possession of a controlled substance, according to the county. He was held without bond.
Dasia Spivey, 25, of Alexandria was arrested and charged with driving under the influence, possession of a controlled substance and open container. She was held on bond.
The Purple Lounge was already in trouble with the county. Last month, the ABC temporarily suspended its liquor license following two shootings. In late June, a fight broke out inside the club. A patron sped off but fired a gun into the crowded parking lot as he was leaving, wounding two people, according to ABC records. In August, after two people were denied entry, one fired a weapon into the air, prompting an armed Purple Lounge security guard to fire back, hitting one instigator in the shoulder and grazing the other in the neck.
Between June and August, Arlington County police received at least 23 calls for service to the restaurant, in the 3100 block of Columbia Pike, for complaints ranging from fights to loud music in the parking lot, according to ABC records. In December 2019, the Arlington County Board revoked its live entertainment permit after police that year answered multiple calls to the establishment, including complaints about security guards deploying pepper spray against patrons.
Shortly after its license was temporarily pulled in September, it was reinstated with conditions, including requiring the presence of four security guards certified by the state’s Criminal Justice Services Department and banning loitering or drinking in the parking lot. It is those conditions officers were monitoring Thursday night.
The restaurant’s latest liquor license suspension will last a minimum of 10 days, with reinstatement reliant on ABC approval, according to police.
Firehiwot Kidane, listed as the Purple Lounge’s registered agent in state records, did not return messages seeking comment.