Code of the District of Columbia

§ 25–101. Definitions.

For the purposes of this title, the term:

(1) “ABRA” means the Alcoholic Beverage Regulation Administration established by § 25-202.

(2) “ABRA Fund” means the Alcoholic Beverage Regulation Administration Fund established by § 25-210.

(2A) [Repealed].

(3) “Adult” means a person who is 21 years of age or older.

(4) “Alcohol” means ethyl alcohol, hydrated oxide of ethyl, or spirit of wine, from whatever source or by whatever processes produced.

(5) “Alcoholic beverage” means a liquid or solid, patented or not, containing alcohol capable of being consumed by a human being. The term “alcoholic beverage” shall not include a liquid or solid containing less than one-half of 1% of alcohol by volume.

(6) “Applicant” means, as the context requires, the individual applicant, each member of an applicant partnership or limited liability company, or each of the principal officers, directors, and shareholders of an applicant corporation, or, if other than an individual, the applicant entity.

(7) “ANC” means an Advisory Neighborhood Commission as authorized under D.C. Official Code § 1-207.38.

(8) “Back-up drink” means a drink, including a single drink consisting of more than one alcoholic beverage, that is served to a customer before the customer has consumed a previously served drink.

(9) “Bartender” means a person who fixes, mixes, makes, or concocts an alcoholic beverage for consumption.

(9A) "Bed and breakfast" means an establishment with fewer than 30 guest rooms, a dining room in the same or a connected building, and where breakfast is included in the price of a sleeping room.

(10) “Beer” means a fermented beverage of any name or description manufactured from malt, wholly or in part, or from any substitute for malt.

(11) “Board” means the Alcoholic Beverage Control Board established by § 25-201.

(12) “Brew pub” means an establishment for the manufacture of beer to be sold for consumption only at the place of manufacture and for sale to licensed wholesalers for the purpose of resale to other licensees.

(13) “Business days” means Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday, excluding holidays.

(14) “Caterer” means a corporation, partnership, individual, or limited liability company that prepares, sells, delivers, and serves food and beverages to its customers, under an agreement in advance of delivery, for a catered event on the premises designated by the customer for the duration of the catered event.

(15) “Club” means a corporation, duly organized and in good standing under Chapters 1 and 4 of Title 29, a limited liability company, or partnership owning, leasing, or occupying a building, or a portion thereof, at which the sale of alcoholic beverages is incidental to, and not the prime source of revenue from, the operation of the building or the portion thereof. The term “club” shall not include a college fraternity or sorority.

(15A) “Cooperative agreement” shall have the same meaning, and is synonymous with, settlement agreement.

(16) “Credit card” means a consumer credit card extended on a nationally recognized account pursuant to a plan under which:

(A) The creditor may permit the customer to make purchases or obtain loans by the use of a credit card, check, or other device as the plan may provide;

(B) The customer has the privilege of paying the balance in full or in installments; and

(C) A finance charge may be computed by the creditor from time to time on an outstanding unpaid balance.

(16A) "Crowler" means a recyclable container that is capable of holding up to 64 ounces of beer or wine and is designed to be filled and sealed on premises for consumption off premises.

(17) “CSA” means Chapter 9 of Title 48.

(18) “DC Arena” means the multi-purpose arena for the performance of sports and entertainment events and related amenities described in recital “E” of the Land Disposition Agreement-Ground Lease By and Among the District of Columbia Redevelopment Land Agency, the District of Columbia, and DC Arena L.P., dated December 29, 1995.

(19) “Director” means the Director of the Alcoholic Beverage Regulation Administration appointed under § 25-207.

(19A) The term “disc jockey” shall not include anyone who plays or changes prerecorded music or programs prerecorded music; provided, that the person does not:

(A) Make announcements or comments;

(B) Take song requests;

(C) Run contests or games;

(D) Manipulate or mix the music;

(E) Provide live entertainment;

(F) Play music from a disc-jockey booth; or

(G) Alter or manipulate a playlist while it is being played, including adding elements such as sound effects or additional pieces of music.

(19B) “Distillery pub” means a craft distillery establishment for the manufacture, blending, and rectification of spirits to be sold for on-premises consumption only at the place of manufacture or to licensed wholesalers for the purpose of resale to other licensees, or patrons for off-premises consumption.

(20) “District” means the District of Columbia.

(21) “Establishment” means a business entity operating at a specific location.

(21A) “Entertainment” means live music or any other live performance by an actual person, including live bands, karaoke, comedy shows, poetry readings, and disc jockeys. The term “entertainment” shall not include the operation of a jukebox, a television, a radio, or other prerecorded music.

(21B) “Farm winery” means a winery where at least 51% of the fresh fruits or agricultural products used by the owner or lessee to manufacture the wine shall be grown or produced on such farm.

(21C) “Farmer’s market” means a food venue comprised of vendors who make, bake, grow, or raise the products they sell or of farmers, producers, and other vendors selling fresh produce, healthy foods, or baked goods.

(22) “Food” means any substance consumed by human beings except alcoholic beverages and any nonalcoholic liquid or solid substance served as part of the contents of an alcoholic beverage drink.

(22A) "Full-service grocery store" means a self-service retail establishment independently owned or part of a corporation operating a chain of retail establishments under the same trade name that is licensed as a grocery store under [§ 47-2827] that:

(A) Offers for sale a full line of food products that includes at least 6 of the 7 following food categories:

(i) Fresh fruits and vegetables;

(ii) Fresh and uncooked meats, poultry, and seafood;

(iii) Dairy products;

(iv) Canned foods;

(v) Frozen foods;

(vi) Dry groceries and baked goods; or

(vii) Non-alcoholic beverages;

(B) May include related service departments, such as a bakery, pharmacy, or florist, or departments that offer household products or sundries; and

(C)(i)(I) Has a minimum of 50% of the store's square footage of selling area dedicated to the sale of the food categories listed in subparagraph (A) of this paragraph; or

(II) Has a minimum of 6,000 square feet of the store's selling area dedicated to the sale of the food categories listed in subparagraph (A) of this paragraph; and

(III) Sets aside a minimum of 5% of the store's selling area dedicated for the sale of the food items listed in subparagraph (A) of this paragraph.

(ii) For the purposes of this subparagraph, the term "selling area" means the area in a retail establishment that is open to the public. The term "selling area" does not include storage areas, preparation areas, or rest rooms.

(23) “Go-cup” means a drinking utensil provided at no charge or a nominal charge to a customer for the purpose of consuming alcoholic beverages off the premises of an establishment.

(24) “Gross annual receipts” means the total amount of money received during the most recent one-year accounting period for the sale of food and alcoholic beverages, not including the amount received for taxes and gratuities in conjunction with sales or charges for entertainment or other services. Gross annual receipts are subject to audit and examination under § 25-802.

(24A) “Gross annual food sales” means the total amount of food sold during the most recent one-year accounting period. Gross annual food sales are subject to audit and examination under § 25-802.

(24B) “Growler” means a reusable container that is capable of holding up to 64 fluid ounces of beer or wine and is designed to be filled and sealed on premises for consumption off premises.

(25) “Hotel” means an establishment where food and lodging are regularly furnished to transients and which has at least 30 guest rooms and a dining room in the same or connecting buildings.

(26) “Interest” includes the ownership or other share of the operation, management, or profits of a licensed establishment. The term “interest” shall not include an agreement for the lease of real property.

(27) “Keg” means a container which is capable of holding 4 gallons or more of beer, wine, or spirits and which is designed to dispense beer, wine, or spirits directly from the container.

(28) “Land Disposition Lease” means the Land Disposition Agreement-Ground Lease By and Among the District of Columbia Redevelopment Land Agency, the District of Columbia, and DC Arena L.P., dated December 29, 1995.

(29) “Legal drinking age” means 21 years of age.

(30) “Legitimate theater” means premises in which the principal business shall be the operation of live theatrical, operatic, or dance performances, or such other lawful adult entertainment or recreational facilities as the Board, giving due regard to the convenience of the public and the strict avoidance of sales prohibited by this title, shall, by regulation, classify as legitimate theater. The term “legitimate theater” shall not mean a motion picture theater.

(31) “Locality” means the neighborhood within 600 feet of an establishment.

(32) “Manufacture” includes any purification or repeat distillation processes or rectification.

(32A) "Mediation" means a meeting between the applicant and the protestant held for the purposes of discussing and resolving, where possible, the concerns raised by the protestant.

(32B) “Miniature” means an alcoholic beverage in a sealed container holding 50 milliliters or less.

(33) “Nightclub” means a space in a building, and the adjoining space outside of the building, regularly used and kept open as a place that serves food and alcoholic beverages and provides music and facilities for dancing.

(34) “Nude performance” means dancing or other entertainment by a person whose genitals, pubic region, or anus are less than completely and opaquely covered and, in the case of a female, whose breasts are less than completely and opaquely covered below a point immediately above the top of the areola.

(35) “Open container” means a bottle, can, or other container that is open or from which the top, cap, cork, seal, or tab seal has at some time been removed.

(35A) “Overconcentration” means the existence of several licensed establishments that adversely affect a specific locality, section, or portion of the District of Columbia, including consideration of the appropriateness standards under § 25-313(b).

(36) “Parking” means that area of public space which lies between the property line and the edge of the actual or planned sidewalk which is nearer to such property line, as such property line and sidewalk are shown on the records of the District.

(37) “Person” includes an individual, partnership, corporation, limited liability company, and an unincorporated association.

(37A) “Pool buying agent” means the licensed vendor who is registered by the pool buying group with the Alcoholic Beverage Regulation Administration.

(37B) “Pool buying group” means a group of 2 or more licensees under an on-premises restaurant license (R), as defined in § 25-113(b), who have been approved by the Alcoholic Beverage Regulation Administration to consolidate orders for alcoholic beverages ordered through a licensed pool buying agent from any lawful source in a single order.

(38) “Portion” means the neighborhood within 1800 feet of an establishment.

(38A) "Powdered alcohol" means an alcoholic beverage product that is manufactured into a powdered or crystalline form.

(39) “Protest” means a written statement in opposition to the issuance of a license.

(40) “Protest hearing” means the adjudicatory proceeding held by the Board, after receipt of a protest, to hear persons objecting to, or in support of, the issuance of a license.

(41) “Protest period” means a 45-day period during which an objection to the issuance or renewal, substantial change in operation under § 25-404, or transfer to new location, may be filed.

(42) “Residential districts” means those districts identified as residential by the zoning regulations and the official atlases of the Zoning Commission for the District of Columbia.

(43) Restaurant means a space in a building which shall:

(A)(i) Be regularly ready, willing, and able to prepare and serve food, have a kitchen which shall be regularly open, have a menu in use, have sufficient food on hand to serve the patrons from the menu, and have proper staff present to prepare and serve the food;

(ii) Be held out to and known by the public as primarily a food-service establishment;

(iii) Have all advertising and signs emphasize food rather than alcoholic beverages or entertainment;

(iv) Be open regular hours that are clearly marked with no unusual barriers to entry (such as cover charges or membership requirements);

(v) Have its kitchen facilities open until at least 2 hours before closing;

(vi) Obtain an entertainment endorsement prior to offering entertainment, charging a cover, or offering facilities for dancing;

(vii) If possessing an entertainment endorsement, be permitted to charge a cover and advertise entertainment, but shall not primarily advertise drink specials;

(viii) Be permitted to have recorded and background music without obtaining an entertainment endorsement;

(ix) Not have nude performances; and

(x) Have annual gross food sales of $1500 or $2000 per occupant (as determined by the establishment’s Board-approved certificate of occupancy), depending on license class; or

(B)(i) Have adequate kitchen and dining facilities;

(ii) Keep its kitchen facilities open until 2 hours before closing;

(iii) Obtain an entertainment endorsement prior to offering entertainment, charging a cover, or having facilities for dancing;

(iv) Be permitted to have recorded and background music without obtaining an entertainment endorsement;

(v) Not have nude performances; and

(vi) Have the sale of food account for at least 45% of the establishment’s gross annual receipts.

(C) Any licensee operating under a C/R, Do/R, C/H, or D/H license who is not in compliance with the food sales requirements of this paragraph as of [September 30, 2004], shall be permitted to maintain its current license and operations for a period of 2 years from [September 30, 2004]; provided, that there is no substantial change in operations during that period without a substantial change application.

(44) “RLA” means the District of Columbia Redevelopment Land Agency.

(44A) "Roll call hearing" means the proceeding specified in a placard posted at an applicant's premises at which the applicant and the protestant are introduced to each other and the grounds for objection to the license application are read to the public.

(45) “Sale” or “sell” includes offering for sale, keeping for sale, manufacturing for sale, soliciting orders for sale, trafficking in, importing, exporting, bartering, delivering for value or in any way other than by purely gratuitously transferring. Every delivery of any alcoholic beverage made otherwise than purely gratuitously shall constitute a sale.

(46) “Section” means the neighborhood within 1,200 feet of an establishment.

(47) “Settlement conference” means a meeting between the applicant and the protestants held for the purpose of discussing and resolving, where possible, the objections raised by the protestants (known in regulation as a mediation).

(48) “Sign” shall have the same meaning as defined in Chapter 31 of Title 12 of the District of Columbia Municipal Regulations.

(48A) "Soccer Stadium" means a soccer stadium constructed after October 1, 2014 on a site bounded by 2nd Street, S.W., T Street, S.W., Half Street, S.W., Potomac Avenue, S.W., and R Street, S.W.

(48B) “Southeast Federal Center” means the area as defined in section 2 of the Southeast Federal Center Public-Private Development Act of 2000, approved November 1, 2000 (Pub. L. No. 106-407; 114 Stat. 1758), and Chapter 18 of Title 11 of the District of Columbia Municipal Regulations [CDCR 11-1800].

(49) “Spirits” means:

(A) A beverage which contains alcohol mixed with water and other substances in solution, including brandy, rum, whisky, cordials, and gin; and

(B) An alcoholic beverage containing more than 15% alcohol.

(50) “Statement” means a representation by words, design, picture, device, illustration, or other means.

(51) “Table” shall not include a counter, bar, or similar contrivance.

(52) “Tavern” means a space that:

(A) Is regularly used and kept open as a place where food and alcoholic beverages may be served;

(B) May offer entertainment, except nude performances, and offer facilities for dancing for patrons only with an entertainment endorsement and may have recorded and background music without an entertainment endorsement; and

(C) Does not provide facilities for dancing for its employees or entertainers.

(53) “Valid identification document” means an official identification issued by an agency of government (local, state, federal, or foreign) containing, at a minimum, the name, date of birth, signature, and photograph of the bearer; provided, that an official military identification card issued by an agency of government need not contain a signature if it contains the name, date of birth, and photograph of the bearer.

(54) Repealed.

(55) Repealed.

(56) “Wine” means an alcoholic beverage containing not more than 15% alcohol by volume obtained by the fermentation of the natural sugar content of fruits or other agricultural products containing sugar whether or not other ingredients are added.


(Jan. 24, 1934, 48 Stat. 319, ch. 4, § 3; Aug. 27, 1935, 49 Stat. 897, ch. 756, § 1; Dec. 8, 1970, 84 Stat. 1393, Pub. L. 91-535, § 1; Apr. 18, 1978, D.C. Law 2-73, § 3, 24 DCR 7066; Sept. 29, 1982, D.C. Law 4-157, §§ 2, 15, 29 DCR 3617; Mar. 10, 1983, D.C. Law 4-204, § 2, 30 DCR 185; Aug. 2, 1983, D.C. Law 5-16, § 2, 30 DCR 3193; May 23, 1986, D.C. Law 6-119, § 2, 33 DCR 2447; Mar. 7, 1987, D.C. Law 6-217, § 2, 34 DCR 907; Aug. 17, 1991, D.C. Law 9-40, § 2(a), 38 DCR 4974; Oct. 3, 1992, D.C. Law 9-174, § 2(a), 39 DCR 5859; Sept. 11, 1993, D.C. Law 10-12, § 2(a), 40 DCR 4020; May 24, 1994, D.C. Law 10-122, § 2(a), 41 DCR 1658; Apr. 12, 1997, D.C. Law 11-258, § 2(a), 44 DCR 1421; Mar. 26, 1999, D.C. Law 12-202,§ 2(a), 45 DCR 8412; Mar. 26, 1999, D.C. Law 12-206, § 2(a), 45 DCR 8430; May 3, 2001, D.C. Law 13-298, § 101, 48 DCR 2959; Oct. 3, 2001, D.C. Law 14-28, § 3002(a), 48 DCR 6981; Oct. 1, 2002, D.C. Law 14-190, § 1702(a), 49 DCR 6968; Sept. 30, 2004, D.C. Law 15-187, §§ 301(b), 401(b), 51 DCR 6525; Mar. 2, 2007, D.C. Law 16-191, § 47(b), 53 DCR 6794; July 18, 2008, D.C. Law 17-201, § 2(b), 55 DCR 6289; Mar. 3, 2010, D.C. Law 18-111, § 2082(n)(1), 57 DCR 181; July 2, 2011, D.C. Law 18-378, § 3(f), 58 DCR 1720; Oct. 20, 2011, D.C. Law 19-23, § 2(a), 58 DCR 6509; May 1, 2013, D.C. Law 19-310, § 2(a), 60 DCR 3410; Feb. 22, 2014, D.C. Law 20-78, § 2(a), 61 DCR 151; Mar. 11, 2015, D.C. Law 20-233, § 202(a), 62 DCR 438; May 2, 2015, D.C. Law 20-270, § 2(a)(2), 62 DCR 1866; Mar. 9, 2016, D.C. Law 21-84, § 2(a)(2), 63 DCR 781; Apr. 7, 2017, D.C. Law 21-260, § 2(a)(1), 64 DCR 2079; Oct. 30, 2018, D.C. Law 22-165, § 2(a)(1), 65 DCR 9366.)

Prior Codifications

1981 Ed., § 25-101.

1973 Ed., § 25-103.

Section References

This section is referenced in § 7-742, § 7-745, § 7-1702, § 7-1708, § 25-112, § 25-113, and § 25-723.

Effect of Amendments

D.C. Law 14-28 rewrote par. (2) which had read as follows: “(2) ‘ABRA Account’ means the Alcoholic Beverage Regulation Administration Account established by § 25-210”.

D.C. Law 14-190 added par. (15A).

D.C. Law 15-187 added par. (21A); in par. (24), added “Gross annual receipts are subject to audit and examination under § 25-802.” at the end of the paragraph’; added pars. (24A), (37A) and (37B); rewrote par. (43); and in subpar. (52)(B), substituted “offer facilities for dancing for patrons only with an entertainment endorsement and may have recorded and background music without an entertainment endorsement” for “may allow dancing for its patrons only”. Prior to amendment, par. (43) had read as follows:

“(43) ”Restaurant“ means a space in a building which:

“(A) Is regularly used and kept open as a place where food is served;

“(B) Keeps its kitchen facilities open until 2 hours before closing and for which sales of food accounts for at least 45% of the establishment’s gross annual receipts; and

“(C) May offer entertainment, except nude performances, and facilities for dancing.”

D.C. Law 16-191, in par. (43)(C), substituted “this paragraph” for “§ 25-101(43)”.

D.C. Law 17-201 added par. (21B).

D.C. Law 18-111 repealed par. (55), which had read as follows:

“(55) ‘Washington Convention Center’ means the Washington Convention Center and the Convention Center Board of Directors, as established by § 9-602, and the Washington Convention Center Authority and the Washington Convention Center Authority Board of Directors, as established by §§ 9-803 and 9-806.”

D.C. Law 18-378, in par. (15), substituted “Chapters 1 and 4 of Title 29” for “Chapter 3 of Title 29”.

D.C. Law 19-23 added par. (48A).

The 2013 amendment by D.C. Law 19-310 rewrote (15A), (34), (49)(B), and (56); repealed (54); and added (24B), (32A), and (35A).

The 2014 amendment by D.C. Law 20-78 added (19A).

The 2015 amendment by D.C. Law 20-233 would have redesignated (48A) as (48B); and added (48A).

The 2015 amendment by D.C. Law 20-270 added (19A); and redesignated former (19A) as (19B).

The 2016 amendment by D.C. Law 21-84 added (2A) and (21C); and substituted “the protestants (known in regulation as a mediation)” for “the protestants” in (47).

Applicability

Section 7010 of D.C. Law 22-33 repealed § 301 of D.C. Law 20-233. Therefore the amendment to this section by D.C. Law 20-233 has been implemented.

Applicability of D.C. Law 20-233: Section 301 of D.C. Law 20-233 provided (1) that the act shall apply upon the date of inclusions of its fiscal effect in an approved budget and financial plan; (2) that the Chief Financial Officer shall certify the date of the inclusion of the fiscal effect in an approved budget and financial plan, and provide notice to the Budget Director of the Council of the certification; and (3) that the Budget Director shall cause the notice of the certification to be published in the District of Columbia Register and that the date of publication of the notice of the certification shall not affect the applicability of the act.

Emergency Legislation

For temporary (90 days) repeal of § 301 of D.C. Law 20-233, see § 7010 of Fiscal Year 2018 Budget Support Congressional Review Emergency Act of 2017 (D.C. Act 22-167, Oct. 24, 2017, 64 DCR 10802).

For temporary (90 days) repeal of § 301 of D.C. Law 20-233, see § 7010 of Fiscal Year 2018 Budget Support Emergency Act of 2017 (D.C. Act 22-104, July 20, 2017, 64 DCR 7032).

For temporary amendment of section, see § 2(a) of the Underage Drinking Emergency Amendment Act of 1994 (D.C. Act 10-236, April 28, 1994, 41 DCR 2601).

For temporary amendment of section, see § 2(a) of the Omnibus Alcoholic Beverage Regulation Emergency Amendment Act of 2012 (D.C. Act 19-597, January 14, 2013, 60 DCR 1001).

For temporary (90 days) amendment of this section, see § 284(d) of the Criminal Fine Proportionality Emergency Act of 2013 (D.C. Act 20-45, April 1, 2013, 60 DCR 5400, 20 DCSTAT 1300).

For temporary (90 days) amendment of this section, see § 2(a) of the Omnibus Alcoholic Beverage Regulation Congressional Review Emergency Act of 2013 (D.C. Act 20-52, April 22, 2013, 60 DCR 6372, 20 DCSTAT 1388).

For temporary (90 days) amendment of this section, see § 202(a) of the Soccer Stadium Development Emergency Amendment Act of 2014 (D.C. Act 20-557, Dec. 30, 2014, 62 DCR 448, 20 STAT 4467).

Temporary Legislation

Temporary amendment of section: Section 2(a) of D.C. Law 12-48 added (29).

Section 5(b) of D.C. Law 12-48 provided that the act shall expire after 225 days of its having taken effect.

Section 2 of D.C. Law 17-46, in par. (43)(C), substituted “2 years and 6 months” for “2 years”.

Section 4(b) of D.C. Law 17-46 provided that the act shall expire after 225 days of its having taken effect.

Section 2(a) of D.C. Law 18-346 added par. (48A) to read as follows:

“(48A) ‘Southeast Federal Center’ means the area as defined in section 2 of the Southeast Federal Center Public-Private Development Act of 2000, approved November 1, 2000 (Pub. L. No. 106-407; 114 Stat. 1758), and Chapter 18 of Title 11 of the District of Columbia Municipal Regulations.”.

Section 4(b) of D.C. Law 18-346 provided that the act shall expire after 225 days of its having taken effect.

Short Title

Short title of title XVII of Law 14-190: Section 1701 of D.C. Law 14-190 provided that title XVII of the act may be cited as the Alcoholic Beverage Regulation Act of 2002.

References in Text

The effective date of the Omnibus Alcoholic Beverage Amendment Act of 2004, passed on 2nd reading on May 18, 2004 (Enrolled version of Bill 15-516), referred to in subpar. (C) of par. (43), is September 30, 2004.

Editor's Notes

D.C. Law 14-28, § 3003 provided: “This title Title XXX of Law 14-28 shall apply as of May 3, 2001.”

Sections 402 and 403 of D.C. Law 15-187 provided:

“Sec. 402. Rules and regulations.

“The Mayor shall promulgate proposed rules and regulations to administer this title within 180 days of its effective date. The proposed rules and regulations, as well as any subsequent rules and regulations amending this title, shall be submitted to the Council for a 45-day period of review, excluding Saturdays, Sundays, legal holidays, and days of Council recess, If the Council does not approve or disapprove the rules and regulations, in whole or in part, by resolution with the 45-day review period, the proposed rules and regulations shall be deemed approved.

“Sec. 403. Applicability.

“Section 401 shall apply upon the effective date of the regulations promulgated under section 402.”