Comings & Goings

By Peter Rosenstein - January 6, 2023 12:00 am

Three longtime employees and managers of D.C. bars and restaurants, including two popular local gay bars, have announced plans to open a gay bar of their own called the Little Gay Pub on the first floor of a residential building two blocks from Logan Circle.

The new bar, which includes a large outdoor patio that could seat as many as 70 people, is located at 1100 P St., N.W.

Its owners are business partners Dito Sevilla, longtime bartender and bar manager at Dito’s Bar located inside Floriana Restaurant on 17th Street near Dupont Circle; Dusty Martinez, former general manager at the nearby gay bar Trade; and Benjamin Gander, former general manager of the other nearby gay bar Number 9.

“Little Gay Pub aims to fill the needs of the LGBTQ community by offering a new and upscale drinking and snacking venue,” a statement released by the three owners says.

The long, narrow first floor space where the bar will be located is currently being renovated with plans for “comfortable customized leather seats,” an elegant marble top bar, artwork on the walls, and a lounge area and seating for a “delicious selection of crisps, snacks, and warm munchies ideally suited to accompany the cocktail or beverage of your choice,” according to the statement released by the owners.

Sevilla said the three were hopeful that the D.C. Alcoholic Beverage Control Board would approve their application for a needed liquor license in time for them to open the new bar in early March.

But under rules and procedures for obtaining a D.C. liquor license, the approval process could be delayed by a month or two more if residents in an “abutting” building or the Advisory Neighborhood Commission with jurisdiction over the Logan Circle area file a protest to block the license and a negotiated “settlement agreement” cannot be reached with the ANC.

Brant Miller, a newly elected member of ANC 2F whose district includes the building in which Little Gay Pub plans to operate, told the Washington Blade he and his fellow ANC 2F commissioners support the opening of the new bar and were confident that a settlement agreement can be reached to enable the bar to open soon.

Miller said the ANC might follow a longstanding ANC policy of filing an initial protest of the license application to give the ANC legal standing to negotiate a settlement agreement. Settlement agreements usually include some restrictions on the operating hours of bars located in residential areas.

In other license application cases, ANCs have withdrawn their protest after a settlement agreement is reached. If such an agreement is reached quickly between ANC 2F and Little Gay Pub, the new establishment could open by March assuming no one else files a protest.

“As far as I know, there is no opposition,” Miller told the Blade. “I haven’t heard anything from the community where they’re opposed to this operating as a business as it has in the past,” said Miller, who noted that bars and restaurants have operated in the building in the recent past.

“And we’re definitely super excited about another LGBT business in the ANC,” Miller said. “And I’m in particular very excited about having one in my district.”

Sevilla said he and his partners have received positive comments from nearby residents who have observed the construction taking place to renovate the inside space. On Monday, workers repainted the outside walls of the first-floor part of the building where Little Gay Pub will operate, sprucing up the building’s appearance.  

Sevilla said the new bar will welcome everyone in the LGBTQ community, including allies.
“I think it is a place for everyone in the gay community, everyone who is a gay ally, everyone who supports us in any way can come in for a good drink,” he said. “There are absolutely no restrictions on anyone coming in.”

Martinez said there are sometimes long lines to get into the two nearby gay bars Trade and Number 9, which he said confirms his belief that there are more than enough LGBTQ customers to sustain three gay bars within a three-block area when Little Gay Pub opens its doors.

Little Gay Pub would become the 15th LGBTQ bar to operate in D.C. in addition to another gay bar, Freddie’s Beach Bar, operating in Arlington, Va.

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