It appears that the owners of SIP Lounge had an issue with their business practices when they bought Taste from Mr. Nwaeze back in 2012 by not transferring the license of that establishment until two years later. Why? It is unknown but those facts came to light when Mr. Nwaeze attempted to open their nightclub at another part of the City. The proposed location at 3124 Georgia Ave NW was eventually not pursued due to their alcohol license being denied by ABRA. The reason was explained in ABRA’s decision:
Specifically, the action of selling the business resulted in him losing his status as the “true and actual owner of the establishment.” § 25-301(a)(5). He then permitted TMI International, Inc.-a separate unlicensed and unapproved entity-“to carry on the business” in Mr. Nwaeze’s name for its own benefit.
This shows TMI has not acted in good faith in operating a business in the City, and makes it suspicious as to their intentions of not doing so. It also shows a personal relationship with the former owner of Taste. In order for SIP owners to make this new location worthwhile will also require them to obtain a liquor license from ABRA. This new application is being requested by MMA by TMI LLC, who is owned by Temitope Ijiti, who is the owner of SIP Lounge. Not sure if that sounds familiar to or not but Chief Lanier knows of him. The Chief closed down one of his other establishments in the City called Da Luft earlier this year. You can read about that incident here.
The new location is proposing to open from 7am – 2am five days a week, and form 7am-3am on Friday and Saturday. They are also proposing to have outdoor cafe seating for 35 people, and to serve alcohol during the same hours. In addition, the new location (which still has not filed a trade name yet) is proposing live music and DJ from 6pm-2am, Sunday through Thursday, and 6pm to 3am on Friday and Saturday. They are requesting a tavern license and offering caribbean food.
The establishment also noted that they will “fit in well with the businesses in the area.” I’m not sure what businesses that they are referring to because there isn’t any nightclub businesses in that area of RIA NE.
Stay tuned for further updates and how you can get involved.
Thanks to a tip from a Facebook friend (and a reliable source), we have heard that the former Dura Sales building, located at 2066 RIA NE, has been leased by none other than the owners of SIP Lounge, currently at 1812 Hamlin St NE.
The SIP Lounge has had its share of issues with the local community, mainly stemming from its operation as a nightclub, live performances with no concern to the residential community around, and violence in the neighborhood from its patrons. So how will this new location fare with them expanding their square footage?
History lesson: the owners of the building directly to the left of the Dura Sales building attempted to start a club more than five-six years ago. It brought on a large onslaught of neighborhood complaints and activism. Will we see that again when SIP attempts to transfer or apply for a new liquor license? Here’s a little insight into the current SIP nightclub performances are being advertised: here.