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Arlandria bar Hops N’ Shine emerges from City Council battle with mixed results

Map of Hops N’ Shine and associated outdoor space (image via City of Alexandria)

(Updated 3 p.m.) After taking a beating at the Planning Commission, Arlandria bar Hops ‘N Shine (3410 Mount Vernon Avenue) came out of a City Council meeting a little better off.

The bar faced some intense criticism from the Planning Commission over racking up violations of the bar’s zoning conditions, mainly for allegedly continuing to utilize outdoor spaces for trivia nights even after being told to stop by the city.

The Planning Commission did not recommend the bar be allowed outdoor live entertainment or outdoor cooking conditions. While the City Council voted at a meeting on Saturday to uphold most of the recommendations from the Planning Commission, an amendment took out one of the more servere parts of the Planning Commission recommendation.

City Council member Canek Aguirre added an amendment that allowed the bar to continue to use speakers outdoors for background music.

The City Council was supportive of the addition and praised the bar’s community impact, but told the bar owners in no uncertain terms that city officials would have their eye on the bar and didn’t want to see it return with more noise violations.

“[As] background music renters the chat we don’t want to see you back in three months,” said City Council member Sarah Bagley. “The neighbors have demonstrated an intent to be reasonable. You have had a positive effect on the community, but I don’t want to see you in three months either.”

The vote brings the minor saga of Hops N’ Shine’s neighborhood troubles to a close, at least for now. As at the Planning Commission, neighbors shared frustrations about noise coming from the bar, though city staff noted that the noise was not enough to ever violate noise ordinances and were only violations of the permit conditions for the bar. The City Council meeting also had a larger showing of supporters from other parts of the city who endorsed their support of the local watering hole.

If issues around Hops N’ Shine are re-docketed, Aguirre said there’s a good chance the city could pull the restaurant’s permit entirely.

City Council member Kirk McPike said that city leaders wanted to see the local business succeed, but emphasized that background noise from the bar “needs to be truly in the background.”

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