The Alcoholic Beverage Control Board voted today to renew the longstanding East Dupont Circle liquor moratorium for another three years, though it modified it to lift the ban on restaurants, multipurpose facilities, and retailers like liquor stores. That means new restaurants and liquor stores could open in the area and get licenses.

The moratorium would still only allow the issuance of two licenses to taverns and completely prohibit nightclubs. Hotels would be exempt from all the restrictions.

The center of the East Dupont Circle zone is the intersection of 17th and Q streets NW, and it extends one or two blocks in all directions.

The moratorium was first enacted more than 20 years ago to prevent bars and clubs from overtaking the neighborhood, but many now argue it is an outdated restriction. The moratorium expired in September, and it was renewed for 120 days on an emergency basis.

The ABC’s decision today is consistent with Dupont’s Advisory Neighborhood Commission’s recommendations.

The modified moratorium goes into effect immediately, but will still be subject to a 30-day comment period and final approval from the D.C. Council.

Photo by Darrow Montgomery.