February 5, 2010 at 1:20 pm EST | by Lou Chibbaro Jr.
Gay clubs vow support at Dupont Circle crime summit

Representatives of gay bars Fireplace, Omega and Apex told participants of a Dupont Circle crime summit that they would join efforts to curtail crime and excessive noise in the neighborhood.

The Dupont Circle Advisory Neighborhood Commission and the Dupont Circle Citizens Association called the Jan. 26 summit in response to what some of their members called an alarming spike in violent crime in that area during the month of December. The summit was held at the Hotel Palomar on P Street.

ANC Chair Mike Silverstein and former DCCA President Rob Halligan, who served as moderator at the summit, pointed to police reports of a carjacking, rape and shooting on and around P Street, between 20th and 22nd streets, all within a few weeks of each other. Police have said they aren’t sure if the incidents are linked to nearby clubs, but many P Street residents pointed to frequent fights, including a stabbing, that have been linked to the Pasha Lounge, a straight nightclub on the 2100 block of P St., N.W.

No one was known to have been hit or injured in the shooting incident, and no suspects have been identified.

“That sort of thing is unprecedented in our neighborhood and simply can’t be tolerated,” Silverstein told DC Agenda.

Halligan said the three incidents in December that prompted neighborhood activists to call the summit came on the heels of ongoing concern about noise, excessive traffic congestion and rowdiness associated with some of the bars and nightclubs in the area.

According to Halligan, some nearby residents have observed what they believe are patrons of the gay bar Fireplace selling drugs in the area. One Dupont Circle ANC commissioner, Mike Feldstein, who is gay, said he was approached recently inside the Fireplace by someone offering to sell him cocaine.

“We would never tolerate that,” said Fireplace co-owner Steve Weinstein in an interview outside the summit. “He should have told us about it. If it actually happened, we would have thrown the person out and called the police.”

Feldstein told DC Agenda that he regrets not reporting the incident to an employee or manager of the Fireplace.

Silverstein and Jack Jacobson, another Dupont Circle ANC commissioner, said no one has linked the violent incidents in December to any of the three gay clubs in the area: Fireplace, Omega and Apex.

Perry Morehouse, an official with Omega and Apex, told the summit he and the staff of the two clubs have worked closely with the ANC to curtail noise and other problems in the area and they would continue to do so. He noted that Omega, Apex and other nearby clubs have jointly paid for off-duty police officers to monitor the crowds and help control noise by customers entering and leaving the clubs.

Lou Chibbaro Jr. has reported on the LGBT civil rights movement and the LGBT community for more than 30 years, beginning as a freelance writer and later as a staff reporter and currently as Senior News Reporter for the Washington Blade. He has chronicled LGBT-related developments as they have touched on a wide range of social, religious, and governmental institutions, including the White House, Congress, the U.S. Supreme Court, the military, local and national law enforcement agencies and the Catholic Church. Chibbaro has reported on LGBT issues and LGBT participation in local and national elections since 1976. He has covered the AIDS epidemic since it first surfaced in the early 1980s. Follow Lou

  • In the print edition of this article it says that Omega, Apex and The Fireplace are owned by the same owners. Omega and Apex are under the same ownership. The Fireplace has different owners.

  • If that ANC commissioner really was approached, he should have spoken up. Waiting until there is a public audience looks suspicious to me. Its sad that a heterosexual club, which by all accounts is the source of the problem, is creating a headache for some gay establishments that have been there for decades. Seems to me more NIMBYS (course the Dupont Association are always looking to close things down anyway. What is Pasha Lounge doing to help? If they are the problem, close them down and re-open Mr. P’s.

  • Agree completely with DCAV8R. Mr. P’s was a neighborhood institution without the problems reported in this article. Pasha Lounge with its garish lighting is reminiscent of Amsterdam’s red light district and deserving of further scrutiny.

  • Interesting. The owner/staff at the Fireplace know who the drug pushers are yet they still allow them into the bar, and pretend to not know anything.

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