New GOP hangout gets its wings clipped by D.C.

Town Hall, the trendy new Glover Park hangout, has been managing to give Georgetown standby Smith Point a run for the patronage of Jenna Bush and other preppy young Republicans. But not if it keeps kicking everyone out at 11:30 p.m. on weekends.

Town Hall, the trendy new Glover Park hangout, has been managing to give Georgetown standby Smith Point a run for the patronage of Jenna Bush and other preppy young Republicans. But not if it keeps kicking everyone out at 11:30 p.m. on weekends.

In a major blow to D.C.’s pink-shirted, blue-blooded set, the city’s Alcoholic Beverage Regulation Administration (ABRA) ruled last week at a hearing that, because of a quirk in its liquor license, Town Hall needs to close up shop at 11:30 p.m. instead of 2 a.m. on weekdays or 3 a.m. on weekends, as it had been.

Partner Paul Holder explained that when he and his partners bought the place, then known as Saveur, in March, its license “was a mess.”

Saveur had been operating until the later hours without the approval of ABRA, although the status quo had remained unchallenged.

Town Hall has tried to legitimize the license through a change application to ABRA.

The local Advisory Neighborhood Commission (ANC) endorsed the change, but 12 neighbors, operating outside the ANC, protested it at a hearing Wednesday. “The way the license reads, is it recognizes protests without checking their veracity,” Holder said.

The result: That night, the restaurant was forced to close at 11:30 and kick everyone out, even while it still “had five tables eating dinner.”

In a letter to D.C. council members last week, Holder noted that “within one block of my establishment, there are seven other ABC [Alcoholic Beverage Control] establishments that stay open till 2 and 3 a.m., one of which hosts live bands, two of which are strip clubs.”

“So now, because of the nature of ABRA procedures, this handful of protestees can undo what we have worked so hard to achieve,” he wrote.

“Every indication is it will be resolved in our favor,” Holder said, although he has no idea as to the timetable.

Until then, GOP socialites are left to wait along with the owners. “We’re all about getting people off the Hill” and into other neighborhoods, one Republican source said.


Pals since high school, Landrieu CoS retires after 25 years

Norma Jane Sabiston, Sen. Mary Landrieu’s (D-La.) chief of staff since Landrieu’s 1996 election, is retiring from Capitol Hill after 25 years at the end of this year, she announced last week.

She will become vice president at public relations firm Marmillion + Co. (MCo) in New Orleans, working on rebuilding and reconstruction issues.

“Twenty-five years is a long time, and since I’m relatively still young, I thought it would be a good time to turn over another chapter in my life,” she said.

Sabiston first met Landrieu when the two were in high school, attending the inaugural Louisiana Youth Seminar (LYS), a statewide leadership training camp founded by MCo President Valsin A. Marmillion at Northwestern State University.

“To me and my family, she has been more than a talented chief of staff; she has been one of my closest friends ever since high school,” said Landrieu.

Sabiston came to Washington right out of college, when at the suggestion of then-Rep. John Breaux (D-La.) she applied to work as a receptionist in the office of freshman Rep. Billy Tauzin, who was then a Democrat.

She then moved on to Breaux’s Senate office, running his reelection campaign in 1992.

She said that over the 25 years, Sept. 11 emerges as one of the most memorable moments. She talked of setting up a headquarters in Landrieu’s Capitol Hill home for 48 hours after the attack — an experience that helped their crisis communications and management skills for Hurricane Katrina four years later.


Sen. Richard Lugar steps out with current Miss Universe

The beat goes on for those smooth characters at the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

Chairman Richard Lugar (R-Ind.) was all smiles Thursday as he met with Miss Universe 2005 Natalie Glebova at a Save the Children and Global Health Council World AIDS Day reception in the Capitol.

Lugar spoke at the reception after attending President Bush’s World AIDS Day speech at the White House earlier in the day. Lugar was honored for his leadership in helping to pass the Assistance for Orphans and Vulnerable Children in Developing Countries Act. Glebova, who is from Canada, launched the Global Health Council’s 2006 International AIDS Candlelight Memorial Campaign.

It continues quite a run for the Senate committee, whose members have hosted the likes of Halle Berry, Angelina Jolie and Ashley Judd at hearings and events in recent months.


Money woes mounting for Rep. Rush

Only hours after a story about the matter appeared in the Chicago Sun-Times,  Rep. Bobby Rush (D-Ill.) settled foreclosure petitions against his Chicago home and a vacation property in Michigan.

Records obtained by the paper showed he owed $550,000 between the two mortgages. Both were under foreclosure proceedings for failure to make monthly payments.

“The foreclosure petition regarding my home in Chicago has been dismissed, and the same outcome regarding my Michigan home will occur tomorrow,” Rush told The Hill yesterday.

“Over the past three years, I have used considerable personal assets in building a church.  As with any worthwhile endeavor of this magnitude, personal sacrifices must be made.”

“I will continue to be a steadfast advocate for increased homeownership in my community.”


Eat crawfish for La. relief tomorrow

The Louisiana congressional delegation and the Louisiana State Society are hosting a “Crawfish Christmas” fundraiser for the Louisiana sheriff’s deputies tomorrow from 11:30 to 1:30 at the American Trucking Associations at 430 1st St. S.E.

Chef Jeff Tunks of Acadiana Restaurant will be preparing crawfish