Fifty years ago the American Airlines Admirals Club at Washington’s National airport allowed guests to store their own liquor in the lounge. That’s because they couldn’t get an alcohol license.
Several years ago a United Club at Newark had to stop serving alcohol when a contractor sent the alcohol license renewal paperwork to the wrong jurisdiction (the airport crosses Essex and Union counties in New Jersey).
Sometimes the easiest route to serving alcohol in an airport club is just to… change the law. That’s what’s happening in Virginia (paywall article). And it’s going to get you served in new Capital One spaces at Washington Dulles and National airports, and at the Chase ‘The Club’ collaboration at Dulles.
Virginia’s legislature has passed an ’emergency’ law (i.e., goes into effect right away rather than waiting until July 1), to extend “mixed-beverage carrier licenses to financial institutions, their subsidiaries or contractors.”
The bill, approved by the House of Delegates on Feb. 1 and the Senate on Feb. 14, authorizes the licensee to sell and serve mixed beverages to ticketed air-carrier passengers in designated areas. Without the legislation, only airlines and train, bus and boat operators could obtain mixed-beverage carrier licenses.
Introduced by Del. Roxann Robinson, R-Midlothian, the measure was approved with an emergency clause, meaning it takes effect immediately upon adoption rather than on July 1, the first day of the new fiscal year. The legislation is only waiting on Gov. Glenn Youngkin’s signature.
The Chase lounge at Washington Dulles will be approximately 5200 square feet and on the airport’s A concourse. It will include a 1,000 square foot bar/lounge, over 900 square foot dining room, 1,400 square-foot work area, family room, prayer room and kitchen. It will be two levels, seating 74 on the main level of the terminal and 44 upstairs.
The Capital One lounge at Dulles – which I wrote when originally breaking the news that it was coming three years ago would take quite some time given the new utility lines that would be needed – will be operated by Turkey’s TAV Operations Services and will be 9100 square feet, past TSA, at the base of the historic control tower. Assuming it’s similar to Capital One’s Dallas lounge it will be fantastic.
Meanwhile Washington National Airport will be getting a culinary-focused ‘Capital One Lnading’ with food by José Andrés, located in a former restaurant space in National Hall adjacent to the entry to the D35-45 pier.
There’s something both a little odd and beautiful about the Virginia legislature passing emergency legislation to grant alcohol licenses to whomever a financial services institution contracts with. If that’s what it takes to cut through nonsense that would stand in the way of a cocktail while waiting for a flight I’m here for it.