Is Dream A Nightmare?

The ritzy Dream nightclub in Washington, D.C., which has been visited by Destiny’s Child, LL Cool J, Yerba Buena, the mayor and ex-presidents, is in a fight with police to keep its doors open.

The club is in a neighborhood so filled with prostitutes and drug addicts that, three years before the club opened in 2001, the National Guard came in to clean it up.

Police Chief Charles Ramsey has asked the city to re-evaluate Dream’s liquor and entertainment license. According to the Washington Post, several officers dub the venue “Club Nightmare.”

In a letter, Ramsey cited beatings, a double stabbing on the dance floor and an armed robbery of a Dream patron outside the club. Just days after Ramsey mailed the letter, five men jumped a patron outside the club and broke his jaw, police reportedly said.

The “number and severity of the criminal offenses occurring at and around” the club raise concern, Ramsey said in his letter, according to the Post.

The club, which provides live music to 5,000-capacity crowds, recently hosted a party thrown by D.C. Mayor Anthony Williams to celebrate the tip-off of college basketball’s Atlantic Coast Conference tournament. The $6 million Dream also held a Democratic Party event last year that included former presidents Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter.

Dream owner Marc Barnes had a lot to say about Ramsey’s letter and the subsequent Post article.

“It’s a communication problem, first of all, between the police, my agency, my neighborhood, and my (district’s) council member. The mayor made a statement yesterday that said until the police chief can convince him otherwise, Dream doesn’t have a licensing problem,” Barnes told Pollstar.

He added that since the article came out, he has been told there will be more police protection for the club.

“I guess they realize the backlash is going to come on them because if you don’t give us any protection, there’s going to be some type of crime.”

According to the club owner, the “Ritz Carlton” of nightclubs has 79 security cameras, between 40 and 80 security guards per night, and he pays his employees $10 for each confiscation of a knife or fake I.D. Last year, his employees confiscated 6,000 I.D.s that were either fake or being misused, Barnes said. He even has reportedly paid residents $600 a week to help prevent car break-ins.

“I don’t understand how somebody getting robbed while changing a tire has anything to do with us,” he said, referencing a theft that took place about a block and a half from the club that the newspaper reported. “If you and your wife or girlfriend get into an argument before you even come to my club and then you come here, then leave here and we see you in an argument in the parking lot and we decide to call the cops, how have I done something wrong?”

He added that it is not against the law in Washington, D.C., to carry a three-inch knife into an establishment, although Dream does not allow it.