I like the idea of filling a void in this way, but it sounds like a legal nightmare.
The biggest issue I imagine (and I must stress that I Am Not A Lawyer) will be liability. When that guy breaks up with his GF and storms out in a huff and crashes his Lambo into a schoolyard, his lawyer is going to be looking for someone to blame. Preferably, someone with deep pockets - which probably means your benefactor.
That's why it can be really hard to use someone's commercial kitchen to bake bread for the County Fair, much less slinging Mai Tais on premises.
The local community might also be an issue. Often, a liquor license is granted based on some limitations demanded by the local residents. I've seen this in drugstores that just want to expand a bit of shelf space for expanded adult beverage offerings. The most recent case is Dollar General (of all things) offering beer and wine. Lot's of accusations of broken promises there in the zoning hearings.
So I'm saying that if the liquor license seems underutilized, there might be a reason for that.
The sort of liquor license I mean is not one for sale of bottles of booze, but for the sale of drinks. In other words, I'd look for a restaurant that was not making much of its liquor license, or something along those lines. There's a specific place I have in mind - not that I'll necessarily set up shop there, but it's what set off my idea - it's a Salvadoran restaurant, serves great food, reasonably priced, and has a pretty solid customer base. They have a liquor license - they serve beer, margaritas, and whatever else, but mostly people just have beer, horchata, or other aguas frescas. They have a few bottles of tequila, bacardi, and whatever else, but I hardly ever see anyone having a mixed drink. This is what I mean by an underutilised license.
Legal considerations aside, this could be either a lot of fun or a lot of work, and quite possibly both.
But to concentrate on the fun side, have you thought about a theme for the enterprise? Maybe just serve drinks containing gin. Or only gin drinks one night, rum drinks the next, and so on. Mojito Mondays, Tiki Tuesdays, Whiskey Wednesdays (or has all this been done already?).
I'm having great fun just now making a lot of my own ingredients - orgeat, falernum, allspice dram, vermouth, amari. I'm not sure what your inclinations or capabilities are in that line, but 'I made all the additives' could be another point of difference for you.
Good luck - I hope it comes together for you.
Yeah, I've thought of the rotating themes - one night whisky, one night gin, one night rum, one night tiki, etc. To my knowledge in DC such a thing hasn't be done.
This topic about manager Chris Amirault's experiences as a novice bartender might give you some great insight: http://forums.egulle...behind-the-bar/
Thanks, will check it out