The two men sitting just inside the entrance to the S&M club look apprehensive as Erin Mathieson, 28, pulls out her badge and identfies herself as an investigator for the D.C. Alcoholic Beverage Control Board. One of them fetches the manager, a short blonde in a hot pink shirt and matching nail polish.
Mitzi, as the manager's nametag reads, leads Mathieson inside the warehouse-like space not far from Nationals Park. Mathieson tells Mitzi that she's gotten a complaint that the club, the Crucible, is selling alcohol without a license.
Mitzi assures the investigator that bondage and booze don't mix. "We don't want people to be drinking and hitting," she says.
In the 10 minutes Mathieson has been in the club, she has seen a woman dressed as a little girl with pigtails and a man getting a massage, but not anyone drinking or serving. And according to her bible, Title 25 of the D.C. Code, she can't inspect further tonight unless she sees alcohol service. So she leaves, knowing she will probably return.