Get our free newsletter
It’s a refrain around D.C.: We don’t want to become another Adams Morgan! The specter of boozy nighttime crowds (and barren daytime storefronts) buttresses arguments for capping the number of licensed bars and restaurants at Advisory Neighborhood Commission meetings everywhere. But is it true that retail can’t survive where liquor is king? There are actually lots of reasons why Adams Morgan is the way it is—from the architecture of 18th Street NW to a deeply established culture of revelry. Anywhere else in the District, there’s little reason to fear that the new bar on the corner will suddenly mean the streets are strewn with jumbo-slice detritus. But throwing the neighborhood’s name around sure makes it easy to stir up NIMBY nightmares.