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Washingtonians, tourists, and university students have been drawn to the main drags of Georgetown for decades. “Thirty years ago, we had three movie theatres, several record and book stores, night clubs, and more,” says Joe Sternlieb, president of the Georgetown Business Improvement District. It was a date night kind of place, stores would stay open late, and there was a vibe on the street.”

But noisy nightlife begot a 27-year liquor license moratorium in 1989 that stifled Georgetown’s growth as a dining destination. Developers and restaurateurs turned their attention to burgeoning corridors like 14th Street NW, H Street NE, Shaw, and Petworth instead, while Georgetown waited in the wings. 

The moratorium lifted in 2016 and a fresh crop of dining talent flocked to the area, attracted by the captive audience of university students, the promise of neighbors with deep pockets, and the neighborhood’s historic charm. From fast-casuals to fine dining, Georgetown had new options to compete with other nightlife hubs. 

Then the pandemic hit, leaving restaurateurs scrambling to survive instead of striving for growth. Sternlieb is optimistic that, at the end of it all, “Georgetown will have a renaissance, where you will see a lot of energy from people that want to be back here.” 

New City Paper contributor Siddharth Muchhal, who knows the neighborhood well as a Georgetown University School of Foreign Service student, explores the past, present, and future of his stomping grounds. 

Laura Hayes (lhayes@washingtoncitypaper.com)

CITY DESK LINKS, by Amanda Michelle Gomez (tips? agomez@washingtoncitypaper.com)       

City Desk will return next week.

LOOSE LIPS LINKS, by Mitch Ryals (tips? mryals@washingtoncitypaper.com

  • Mayor Muriel Bowser tussled the Trump-appointed prosecutor and exposed MPD’s bad arrests. [WCP]
  • Bowser’s administration quietly scrubbed recommendations for renaming monuments. [Twitter, Post]
  • Find your ballot box and polling location. [BOE]
  • Gov. Larry Hogan’s short-lived chief of staff asked for cover before he resigned. [Post]

YOUNG & HUNGRY LINKS, by Laura Hayes (tips? lhayes@washingtoncitypaper.com) 

  • Medium Rare co-owner Mark Bucher fed seniors in the early months of the pandemic. Now he has a plan to feed students restaurant meals from community refrigerators. [WCP]
  • Rob Krupicka has filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy closing two Sugar Shack Donuts locations. [WBJ]
  • Predicting the future of restaurants after the pandemic. [Eater]

ARTS LINKS, by Kayla Randall (tips? krandall@washingtoncitypaper.com)

  • An online petition calls on Howard University to name its College of Fine Arts after beloved actor and alumnus Chadwick Boseman. [Washingtonian]
  • Buzzard Point will welcome a new drive-in theater this fall. [DCist]
  • Musician and storyteller Amadou Kouyate talks about his life and music on Kojo For Kids. [Kojo Nnamdi Show]

SPORTS LINKS, by Kelyn Soong (tips? ksoong@washingtoncitypaper.com)

  • Longtime sportswriter Leonard Shapiro remembers John Thompson Jr., who didn’t let anyone stand in his way of making Georgetown basketball the polarizing but dominant powerhouse that it was. [WCP]
  • “He was an emperor. Of athletic achievement. Of fearless Black thought. Of Black masculinity, too,” writes Kevin Blackistone of Thompson, who led a revolutionary, unapologetic life. [Post]
  • 15-year-old Robin Montgomery may have lost her Grand Slam main draw debut at the U.S. Open, but the D.C. native tennis prodigy is just getting started. [ESPN, NYT]
  • The Nats have lost four straight games to drop to 12-21 in the 60-game season. [MLB.com]

CITY LIGHTS, by Emma Sarappo (Love this section? Get the full newsletter here. Tips? esarappo@washingtoncitypaper.com)

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