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DC names new director of night life and culture

WASHINGTON — D.C.’s restaurant and night life scene has been booming in recent years, and now the newly appointed person in charge of keeping it running is someone who is familiar with the job already.

D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser has named Shawn Townsend as the District’s new Director of Night Life and Culture. It sounds like a fun, and easy job, until you realize everything that happens after your workday is over falls on his shoulders.

Townsend’s new job will make him the point person for the District’s restaurants, bars, clubs, theaters and other after-hours venues, as they try to coordinate with the various agencies they depend on, including the police, public works and transportation departments. He’ll also be the guy that residents go to whenever they have an issue with the various venues operating where they live.

When Townsend officially starts next month, he’ll already have a familiarity with the industry he’ll be overseeing. Right now he’s an investigator with the city’s Alcoholic Beverage Regulation Administration.

In a statement, Bowser said Townsend is “going to help us ensure our city’s growth is benefiting more DC residents and local businesses.”

Several cities around the country have started creating similar positions to this one, often calling the person who takes the job the “night mayor.” But The Washington Post says Mayor Muriel Bowser rejected that term when she announced Townsend’s hiring at an event in Dupont Circle, telling people she’s the mayor at night too.

Regardless of the job title, the role requires understanding the impact businesses have on the city after most other businesses start to wind down.


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