DC nightlife scene begins slow, upward recovery

With masks and social distancing requirements, a night on the town may not be as relaxing as expected, but D.C.’s nightlife scene is beginning to see more business.

When you look at bars, restaurants and nightclubs, business has increased about a third since January; however, Megan Wintersteen, the Vice President of marketing with the tech company Zenreach, says foot traffic is still down 63% nationally compared to before the pandemic.

“There’s a long way to go to recover but the momentum that we’re seeing over the course of this year is positive,” she added. She said they anticipate that trend will continue as restrictions continue to be lifted.

In the district, when looking at store visits across all industries since January of this year, there has been a 44% increase. That’s above the national average at 38%.

From a bar and restaurant perspective, there’s been a 46% increase compared to 41% nationally.

Wintersteen says the numbers are representative of the consumer optimism moving forward.

“Restrictions are starting to lift, infection rates are going down, vaccination rates are going up, all of this is indicative of consumers looking to return to some sense of normalcy,” she added.

While the growing numbers began to slow in April, the upward trend is expected to continue.

“It will be a slow role but one where we’re beginning to see some great indicators of momentum,” said Wintersteen.

Melissa Howell

Melissa Howell joined WTOP Radio in March 2018 and is excited to cover stories that matter across D.C., as well as in Maryland and Virginia. 

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