While we usually take city rankings with a grain (or entire shaker) of salt, Travel and Leisure has placed D.C. on a list that simply must be answered. The District is, according to the magazine, one of America’s “snobbiest cities," ranking after such elitist locales as New York and San Francisco and placing ninth overall.
So, okay, they have a point -- anyone who has stumbled into a Georgetown boutique or browsed a local listserv can testify that the area has more than its fair share of the moneyed and pretentious. But the magazine’s reasoning is a little more circumspect: “The locals ranked as some of the unfriendliest in the nation,” Katrina Brown Hunt writes, later adding, “if you want to dine like a local power broker … check out the mod Rasika West End.”
This is, for the record, the same Rasika West End where at least half a dozen entrees run under $14. The Post’s Tom Sietsema told readers in January that you can waltz in for dinner in business casual clothes. Hardly the height of pretension, right?
Travel and Leisure based the ranking off its “America’s Favorite City” survey, a (unscientific) reader poll that asks about things like the best time to visit and whether residents have “charming local accents.” Visitors consistently ranked D.C. as one of the less friendly cities on the list -- an impression they formed, undoubtedly, while touring our free museums, watching our free concerts and movie screenings, drinking at our competitively priced happy hours, and clogging our mass transit. (Okay, NOW we may get unfriendly.)
If you do want to make the case that D.C.’s a snobby city, there is plenty of proof away from Rasika and the Mall. The Rye Bar at Georgetown’s Capella Hotel charges $22 for a Manhattan. Jose Andres’ Minibar just launched a $3,000 private dining option, for those who thought the $225-per-plate dinner wasn’t quite exclusive enough. Uber fought long and hard to bring “sleek,” smartphone-ordered sedans to the District. And D.C. practically invented the high-end cupcake (... followed by the gourmet doughnut). We could go on.
But really, Travel and Leisure, pegging D.C.’s snobbery to its feelings about visitors seems a bit unfair. You try riding the (relatively cheap, distinctly plebeian) metro when tens of thousands of tourists descend for the Fourth of July.