Club owner Marc Barnes tries to control the crowd at the Park at Fourteenth on New Year's Eve. Barnes pioneered upscale African American nightlife in Washington, but went bankrupt and is now trying to start over.

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Club owner Marc Barnes tries to control the crowd at the Park at Fourteenth on New Year's Eve. Barnes pioneered upscale African American nightlife in Washington, but went bankrupt and is now trying to start over.

Marvin Joseph/WASHINGTON POST

The Park at Fourteenth general manager Sherwin Robinson and chief financial officer Renee Stephens joke with their boss Marc Barnes outside the club on New Year's Eve.

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The Park at Fourteenth general manager Sherwin Robinson and chief financial officer Renee Stephens joke with their boss Marc Barnes outside the club on New Year's Eve.

Marvin Joseph/WASHINGTON POST

Barnes, 47, satisfied the yearning of hip, happening African Americans for classy party spots of their own, and proved to corporate sponsors that there was money in the market.

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Barnes, 47, satisfied the yearning of hip, happening African Americans for classy party spots of their own, and proved to corporate sponsors that there was money in the market.

Marvin Joseph/WASHINGTON POST

Barnes and his chief financial officer Renee Stephens negotiate a contract to have a performing artist attend an evening at The Park.

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Barnes and his chief financial officer Renee Stephens negotiate a contract to have a performing artist attend an evening at The Park.

Marvin Joseph/WASHINGTON POST

Barnes lunches with staffers and promoters.

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Barnes lunches with staffers and promoters.

Marvin Joseph/WASHINGTON POST

Barnes, who doesn't drink, can't dance and hates to schmooze with celebrities prefers to set the party scene in motion.

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Barnes, who doesn't drink, can't dance and hates to schmooze with celebrities prefers to set the party scene in motion.

Marvin Joseph/WASHINGTON POST

Barnes jokes with Lois Spencer, his chef of 15 years, and kitchen staff at The Park.

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Barnes jokes with Lois Spencer, his chef of 15 years, and kitchen staff at The Park.

Marvin Joseph/WASHINGTON POST

Things came crashing down when Barnes filed for bankruptcy. In documents from last summer, Barnes's family and businesses listed assets of $11 million and liabilities of $16 million

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Things came crashing down when Barnes filed for bankruptcy. In documents from last summer, Barnes's family and businesses listed assets of $11 million and liabilities of $16 million

Marvin Joseph/WASHINGTON POST

On top of his financial troubles, Barnes has faced the defection of some key associates, who decided they could do better on their own, as well as bad publicity, such as the stabbing of Redskins kick returner Brandon Banks outside The Park last month.

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On top of his financial troubles, Barnes has faced the defection of some key associates, who decided they could do better on their own, as well as bad publicity, such as the stabbing of Redskins kick returner Brandon Banks outside The Park last month.

Marvin Joseph/WASHINGTON POST

Barnes talks to Park staffers Khalil Boyd, far left, and Joe Pereira.

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Barnes talks to Park staffers Khalil Boyd, far left, and Joe Pereira.

Marvin Joseph/THE WASHINGTON POST

A crowd dances and drinks at the Park on a Thursday night in February.

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A crowd dances and drinks at the Park on a Thursday night in February.

Marvin Joseph/WASHINGTON POST

Barnes looks out at 14th Street NW from the second floor of the Park.

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Barnes looks out at 14th Street NW from the second floor of the Park.

Marvin Joseph/WASHINGTON POST