Think of it as a post-industrial Pompeii. Or Karnak after the temple toppled (but before the Christmas clearance sale). Or, you can look at Cities, the new bar, dance club and restaurant on 18th Street in Adams-Morgan, through the eyes of principal owner Sahir Erozan. He thinks of it as the rough, beat-up core of any world-class city.

Cities' bar area, open to the street, is rimmed by concrete columns and, in a comic reflection of most cities, always under repair. The dining room, defined by "crumbling" walls and archways, recalls a piazza, as busy and bright as one of its Venetian counterparts. And the dance club, isolated upstairs with a separate entrance? "That's the part of every city that's shuttered by day but comes alive at night," says Erozan, whose first venture was Cafe Med, in Georgetown.

Cities' architectural busyness is intentional. "I didn't want people to make the place," says Erozan. "I wanted the place to be something on its own. Like a city."

Photos celebrating a different city every four months make Cities even busier-looking. Why the photos? Why not rely on the abstraction, the pure architecture of the place? Because he's realistic, Erozan claims. "You open a place, put $1.2 million in it, and three months later everybody says you're boring. This way we'll keep changing." ::