Georgetown hasn’t been at the height of its popularity since, well, a Republican president lived in the White House. And now that another is headed there, the neighborhood appears to be on the rise once again. Shaw may have been the “it” neighborhood of 2016, but 2017 will mark the great Georgetown comeback.
There’s a reason Georgetown tends to become more popular under Republican administrations. One of the neighborhood’s precincts has the highest concentration of registered Republicans in all of overwhelmingly Democratic Washington, D.C. Board of Elections data show.
So, as more Republicans come to D.C. to work for the new administration, Georgetown restaurateurs are banking on the social scene moving westward. Bo Blair, the owner of Smith Point — the bar most famous for being a raging young-Republican staffer scene in the second Bush presidency — had planned to sell his bar. But he changed his mind when Donald Trump won. Inauguration-weekend bookings at political haunts like Café Milano are going quickly.
But a Trump White House isn’t the only thing that could Make Georgetown Great Again. A longtime liquor license moratorium for the neighborhood expired this year, inviting more restaurants and bars to move into the area.
It also helps that some high-profile chefs are taking big projects there. José Andrés is moving America Eats Tavern, his ode to historic American recipes, from Tysons Corner to Georgetown next year. The neighborhood will be the destination for former Minibar chef Johnny Spero’s newest endeavor, Reverie, a modern American restaurant off a cobblestoned alley on Grace Street.
National brands have taken notice. Ladurée, the Parisian maker of perfect pastel macarons, will open a shop on M Street, in addition to a Union Station boutique. Blue Bottle, the San Francisco coffee company with a cult following, chose the neighborhood for the first of three coffee shops it’s bringing to D.C.
This isn’t to say that Shaw, Bloomingdale, Logan Circle and Adams Morgan are suddenly going to drop off the social radar, or that there aren’t already acclaimed restaurants in Georgetown, such as Fiola Mare, the Sovereign and Chez Billy Sud.
Chances are, though, you’re going to be taking more trips on that westbound Circulator next year.